In order to get an early Android Oreo taste of what’s to come with the next major version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, the public Android 8.0 O program in now live for device owners. Here’s everything you want and need to know.
Today, Google has released Android O Beta 1 at its 10th annual I/O conference, which officially puts the platform in a beta stage for this with a compatible device and the daring nature to install an entirely early version of developer build of the firmware.
Announced the first developer preview of Android O back in March, complete with a number of incremental improvements that would eventually see it a worthwhile upgrade over Android N, its predecessor, Nougat. This latest release of version 8.0 beta is classed as an incremental update, which basically means that while some new features have been added, the engineers have also made alterations a fair bit under-the-hood based on feedback from the initial preview for more stability of the platform.
Now the rest of us can finally get our hands on an upcoming version of Android. Android O Beta starts shipping today, if you point your browser over to android.com/beta. With Google, says that Android O focusing on two aspects of a mobile platform: Fluid Experiences, and Vitals. Notifications have gotten number of key updates, including the addition of Notification Dots – a little circle that sits in the corner of an app icon, letting users know that specific application has a new note tied to it. Given it a long press, will pop-up a preview window, similar to iOS, so users never have to leave the desktop to view.
While the Fluid Experiences encompass features that enhance productivity and well, the overall Android O experience as expected and Picture-in-picture, Smart Text Selection, and Autofill with Google. As mentioned already, Notification Dots is easily one of the most notable feature, which puts a small circular dot on an app icon. A tap-and-hold on the app icon will invoke a preview window showing incoming notification from the app right there.
Autofill is something exactly what you think it is, with the company guess at what you’re trying to say while you’re typing, using context like user names, much as it does in the desktop-based browser. Smart Text Selection, meanwhile, spots things like business names and addresses from around the web, highlight the whole segment, to help avoid awkwardly highlighting and unhighlighting text, piece by piece.
Picture-in-Picture was already announced earlier, but wasn’t available with the first developer preview. The feature essentially place a small video box on the desktop, while other apps are open. This has changed now, with testers being able to multitask in the truest sense. When on a Duo call, you can simply invoke the feature to work on an email. With Duo call still showing you the video of the caller in a pinned window, very much how it works on iOS on iPads. That way ypu can, say, watch a YouTube or Netflix video or do a Duo chat, that too, while sending an email. Assuming, of course, your screen is big enough and you’ve got enough processing power.
According to the company, the new version of the operating system is also set to bring some advantages on the hardware front, including, notably, an increase in boot times, which should, however, fire up the handset in around half the time.
Also new is Vitals. Google tells us about it, in an under-the-hood take by Google engineers to increase battery time and provide speed boosts to hardware with lower specs running Android O. Vitals, is a new feature addition available for Play that helps developers spot issues with apps that can potentially impact phone security, battery life and the like. O adds some nice touches though, to the Android experience in real time, but nothing are quite revolution, making it a fairly minor upgrade in the grand scheme of things.
The latest version of the firmware available may be in beta now, but that doesn’t actually mean that everyone with a love and passion for Android can get their hands on its officially. Though the company is clearly doing a lot to help future proof the operating system by building out the backend with a number of new developer tools.
Currently, only a handful of Pixel and Nexus devices are compatible with the O beta program, meaning that only owners of a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, or Pixel XL are able to fully enjoy what’s being offered with this second developer preview. Very unlikely that the list of compatible devices will be expanded anytime soon.
Interested users of the above mentioned compatible devices will also have to head on over to the Android O Beta Program pager and register, just like they had done previously with the Android N program of the same nature. Once users are enrolled, it’s also possible to opt-out at any time as well, but that may involve having to wipe the device and start again with a stable build of Android rather than simply migrating back without issue.
For those anticipated ones, registration for the Android O Beta Program is available right now over google.com/android/beta. Make sure to think hard before going through with the process. We’d hate you to lose any data by having to rollback. As far as what this version will actually be called (coughOreo*cough), we’re still waiting on the official unveil.
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