Android O announced by Google, developer preview now available

We have no idea what Google's next major Android update will be called, but a new report appears to reveal some of the most important new features coming to Android O (Android 8.0).

The next version of Android is official, and it'll be released later this year.

Nexus 6P and Pixel C users who want to take advantage of these features can sign-up for the Android Beta program. Android O is no different. Finally, the update also includes all the Google Security patches through Feb 2017. Android O supports wide color gamut for apps, so high quality wide-gamut displays can be put to good use. It says it has put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background in a number of key areas (broadcasts, background services, location updates). There are many new features in Android O, which you can read about here.

Autofill APIs: Allow users to select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. Third-party autofill apps will be supported thanks to new APIs. Android is adding in new Wi-Fi features as well, like Wi-Fi Aware, previously known as Neighbor Awareness Networking, writes Burke. This gives users fine control over what their notifications should look like. Probably the closest is a change to how the system handles notifications.

Adaptive icons that can change shapes depending on the device (circle vs squircle, for instance), and even support visual effects for Android animations. As an example, Google shows both the squircle- and round-style icons which can be deployed in Android O. That means you'll be able to shrink videos down to a floating window so you can do something else without stopping playback. "If you're building for wearables, there's also an emulator for testing Android Wear 2.0 on Android O", Burke said.

You can download the factory image for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus Player from Google's developer portal right now, but keep in mind that these previews are not meant to be used by regular consumers. According to Google, there's "still plenty of stabilization and performance work ahead of us. but it's booting".

As of the first week of March, only 2.8 percent of Android users are on the current version of the software, Nougat.

  • Arturo Norris