The era of Nougat is over now. The tech major Google has unveiled its new Android O operating system at its I/O 2017 conference. With the public beta release, we got a clear picture of all cool features in Android O, ranging from refurbished looks to under-the-hood enhancements.
It’s still unclear what will be the version number or the official codename of this new OS, but ‘Android 8.0 Oreo’ sounds like a safe bet right now. While we wait for Google to choose a sweet dessert and officially release the version, let’s take a step up and look at all the cool Android O new features and changes.
Unlock Cool Features in Android O
Revamped File Manager
Although Android’s built-in file manager isn’t up to the mark, it’s nice to have a way to browse files without installing an additional app. Things are seemingly going up as the Files app in Android O got a little makeover. It still hasn’t reached the top place where other apps like FX File Manager and Solid Explorer reside, but at least, it enables you to view, open, and delete files.
Redesigned Settings Menu
The most evident thing that is new in Android O is the redefined Settings menu. Now, it boasts delicate dark gray text on all white background. At our surprise, the side navigation menu introduced with Nougat is departed. And there’s a reorganization of all the menus to make the Settings area as simple and straightforward as possible.
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Navigation Bar Tuner
Android Marshmallow walked you through a hidden menu, namely System UI Tuner that let you customize the appearance of several system menus and icons. However, Android O has extended the options available there and may be one of the biggest Android O changes is that it now lets you change on-screen navigation buttons as well.
In case you go to the Navigation Bar menu in System UI Tuner, you’ll be able to change the layout of on-screen buttons and even add a few additional icons to flank them. Layout options offer you to reduce the buttons’ spacing or shift them over to one side while the ‘Extra button’ option enables you to add a keyboard switcher or clipboard button to either side of your phone’s navigation bar.
Google commenced the concept of rounded home screen icons along with Pixel. Consolidated with Samsung’s squircle and Android’s freeform icons, there’s now some solemn fragmentation with app icons.
Adaptive Icons is one of the other cool features in Android O with which developers can create a single and unified app icon and rest will be done by the system. When an Adaptive Icon is offered by an app, Android O will automatically crop and align it in accordance with the system settings. From a user’s viewpoint, once apps get updated with Adaptive Icons, all of your icons on the home screen will be of identical shapes.
WiFi Aware has some promising features. Devices running the new Android version can easily locate each other without requiring being on the similar WiFi network. Then you can create a private network between them that lets the devices to share data.
Battery-Saving Background Restrictions
Believe it or not, the latest Android OS might finally fix issues with standby battery drain. Android M’s Doze Mode helped quite a bit in this regard and then enhanced with Nougat. But currently, Google is tightening the reins on actions that apps can run in the background.
Background Execution Limits, amazing feature among the cool features in Android O, will make sure that app won’t perform with the background services.
Fingerprint Scanner Gestures
Google Pixel and Pixel XL introduced with an exclusive feature that enabled users to enlarge their notification tray by swiping down on the phone’s fingerprint sensor. This feature has also been added to Nexus devices, but the search engine Google is taking the fingerprint-swipe gesture to whole new level in Android O.
With this one of the new features in Android O, third-party app developers are able to use an Accessibility service to examine the fingerprint scanner for swipes – both horizontal and vertical. In simple words, your favorite apps will get fingerprint gesture functionality by requesting an extra permission.
Snooze Individual Notifications
Now you can snooze individual notifications with Android O. If a message comes and you don’t have time to deal with it, all you need to do is just swipe to the right and then tap on the clock icon to snooze notifications. The notification will come back after 15 minutes. You can even change the snooze length right once you’ve snoozed a notification.
Learn more about Android notifications at How to disable annoying app notifications in Android
Custom Lock Screen Shortcuts
System UI Tuner also gets another great addition, i.e. a new lock screen shortcut menu. Regarded as one of the powerful changes and features in Android O, it allows you to add custom shortcuts that will display in the bottom corners of your lock screen. You can choose any installed apps to fill these spaces.
Following the Android N’s split-screen mode, Android O will now enable apps to be viewed in PiP mode. This is a unique type of split-screen window that can be specifically used for watching videos while doing other tasks. However, You’ll need to update apps to support the new API.
New Battery Menu
The battery menu also got a makeover in the new version of Android O, but it’s more than just a visual refresh. Frequent battery-related options like Battery Saver and Adaptive Brightness are now present at the top of the menu for a quick access and battery usage graph becomes much easier to read. The most remarkable change is a bunch of statistics at the bottom of the main menu, telling you particularly how much of your phone’s battery was used by the display and mobile network scanning.
Notification Channels, surprisingly new in Android O, allow you to create categories for several notifications. After you update an app to use this new feature, you can control the visibility as well as the priority of each notification type, posted by that app.
Do you like Chrome’s auto-fill feature? If so, you will love Android O as well because it also endows you with the autofill framework, saving you the hassle of repeatedly typing the same information on a touchscreen keyboard.
This new change will let apps create and manage their own lists of auto-fill data. And merely put it into text fields when needed.
Exactly reverse of the dark theme everyone anticipated, a new inverted theme is available when you navigate to the Settings > Display > Advanced section. Once the theme is enabled, system menus will boast dark accents with white backgrounds.
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Arrow Key and Tab Navigation
Now, it’s possible to run Android apps on Chromebooks, but it has become obvious that touchscreen-optimized apps and keyboards don’t look nice together. So, to combat this, the tech major has made Android O more reliable and predictable when using the Tab button or arrow keys to navigate interfaces. In case you make use of an Android TV or pair a Bluetooth keyboard with your device, it’ll surely be a welcome change.
Hi-Fi Bluetooth Codecs
When compared to a handful of wired headphones, Bluetooth has always carped for its lower audio quality. But now, the company has added a slew high-quality Bluetooth codecs to Android O including Sony’s LDAC. The feature that is new in Android O should greatly enhance the quality of audio with compatible Bluetooth devices.
Wider Color Gamut in Apps
For a pro-style photo editing, it’s very important that what you see on your phone’s screen is exactly how the final photo will look. But the issue is that some recent Android devices provide support for a wide color gamut, apps don’t boast this compatibility. So now, the latest version of Android will let apps use wide color gamut profiles like Pro Photo RGB or AdobeRGB on supported phones or tablets.
Battery Percentage Indicator Tweaks
Earlier, you could make use of the SystemUI Tuner menu to add a small overlay to your phone’s battery indicator, representing the current percentage. Although the option is still in a way, you can now only select to show the percentage next to the battery indicator in the status bar.
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‘Powered By Android’ on Boot Screen
Nexus and Pixel owners will notice a new change to the screen that emerges when first booting the device. There’s now a badge is present at the bottom of the screen, saying ‘Powered by Android’ – nice touch!
One of the major features in Android O is a set of overhauled emojis. Google has finally dropped the support for blob-shaped smilies in favor of more conventional rounded ones. There’s also a gradient applied to most of the emojis.
Well, it’s just a glimpse of cool new features in Android O for now. The all new features and changes will get a clearer picture as we get closer to its official release. So, hold on tight!
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