Android O: Top 8 features you should know about

The Google Developer’s Conference brought with itself numerous anticipated software developments to the company’s various platforms. Most notably, Android is set to receive its new ‘O’ update, with added features. Here are the top 8 features presented about Android’s newest iterations from the event.

Project Treble
Project Treble is an interesting feature that rolls out with Android O. What the feature suggests is that certain key modules of upcoming updates will be initiated to handsets that are not supported by Google directly. So, for Android devices supporting Android O, users will get certain base updates as the platform updates, even if they are not directly supported by Google, which is a good feature.

Better Battery Life
As with all Android updates, the battery life remains to be one of the prime focuses of this release, with Android now imposing automatic limits to how much power an app can draw from the background – that is, if the app is targeting Android O. This will mean that background processes will take a hit and reduce the battery drain that’s most infamous on Android handsets. Google’s Vitals initiative is the backbone of the process that monitors the phone’s capacity to perform and automatically makes changes necessary to the phone’s performance where required.

Smart Text Selection
Google will now know the context of the text selections taking place when a user selects a piece of text. For example, instead of manually selecting an address or phone number on a block of text, users will now be able to just tap on the text and the address or phone number will be automatically selected for use through Maps or even the Dialer apps. It’s a convenient feature, but is somehow reminiscent of the Note 7’s selection capabilities as well. Whether imitation or innovation, this is a welcome addition to the OS.

Google Play Protect
Google will now be able to scan for malicious behavior from apps downloaded to the device, and will have real-time scanning for apps being browsed through the Google Play Store. While Google already this before, this time around, it is a more visible process for users to see. Options will also be provided to users to manually scan their device or also be able to check when the scan was performed last. This program will also allow for users to use the Find my device feature from here as well, as opposed to the traditional method.

A New Password Manager
Google kind of has its own password manager baked into Android O, enabling credentials from Chrome to be ported to other apps. For example, if password credentials are saved on Chrome, they will also be available for use on Twitter thanks to a new password API, which will allow for signing into different accounts extremely easy for users.

This time around, Android finally has an update that people have probably been waiting for since the last few years. It was some time ago that even older phones such as the Galaxy S were able to show notification dots on the app icons to show the number of pending notifications for the user to see. Now, this feature has become an automatic function on Android O, where notification dots take the place of these badges. There is extra-functionality here though, since users will be able open up a list of the notifications from the app directly, so long as they long-press the app icon with the dot on it. It’s essentially an Android version of iOS’s 3D touch.

PnP Video
While possible through third-party apps, Picture-in-Picture has now found its way into Android O natively. For users to take advantage of the feature, they will be able to head to a video on YouTube and directly press the home button, where the video will automatically minimize into a small screen that can be tucked to the top or bottom of the display.

More Adaptive Icons
Google have gone the extra mile in order to deliver a more tailor-made experience to users this time around, offering better adaptive icons to suit the wallpaper of the phone. Over time, as backgrounds change and will also animate differently on occasion. The edges and color pallets of the icons will also change over time. It will be interesting to see how it works in real-time, and whether this feature will also be carried forward to third party apps and other manufacturer releases.