Android O Beta is available today
It’s already been available for a few months as a developer preview, but 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.
The company used the opportunity to show a number of features that have already been available in the developer preview. 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 that specific app has a new note tied to it. Giving it a long press, will pop up a preview window, similar to iOS, so users never have to leave the desktop to view.
Picture in Picture was already announced, but not available in the dev preview. The feature essentially place a small video box on the desktop, while other apps are open. That way you can, say, watch a YouTube or Netflix video or do a Duo chat, while sending an email. Assuming, of course, your screen is big enough and you’ve got enough processing power.
The new version of the operating system is also set to bring some advantages on the hardware front, according to the company, including, notably, an increase in boot times, which should fire up the handset in around half the time.
Also new is Vitals, a new feature available for Play that helps developers spot issues with apps that can potentially impact phone security, battery life and the like. The biggest cheer of the day from the developer-heavy crowd, on the other hand, came when the company announced Android support for the Kotlin programming language (nerds).