GOOGLE HAS ROLLED OUT a developer preview of Android O, touting its battery-saving features, improved notifications and new picture-in-picture mode for phones and tablets.
Last year's Nougat release has only made its way on to 2.8 per cent of Android devices so far, but that hasn't stopped Google waxing lyrical over the next iteration of its mobile OS.
Android O puts a "big priority on improving a user's battery life", Google says, explaining that the software will limit how much apps can do in the background.
"To make this possible, we've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates," said David Burke, vice president of engineering for Android.
"These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user's device and battery."
Notifications will be easier to manage in Android O, too, thanks to notification channels - app-defined categories to sort notification content. Users can control these channels individually, making notifications less of a downpour-or-drought model.
"Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behaviour of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app's notifications together," Burke added.
On top of that, Android O will also add new visuals and grouping to notifications, which will make it easier for users to see what's going on when they have an incoming message.
A picture-in-picture mode, like that seen on Android TV, is also coming with Android O, which will let users continue watching a video while ordering an Uber, for example.
Google has also tried to make your phone more secure with an update to Android's WebView, a widely used service that lets developers take advantage of browser technology in their apps. The update makes it harder for a maliciously coded app to steal your personal information.
Other new features include autofill APIs, font resources in XML, wide-gamut colour for apps and 'adaptive icons', a feature that will let developers pick a background image for their app which each individual Android skin can then cut out to fit the system design.
In its developer notes, Google warns that the dev build is still a bit shaky, saying: "it's early days, there are more features coming, and there's still plenty of stabilisation and performance work ahead of us."
It's also warning consumers not to download the build onto their main smartphone or tablet, adding: "Developer Preview 1 is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use."
Images are available now for the Nexus 5X, 6P, Player, and the Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel C. There's also an emulator for testing Android Wear 2.0 on Android O. µ
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