10 new Android O features that will make your phone better
Though we got out first peek at Android O back in March, Google finally revealed more details this week at its I/O developers conference about the soon-to-drop version of Android.
Though we’re still quite a ways away from the official release, we now a lot more about the update. At first glance, many of the new changes are subtle, building on updates Google introduced last year with Nougat. (Yes, it’s another boring year for Android.)
Still, there are quite a few features to look forward to, here’s what’s caught our eye so far.
1. No more broken emoji ☐
Tired of missing out on new emoji? Android O will help ensure you never miss out on the latest releases. A new feature for developers lets them integrate a new emoji library that automatically fills in missing emoji even if you don’t have it available yet in your keyboard.
2. Smart Sharing
Android O is able to understand what’s in your photos and recommend specific apps and actions based based on what’s in it the composition and your prior behavior. “If a user takes a photo of a receipt, Android O can suggest an expense-tracking app; if the user takes a selfie, a social media app can better handle the image,” Google says.
This also applies to videos, URLs, text, and other types of content — your phone can learn what you typically do with different types of content to improve its recommendations.
3. Cleaner Icons
Android developers can now create an array of icons to match the styles for different devices. This mean if you use a phone that defaults to round app icons, apps that have typically used square icons now have the ability to use round ones instead.
4. Notification Snoozing
Android O is placing a lot of emphasis on improving notifications. One notable tweak will be the ability to snooze a notification for later.
5. Badge Notifications
One of the biggest changes to notifications is the addition of badge notifications — small dots that appear over an app icon to indicate a new notification from that app. Additionally, you can long press on an app to check its notifications.
6. Background colors for notifications
Another small but noticeable way Google is redesigning the look and feel of notifications: Developers will have the ability to enable background colors for notifications from their app.
But don’t expect your notifications tray to look extra colorful — Google recommends developers “only use this feature in notifications for ongoing tasks which are critical for a user to see at a glance,” like navigation or phone calls.
7. Notification Channels
Besides just changing the look and feel of notifications, Android O is letting users have much more fine-grained control over which notifications they see in the first place with something called notification channels. Notification channels let you decide which types of notifications you want to see from your apps.
Not many developers have had a chance to take advantage of this yet but as you can see in this example from the Google app, it lets you individually mute certain categories of notifications.
8. New Android TV Launcher
In addition to getting new superpowers thanks to Google Assistant, Android TV is getting a redesigned launcher menu that emphasizes content discovery.
9. New animation styles
This one is a little more subtle: Android O is adding support for a new animation style called physics-based animation. “Physics-based animation relies on the laws of physics to manifest a high degree of realism in animation. In our day-to-day life, when a change occurs, it comes with a physical transition that is natural for us to recognize. “
This will manifest in a few different styles of animations, but one is a new type called “fling animation,” which helps you slow down motion at the end of a graphic.
It’s been mentioned before but it bears repeating: Android O is getting support for picture-in-picture that works with any app, not just YouTube. It will take some time before more developers start adopting the feature, which is pretty buggy in the current developer preview, but PiP will definitely level up your multitasking.