In a Reddit AMA, around two dozen employees from Google’s Android team have participated and welcomed inevitable questions regarding the next major update of Android. We all know that Android O is about to be released worldwide within the next few months. And it mainly focuses on your smartphone’s essential features like battery life and notifications. Along with this, there will be many other impressive features like notification badges, picture-in-picture support on phones, adaptive icons, and much more. Android O has a usual set of under-the-hood improvements along with a couple of useful features and various interesting flourishes. In this article, we’ll let you know about some takeaways from Google’s Android O Q&A. Read on.
The main purpose of the Google’s Android O Q&A session was to have a discussion based on the internal working process of Android but the team has disclosed various tidbits that you may find interesting.
Takeaways from Google’s Android O Q&A
No, we still don’t have a name
Everyone wants to know about the final brand name of Android O. Is it Oreo or is it Oatmeal cookie? Till now, no one knows about it.
Android’s engineering team said that the final branding of Android O will be uncovered later this summer. It’s expected that Android version 8.0 will be introduced somewhere in August.
Google gives more technical view for why the Blobmoji are going away
The next takeaway from Google’s Android O Q&A session is why the Blobmoji is going away. So here’s Google explains it in a more technical way. Over the past few years, Unicode has considerably extended the range of emoji and made new emoji categories. Along with this, the new messaging use cases have also evolved, i.e. larger emoji used as stickers.
The recent design system didn’t lend itself to support the expanding set of emoji and these new use cases and thus, they needed a visual refresh.
Bluetooth audio performance on the Pixel should get much better in Android O
Most of the Pixel and Pixel XL users have complained about the Bluetooth audio performance on Google’s smartphones. Many people have experienced the frequent dropouts while listening through wireless headphones or through the audio system of a car. Google’s engineering team knows that things are not going on a smooth pitch as they promise for a great improvement in Android O.
Tim Murray says,
“Our testing shows that Bluetooth audio reliability is drastically better than N. We hope you’ll see the similar improvements”.
Even the Pixel won’t get every new Android O feature
Android O allows the device makers to give users great control over the color balance of their device’s display. However, last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL were not capable of this granular fine-tuning that could help its users maintain a screen’s white balance.
“Color management will not be available on Pixel 2016” explained by Romain Guy. He further added, “It’s a device specific feature that needs calibration of the display on the factory floor, it’s thus optional and can’t be retrofitted on older devices”.
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Well, the notification shade is supposed to be white
One of the biggest surprises of Android O beta version was a lighter notification shade. At this time, Google has completely changed things and switched the background to white and icons to black, instead of gluing with the dark gray slide-down quick settings area.
Many of you have wondered whether it was a fault or just a temporary change during the beta version, but it looks like the Android engineers have changed the type. The main goal was to set the lighter notification shade with quick settings and as a result, Google has switched this default theme of settings and made it steady. Here, the logic is that since notifications have a light background, the quick settings section should be of the same type. It only affects devices that run stock or near-stock Android. And other Android OEMs like Samsung, LG, etc. are free to use their own desired themes.
Allowing you to change colors of the navigation bar
You can easily change the color of your Android’s navigation bar as per your choice on the Samsung Galaxy S8 but not on the Pixel or other stock Android smartphones.
Google’s Selim Cinek says,
“We are trying to get a balance between visual appeal and burn-in protection. It initially considered colorizing the navigation bar with the same color as the status bar, but it did draw too much attention to it, disturbing from the content”.
It’s not as easy as it sounds to letting you apply custom color themes to Android
You may think that you’ve better taste than Google’s designers and engineers and would like to apply your own color theme to your smartphone’s menus. It sounds simple enough, but Alan Viverette mentions some challenges that have stopped Google from offering users customization power.
He said that there are some logistical and technical issues with color themes. Thanks to Sony, the technical issue is resolved in Android O with RRO support. However, there are not stable APIs to describe what can be themed or adequate ways to check the existing apps properly support theming.
Google’s Android team is trying to discover how to get tablet software
As we know that the iPad is close to a major software overhaul with iOS 11, the Android team is looking for its own future plans for tablets. Google’s Mike Cleron seems more focused on figuring out how the form factor should evolve next. He explained that it’s more about figuring out what the next driver of innovative technology will be for this form factor. The company is continuing to invest in productivity use cases but also working on what the next evolution of tabs should be.
In the case of Android, there are some interesting overlaps with tablets given the increasing success of Chromebooks and the current addition of the ability to run Android apps on Chrome OS.
Project Treble was the toughest part of Android O’s development
Along with this new version 8.0 of the OS, Google is introducing a foundational change to Android, named as the Project Treble which is supposed to allow manufacturers to update their phones without having to make a ton of software changes first. In theory, Treble is supposed to help speed up the updates of software and make them less expensive. Perhaps, the biggest challenge that the Android team faced when creating O is to create the Project Treble.
Google is trying to resolve the issue of slow Android updates. At this time, the company says it gives a solution that’ll make the software updates faster and less costly for device manufacturers to update their phones to new versions of Android.
Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson says,
“Creating that interface was very deep surgery on Android. Invasive, complex engineering that took an enormous amount of effort to get media, graphics, location, and so much”.
Paying more attention to the new iPad Pro’s ProMotion
Apple’s latest tab has offered the buttery smooth scrolling and the adaptive refresh rate that has caught the attention of many consumers and Android’s engineering team. Most of the companies have already adopted similar ideas with their own Android hardware, said Google’s Romain Guy.
Android O won’t be a major update for smart watches
Don’t imagine Android version 8.0 to radically change much about Android Wear smartwatch.
Hoi Lam said that Android O will mostly be a technical upgrade for Android Wear. Let’s say, the Wear will have background specifics to help keep battery sustained with the Android O and users can have more controls over notifications using notification channels. It’s a way to take control over how many apps are allowed to alert you. Besides, the company has also added various new tools for developers to sort out complications and build the user-friendly interface of the Watch.
The Android AMA team said that Android Wear 2.0 has brought with it technical changes, allowing Google to update software aspects without having a need of a full-fledged OS update and thus, the company can alter things in a more different manner. Android Wear 2.0 gives users more informative watch faces and gives developers with new ways to build useful apps.
So this was all about Google’s Android O Q&A. Stay tuned for more updates.
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