Everything you need to know
World, meet Android O.
Google unveiled new details of the next version of Android at its massive developers conference, Google I/O. Android O will be coming to consumer phones later this year.
Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, detailed some of the key features coming to the next Android operating system. He highlighted what he called the OS’s “fluid experiences:” picture in picture, notification dots, Smart text selection, and autofill.
Here’s how it all breaks down.
Android O will now support picture-in-picture for apps, meaning you can watch a video while you do other activities on your phone. This is useful for numerous occasions, like watching an instructional video on your phone while taking notes on your device. Or keeping a map open while you check something on Chrome.
Notifications got an update, too. Instead of having to click through an app like Instagram to see who tagged you in a photo, you can simply long-press the app to display the notification above the app icon. In a message to developers, Burke said that this will show that “there is activity in the app and drive engagement.”
You’ll be able to see a notification is waiting for you via a subtle circle that appears on the top-right of the icon — what Google calls Notification Dots.
Autofill also got an update. Users can now use Android’s autofill features within apps, not just Chrome. When you download a new app, you no longer need to manually enter all your personal details to open a new account.
Burke demonstrated the new feature with the Twitter app, which auto-logged him into his account based on the fact that he had previously logged in on an in-phone web browser.
Android O also improves existing day-to-day features: Text selection is getting a whole lot smarter. We’re all used to using this feature to highlight phone numbers with an easy tap for copy and paste, but with, Android O the smart text selection is able to better pick out things like business names and addresses just by double-tapping. Android will also suggest appropriate apps for the text you’ve selected; for example, if you’ve selected an address, it’ll suggest opening Maps in addition to the usual copy/paste options.
While the world will have to wait until the fall to get Android O, developers will be able to start working with it today. Still no word on the name, and it’s unclear if there are any Oreo cookies at the conference.