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General News Android O Developer Preview: Here’s everything you need to know

Last year, Google surprised everyone by dropping the Android N Developer Preview earlier than usual. Google also eased the way of installing the preview updates via OTA (over-the-air updates). Now, after months of rumors and anticipation, Google has once again surprised by dropping the developer preview version of its upcoming mobile OS – Android O.

While Google will talk about the new changes at the I/O 2017 conference, it has shared the changelog of new features that have been added to Android O. As always, the developer preview version is meant for developers who can test the OS and make their apps compatible with the new operating system before it is officially rolled out to the users. As of now, there is no official name for Android O, but as the tradition goes, it is likely to be named after some dessert, say Oreo, Oatcake or something like that.

Android O Developer Preview compatibility
Talking about compatibility, it’s good to see the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P being a part of the list. While the flagship Google smartphones, Pixel and Pixel XL are one of the compatible devices, the Nexus Player and Pixel C tablet are also a part of the list. However, unlike last year when Google made the update available via OTA, the same isn’t available now. You’ll have to download the factory images for your compatible device and manually flash them via recovery.

Android O Developer Preview Features
Over the years, Google has been adding a lot of new features to Android OS, and the same thing continues with Android O too. This time around, Google is trying to improve the wireless audio experience, make notifications more intuitive, optimize battery performance and more. Below are eight new features that are a part of Android O Developer Preview.

Background Limits
In the past few iterations, Google has worked towards optimizing the background process, and the same continues with Android O too. Now, the company has put additional limits on things that apps can do in the background – implicit broadcasts, location updates and background services. With these limits in place, apps would have minimum impact on the device’s battery life.

Notification Channels
With Android Nougat, Google introduced bundled notifications, and with Android O, you will have more control over the notifications. New addition to the feature includes “app-defined categories for notification content,” which will give users the ability to change the behavior or block channels individually. Google shared an example of the changes, and as you can see in the screenshot above, technology-related news are bundled in one notification channel. What’s more, notifications can also be snoozed for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or for an hour.

High-quality Audio
Google and Sony have worked together to improve the audio experience on Android O. While Sony has made its LDAC codec available for the new operating system, Google has also added high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs, and AAudio API designed for apps that need low-latency, high-performance audio. The ConnectionService APIs have also been updated to allow third-party apps to be controlled by Bluetooth devices. For instance, apps can display and control calls using the car head units.

Adaptive Icons
With adaptive icons, developers and better integrate app icons with device UI. The system can animate interactions with icons, use them in settings, shortcuts, launcher and overview screen. We have seen similar integration from Samsung since the launch of Galaxy S6 – for instance, the clock app icon has analog clock with hour and minute hands displaying the time right on the icon.

Autofill APIs
With the new operating system, Google is adding support for autofill, which will quickly help you fill out data in transaction forms. After selecting an autofill application, the app will store and secure all your data (addresses, names and passwords among others). The feature will be similar to autofill in Google Chrome, but while that only works on the browser, this is work across your entire smartphone.

Picture-in-picture (PIP)
Initially, added as a part of Android TV in Nougat update, the Picture in Picture feature is now available for smartphones and tablets. Building on the multi-window mode as seen on Android Nougat, the new feature brings multi-display and overlay support when launching an activity on a remote display.

Improved Keyboard navigation
With Android O, Google is focusing on improving the navigation by making it more reliable and predictable. The improved “arrow” and “tab” navigation could help both end users and developers.

Wide-gamut color for apps
Photo editing apps can now take advantage of wide-gamut color capable panels to display better colors. Developers will need to enable flags in their manifest and also load bitmaps with wide color profile — such as AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB or DCI-P3.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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