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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Android O Developer Preview Is Now Available For Download

Android O

OMG! Google has released the developer preview of Android O, this is actually the first preview, so since it's still in its early days, usual caveats should apply. The OS has not been finished, so you will expect some bugs, making it unusable as daily driver. However Google has promised to release more features and there will still be plenty of stabilization & performance work. But not to be discouraged, you also should know that the newest developer preview of Android O is actually booting. The developer preview of Android O isn't on beta preview, as Google will open the Beta program testing for Android O, with new tweaks and changes.

Developer Preview

Android O developer preview includes an updated "SDK" with system images for testing on the official Android Emulator and on Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player. If you are building for wearables, there is also an emulator for testing Wear 2.0 on Android O. This initial developer preview release, is for developers only and it's not intended for daily or consumer use. So if you want to taste it, then you can manually download and flash it. Downloads and instructions are here. 

Android O
Thanks!! Santosh Salve

Android O Features

Earlier on, we mentioned Android O (8.0) possible featuresbased on the concepts envisioned by an indian designer. While this features are likely not to be accurate, Android "O" has introduced a number of new features and APIs that's essentials. So here's just a few new things the first Developer Preview offers.

1. Background Limits

Device Interface Performance & Battery life has continue to be one of the priority for Google on Android O. Thus to make it possible, Android O added an additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background. These are in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. Note that the changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on your device and battery. Overall, background limits represent a significant change in Android, so every developer is expected to be familiar with them.

2. Notification Channels

Android O also introduces a notification channels, that provides a unified system to help users manage notifications with app-defined categories for notification content. This will give developers a users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications, and so users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app's notifications together. Android O also adds new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what's going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.

Android O notification channel

3. Autofill APIs

Android users already depends on a range of password managers to auto-fill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Now Android O will make this work more easily across the ecosystem by adding platform support for autofill. Users can select an auto-fill app that's similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores & secures user data, such as password, user names, and even address.

4. PIP For Handsets And New Windowing Features 

Androis O bring a Picture in Picture (PiP) display that's available on phones and tablets. This can allow users to continue watching a video while answering a chat or hailing a car.  Android apps can put themselves in PiP mode from the pause or resuming state if the system supports it. You can can even specify aspect ratio and set a custom interactions such as play or pause. New windowing features will include a new app overlay window for apps to use instead of system alert window, and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.

5. Font Resources In XML

Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android O. Apps can now use any fonts in XML layouts as well as define a font families in XML, by declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.

6. Adaptive Icons

Android O also brings an adaptive icons that helps you to integrate better with your device's UI. You can easily create adaptive icons which the system displays in different shapes, based on a mask selected by the device. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and then in the launcher, shortcuts, settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

the adaptive icon for Android O

7. Wide-Gamut Color For Apps

Developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new Android devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).

8. Connectivity

Android O, has supports for high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC codec. New Wi-Fi features will be added as well, like the Wi-Fi Aware, which was formerly known as Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN). On devices with the appropriate hardware, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point.

9. Keyboard Navigation

Android O is focused towards building a more reliable, and predictable model for "arrow" and "tab" navigation that aids both developers and end users. This is an advent of Google Play apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors.

10. AAudio API For Pro Audio 

AAudio is a new native API integrated in the Android O, this feature has already been designed specifically for apps that requires high-performance and low-latency audio. So apps using AAudio will read and write data via streams.

11. WebView Enhancements

Android O, enables multiprocess mode by default and adds an API to let your apps handle errors and crashes, this will help to enhance security & improve app stability.

12. Java 8 Language APIs And Runtime Optimizations

Android O now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the java.time API. In addition, the Android Runtime is now faster than ever before, and it also brings improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.


Final Words

Android O unveils plethora features, and also fixes and enhancements to Android O release have been accelerated. Sony mobile contributed more than 30 feature enhancements including the LDAC codec and 250 bug fixes to Android O. Now we are anticipating on the Android O name and it's official release. Till then, simply tell us what you feel about this build.

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