Everything you need to know about the new Google’s Android O (Developer preview)

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Google’s upcoming mobile software Android O has been designed to extend battery life and let users perform multiple tasks at once, the developer preview reveals.

The internet giant says it is putting “a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance” with Android O.

To do this, the internet giant is introducing new limits that prevent apps running in the background from sucking all of the charge out of a device’s battery. It has also created new multitasking features and greater controls over notifications.

Here’s everything you need to know about Android O:

Improved battery life

To enhance the battery life of Android devices, Google is blocking apps from carrying out certain tasks when they’re running in the background. The restrictions include an app reacting to “implicit broadcasts”, or changes on a device such as Wi-Fi turning on or a picture being taken. It will also limit some background services and location updates when an app isn’t in use.

Limited notifications

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With most people overwhelmed with the number of notifications they receive on a daily basis, Google is introducing new ways to control the number you see and how they come through. Users will be able to manage each app individually with “fine-grained control”. For example, in news they will be able to select what areas they’re interested in hearing about.

Easy multitasking

Google has added a number of features to Android O to help users multitask. The first is “picture in picture” display which allows videos to keep playing in a smaller screen while users browse other sites, send a message or make a call. Google has also made it easier to use a second screen alongside their Android device with the ability to launch a program on a remote display.

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Other highlights

The new software has a range of other upgrades that improve Wi-Fi connectivity, keyboard navigation and wireless sound. It also includes new colour support for app developers and the ability to animate and change the shape of icons. A list of all the features currently publicised can be found on the Android website.

What will it be called?

For the past few years Google has released its developer preview with a letter and then expanded this into a name related to a sweet product. For example, Android N became Nougat and L became Lollipop.

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People have started to speculate what the O could stand for but there are few convincing answers. Suggestions have included Oreo, Oatmeal Cookie and Ox-tongue Pasty. The favourite appears to be Oreo, but Google has traditionally shied away from brand names for the software.

When can I download the software?

It is not clear when Android O will become available to the wider public, but Google has historically released more details at its annual developers’ conference in May.

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“The usual caveats apply: it’s early days, there are more features coming, and there’s still plenty of stabilisation and performance work ahead of us,” said Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android. “Over the course of the next several months, we’ll be released updated developer previews, and we’ll be doing a deep dive on all things Android at Google I/O in May.”


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