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Android O: What's new in the latest version of Android?

About 2 months ago, with its first developer preview, Google gave us a glimpse of its latest mobile operating system, Android O. Now at Google I / O 2017, Google has revealed more details about the upcoming Android iteration. The public beta version of Android is already available and you can install it on your Nexus or Pixel device. Android O brings a number of cool changes and features. Android O changes fall into three different categories: Fluid Experiences, UI Changes, and Vitali. So if you're wondering what's new in Android O, well, sit back, relax and keep reading as we tell you all changes and functionality of Android O:

Fluid experiences

Google has said that cell phones are slowly switching to full-fledged computers. However, due to the small size of our phones, performing certain tasks like multitasking has always been a problem. Fluid Experiences Google's attempt to provide us with a refined user experience that is not affected by the small size of our smartphones. The theme here is to do more, even with a small screen device.

1. Picture-in-Picture

Multitasking on Android improved over the years. With Android Nougat, Google introduced split-screen multitasking and with Android O, the search giant is introducing a new picture-in-picture mode.

In apps like YouTube, Google Duo or Netflix, we can simply press the Home button to activate the picture-in-picture mode. I will create one floating window which can be adjusted, resized and repositioned. While the floating window is active, we still have access to all the features of our smartphone. For example, we can take notes while watching a tutorial on YouTube. This approach feels better than the split screen mode. However, third-party app developers need to support this feature in their apps to make it really useful.

2. Notification points

Google wants to change the way we interact with notifications on our smartphone. Whenever an app receives a notification, in addition to showing it in the notification center, it will also show a notification point on the app itself. It also provides users with a new means of interacting with the notification. A long press on the app icon will show the notification right there in the form of a widget. Scrolling the notification from the widget will also delete it from the notifications panel.

3. Automatic filling with Google

The auto fill feature has always been a part of the Google Chrome browser. With this version of Android, Google is extending its support for automatic filling to apps . Let's assume that your login information for Twitter is saved on your Chrome browser. When you open the app for the first time on a smartphone, it will automatically transfer that information from Chrome and register you. This feature will be really useful when setting up a new phone.

4. Selecting smart text

Selecting a text to copy it to your smartphone has always been a problem. Fiddle with the selection markers to select the sometimes maddening text. According to Google user studies, phone numbers are the most copied entry, followed by names and addresses. Google is using this data with its machine learning to create "Smart Text Selection" on Android O. Whenever a user double-taps a phone number, a name, an address or an email ID, the operating system will be smart enough to select the whole thing. Not only that, it will also bring contextualized options . For example, showing maps or dialers in case you have selected an address or phone number. A useful feature indeed.

5. Automatically enable the Near Saved WiFi network

I can't tell you how many times I just chewed my mobile data when I forgot to connect to my home / office WiFi. The only way to avoid accidentally fooling our mobile data is to keep Wi-Fi always on. However, this is not an optimal solution. Android O offers a new feature that will ease this problem once and for all. Whenever the device is in the area served by a saved WiFi network, the phone automatically activates WiFi and connects to the network . Save the accidental consumption of mobile data without having to keep WiFi always on.

This function based on data obtained through the user's location. In Android O, you can turn on the Wi-Fi auto switch feature by going to Network and Internet> WiFi> Wi-Fi preferences.

6. Advanced search in settings

Google introduced search within the Settings page in Android Lollipop (5.0) to make it easier for users to navigate the options on the Settings page. With Android O, Google offers users a more advanced search function in Settings. When looking for an option on the Settings page, options will include a subtext that will show you the path to find that setting. Also, previously, if you want to view information about any app, you need to manually find the subsection of the app on the Settings page and then scroll down to find the app. Now you can only search for the app and appear in the search results.

7. Other gestures of the fingerprint scanner

Devices like Nexus and Pixel already enjoy certain fingerprint scanner gestures like scrolling down to bring down the notification area. Android OR will improve this function by adding steps horizontal and vertical jumps . It is not yet clear what functions they will perform, but any added support for gestures is welcome. Furthermore, unlike before, the sliding direction will not be affected by the orientation of the device. If you are in vertical or horizontal mode, scrolling down will have the same result.

8. Screen overlay notification

There are many apps that use Android's built-in screen overlay capability to draw on other apps and provide us with features that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. The best example of this can be seen in the pop-up bubble function used by apps like Facebook Messenger and display calibration from apps like Twilight. However, this poses numerous security associated risks. Apps may abuse this permission to display certain buttons or prevent you from interacting with the device until they are active.

To let users know that an app uses screen overlay, Android O generates a notification each time an application of this type is launched. can disable the app by simply tapping the notification . A very useful and welcome feature.

UI changes

Although Android O builds on previous versions of Android and doesn't present any major changes in the appearance and appearance of Android, there are a few changes to the UI that really simplify the experience.

1. Quick settings redesigned

One of the most visible UI changes that comes with Android OR can be seen in the shadow of the notification. The notifications and quick settings page now follows a theme Grey instead of theme previous black and white. In addition, the buttons to edit the Quick Settings panes, change user profiles and the Settings link were move to the bottom of the notification page . It makes it easier for you to access it on a large device.

2. Ability to change icons in the Pixel launcher

Although Android has always allowed us to modify our icon set by installing launchers and icon packs, it has never been a built-in feature. With Android O, Google has allowed users to change the shape of icons . Users still cannot completely renovate the appearance of an icon, but can change the shape and size of icons. For me, a step in the right direction.

3. Long press to access the app widget

Android has introduced context menus, such as 3D Touch on iOS, in the form of long press on Android 7.1. Basically, a long press on an app icon allows a user to access the app-specific shortcuts. With Android O, the user can now log in to an app widget long press on its icon. If an app has multiple widget formats, users can select the widget they wish to view.

4. Intensity slider in night light

The night light helps to reduce the tension in our eyes during the night by reducing the blue light and increasing the red tone of the display. In Nougat, a user can only select when to turn the night light on or off. Android O carries a slider that can be used for adjust the intensity of the night light allowing us to select the amount of red tint we want on our display.

5. Quickly check location permissions

Location permissions are sought by many apps to function properly. However, it is not in our interest to share our location data with all the apps at all times. Since Marshmallow (6.0), we are allowed to change the permissions for a single app. However, the feature has been hidden deep in the Settings menu. With Android O, Google has included privileged access to location permissions on the location setup page. This makes it easy for you to manage location permissions at the app level.

vital organs

Each new version of Android brings important changes under the hood by focusing on safety, battery life and improved performance . This year it appears that these areas are the main point of interest for Android O. Google has beaten all the improvements under the hood in one category and called it "Vitali". The concept of keeping everything vital for a smartphone's performance in the best possible shape.

1. Security with Google Play Protect

Security has always been a major concern for Google, as public perception tends to place Android as a less secure platform than iOS. With the launch of Google Play Protect, Google wants to dispense with this perception. Google analyzes all the apps on each Android device every day (~ 50 billion / day). Disable or completely delete any app marked for security issues. Google wants to make this process visible to the public and has therefore launched the Google Play Protect app. A user can start the app and see the result of the scan all apps on its devices.

2. Faster loading time for startup and app

Android O brings important improvements to the platform's performance. Running Android OR devices boot twice as fast as current devices. In addition, the loading time of the app has been significantly reduced. The faster app loading time due to the change in the operating system itself and, therefore, will be applicable to all the apps on our smartphones.

3. Wise limits

Apps use a lot of data and resources when running in the background. This slows down the performance of a smartphone and drains the battery very quickly. Android O wants stop this mismanagement of resources and battery life introducing "Wise Limits". Basically, the operating system puts a reasonable limit on the amount of system resources that can be used by an app, thereby reducing background consumption and increasing performance and battery life.

4. Treble project

Google has been trying to solve the problem of Android fragmentation and updates for a long time and has created a new solution called "Project Treble". The project, part of Android O, aims to make Android updates faster. We've already talked about Project Treble in detail, so take a look.

In addition to the aforementioned changes and features, the first Android O developer preview also introduced other changes. You can read our detailed article on it

5. Update the graphics driver via the Play Store

Graphics driver updates from the Play Store may be one of the first implementations of "Project Treble". Since the chipset manufacturers will be able to send faster updates thanks to the "vendor implementation level", the graphics driver can be updated through the Play Store itself. It will also allow chipset manufacturers to send specific app updates to resolve issues related to that specific app. The only caveat of this feature that will only work on devices that come with Android O.

6. Simplified SMS authentication

SMS authentication is essential for our security, as it is used by our banks, messaging services and even by Google itself. While important, SMS authentication still has two main problems. First, we need to grant apps permissions to be able to read our messages when they only need them when authenticating. This is a security flaw in itself. Second, manual entry of the non-user-friendly code, since sometimes you have to leave the app, remember the code and then go back to pasting it to work. In addition, it creates a lot of confusion in the messaging app.

Android O aims to solve this problem by introducing a feature for app developers called PendingIntent . All users need to understand about this feature that now when an application requires authentication, will create a unique token which will be sent directly to the application itself. You will never see a message in your mailbox, nor will you have to remember and manually enter the token.

Excited for Android O?

Android O is bringing a lot to the table. Of course, there are some features that are missing and it would be nice to have them. A dark mode of the system was what I wanted. There is still much to appreciate and I'm happy with the latest offer from Google.

Do you like Android O? Tell us about the features you love and the features you want in Android OR in the comments section below.