Improved battery life and other enhancements due in new operating system
It’s expected that Google’s new operating system for mobile devices, Android, will appear later in the summer and will gradually be available for all users of the platform in succeeding weeks and months. It will take over from the current iteration, Nougat, which was introduced in August 2016.
It should be backward compatible with many previous Android devices, so if you’re thinking of buying a model such as a refurbished Galaxy S7 Edge, the new Android OS should work successfully with it.
Android O main features
Some of the key offerings:
As smartphones become more powerful, fulfil more functions, and feature larger and more colourful screens so batteries have higher demands placed on them. Power management is one of the ways mobile technology tries to tackle the vexed question of battery life.
Android O will more effectively manage apps to prevent them using power unnecessarily such as when running in the background. This in turn will help app developers create less power-hungry apps.
Faster boot ups
When switching your device on it’ll be powered up ready for action sooner than previously, and apps will start up quicker too.
With more people using their smartphones as their music source including in the car, and the advent of higher quality wireless headsets, improvements to sound are in the pipeline. Android O will offer support to Sony’s high-resolution Bluetooth codec LDAC.
Google will help imaging app developers get the most from enhanced screen technology by improving image capability within the operating system.
Notification dots and channels
Visual indicators showing notifications from various apps will feature; these are already in evidence on certain Android ‘skins’ such as those added to the platform by specific mobile device manufacturers. Users of Apple’s iOS will be familiar with this type of notification setup.
The new platform will also enable better control over notifications by grouping them in channels based on app categories.
Picture in picture (PIP)
Android O will make it possible to watch video while working in other apps; for example, while writing and sending email you can watch video at the same time.
With various mobile device makers using the Android platform adding their own customised ‘skin’ to the OS, their icons can sometimes look different to those downloaded directly from Google’s Play Store so making the home screen look a little messy.
Android O will combat this by enabling developers to make ‘adaptive icons’ offering various shape options based on the user’s theme on their home screen to make for a more coherent look.
Improved autofill support
More people use a password manager to store various passwords for different websites, and Android O will enable this to efficiently autofill forms with the user’s preferred information.
Google Play Protect is a facility that will, through using machine learning technology, check apps for threats and risks and delete those posing significant danger.
What’s in a name?
The ‘O’ in the new Android release is for now just a code name; as with the current Android Nougat which started life as simply ’N’ prior to launch, so Android O will likely gain a name of some sort on release. If past naming is anything to go by, expect something with a foodstuff theme; as with the Nougat of the present OS, previous releases rejoiced under names such as Marshmallow, KitKat and Gingerbread.
Unlike Apple’s iOS, which tends to be downloaded by a high percentage of iPhone and iPad owners as and when updates and new versions appear, Google’s Android doesn’t get updated as often by users. This is in part due to several mobile device makers using their own ‘skin’ on Android so those using the OS don’t get the widespread download notification that Apple iOS users receive.
A run down of the key features appearing in the forthcoming Android O platform; including improvements to battery power, image and sound performance and security.