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Android O — What’s New For Users? — Part 1

Whenever we receive an android update what is the first thing that we all do? We start looking for what’s new.

I have been using Android O Preview since it was made available via beta channel so in this post I will cover all the changes I have observed in Android O on Nexus 6p.

This article will not cover the changes from the developer point of view, it is more focused on user facing changes on Android O.

Picture In Picture (PIP) Mode

This is the most useful user facing feature in Android O.

You can put supported applications in PIP mode and the application will float on top of other applications, so you can watch a youtube video while replying to a WhatsApp message.

YouTube in Picture In Picture mode

Hopefully, the uneasiness of multi-window mode will be removed by this feature. Though it’s not very clear how to use it, I used this little hack by Android Authority to add an extra navigation button and assign key-code to it.

Note: This System UI tuning option is removed in Developer Preview 3, I added it in DP2 and I am able to use it till O hits final release; Read here for more information.

If you click on the floating window of youtube it shows various options to interact with the application such as Pause, Previous/Next (Which is not working as expected in the latest release) and Close. If you click on the center icon the application will be launched in full screen.

Autofill Framework

This is the second most useful feature for users. Now applications can inform the android system that a particular input field is of what type. The possible options listed here; for instance, Name, Email, Phone Number.

Autofill services can also determine the possible suggestion by analysing input field id, hint, and type.

For Example, Google Autofill service shows the mobile number and email suggestions without any code changes in the app by reading the hint text.

Smart Text Selection

Android O enables apps to help users interact with text in more meaningful ways. Whenever you select any text which is phone number, Phone application option will be shown along with clipboard actions.

Similarly text selection works for YouTube links, Addresses, Emails, and URLs.

Notifications

Media Notifications

Ongoing media notifications are now coloured based on album art / thumbnails. Android system automatically does this with the help of Palette API so there are no changes required to be done from application developers.

Snooze Notifications

You can now snooze individual application notifications for 15min, 30min, or 1hr.

App Shortcuts and Widgets

Everyone of you must have heard about the app shortcuts, this is how app shortcuts look in action.

App shortcut and widgets

The first icon you see on the app shortcut popup launches the widget bottom sheet for quick access.

I personally fell that widgets deserve more importance than they actually get in real life, one of the reason was it was very cumbersome to find those. App shortcut makes it easier for users to explore the widgets.

Adaptive Icons

Android O introduces adaptive icons, these icon changes the shape based on the settings selected in launcher application.

These is how icon adapts the shape changes once application uses adaptive launcher icons.

Adaptive icons

For more information on Adaptive Icons head over to the post by Nick Butcher.

Better Battery information

Battery settings now shows more precious useful information, now you can know which app is draining more battery and how much time did you use it.

Battery Settings on Android O

You can also enable the Numeric indicator for the battery percentage in status bar from battery settings screen.

Bugs

Android O is still in Beta so you can expect few minor glitches.

Facebook

Autofill API automatic suggestion feature also leads to some bugs, i.e. Facebook app shows email address suggestion in the search field.

Applications can opt-out from this auto suggestion, please read the documentation for the same.

Battery Saver

As a developer we all have been in a situation where we mess up with boolean variable state and feel ashamed, well no need for that because even Google messed up this time.

Though battery saver is automatically turned on notification shows Turn ON Battery Saver.

Battery Saver notification

Features For Advanced Users

There are few features which may not affect normal users but for the PRO users these are delights.

I have covered those in another post so join me over there if any small change in the Android OS makes difference for you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or talk to me on Twitter. Thanks!

References

  1. Android Police Android O feature spotlight series :- http://www.androidpolice.com/tags/series_android_o_feature_spotlights
  2. Official documentation :- https://developer.android.com/preview/index.html

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