Android O Beta : Top features and changes

Google released the second developer preview of Android O at Google I/O 2017. While it is mostly just an incremental update from the first developer preview released in March.
Google showcased some new features such as Vitals, Notification Dots and more.

Here are the top new features in Android O:

Streamlined notifications
Notification overload has been a constant source of irritation for Android users. With Android O, Google has introduced several new features to manage notifications seamlessly.

Notification Dots
With Android O, Google has introduced a feature called Notification Dots – small dots on the top right corner of an app that show previews of incoming emails, messages and more.
Whenever a new notification comes in, the corresponding app will display a dot. Additionally, users can long press on the app icon itself to see the notification.

Notification Channels
This feature lets app developers group notifications together by type. This allows users to have a granular control on each channel. Ex: Users can decide how news based notifications will be displayed or how text alerts are displayed.

Developers can also change the background color of their app’s notifications. They can also set definite time increments – 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour in which the notifications will dismiss themselves.

Better battery management
Android Marshmallow and Android Nougat saw the introduction of of features such as Doze mode and Doze on the go aimed at improving battery life. With Android O, Google is introducing new features to further clamp down on erratic apps eating the battery in the background.

Support for third-party calling apps
With Android O, Google has introduced a new feature called ‘Telecom framework’, which allows for third-party calling applications to work with each other and with carriers.

Google has introduced a new of tools under the banner ‘Vitals’ aims at comprehensively optimising, and securing Android. The first is called Google Play Project, which is basically a virus scanner for all apps on the play store. In Android O, you will see a new UI elements in the Google Play update window which will show you your recent scans and issues found, if any.

Fluid Experiences

Picture in Picture
Google is also introducing picture-in-picture support (PIP) with Android O. With PIP, users will be able to minimise whatever video they are watching and watch it whilst using another application.
Developers can specify which aspect ratio they want for their application and can even set custom interactions on the PIP window. This feature is already available on devices running Android TV.

TensorFlow Lite
TensorFlow Lite is basically a scaled down version of Tensor Flow, Google’s machine learning tool. Android O will hardware accelerate features of Google’s neural network. It will keep few of the AI components on the device itself, negating the need to find online servers to compute actions.

Copy Less
Copy Less combines machine learning and computer vision into one cohesive whole. This feature will intelligently recognise context in applications – thereby making it easier to copy and paste within Android O.

Audio improvements
With Android O, Google is introducing several new features aimed at audiophiles. Android O brings with it support for high-quality audio codecs such as LDAC. Additionally, Google is also introducing AAudio – a new native API for applications needing support for high-performance, low-latency audio.

How to install Android O
You can download Android O onto your Android device . Currently, only 6 devices are supported – Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player.
There are two ways to go about the same. Firstly, you can sign up for the Android Beta program and wait for the OTA update to land on your smartphone. Secondly, if you are adventurous enough and do not wish to wait for the OTA, you can flash the developer preview manually onto your smartphone.


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