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Here's Everything New In Android O Developer Preview

Google announced the Android O developer preview this morning and it’s shaping up to be a big update with numerous functional (and a few visual) changes. With factory images available for flashing, we’re compiling a list of all the new features, so follow along.

App Background Limits To Improve Battery Life and Performance

Building off work in Nougat, Android O places more automatic background limits on implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. The end result are apps that have minimal impact on user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance.

High-quality Bluetooth audio, pro audio API, Bluetooth control for calls from third-party apps

To improve audio fidelity, Sony has made their LDAC codec available as part of Android O. The new AAudio API is designed for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio. Lastly, the ConnectionService APIs have been updated to allow calls from third-party apps to interface and be controlled by Bluetooth devices, like cars.

New Notification Design, Grouping And Snoozing

For improved glanceability, notifications in Android O are better grouped, with developers being able to customize the background color. However, Google notes that this should only be for “ongoing tasks which are critical for a user to see at a glance.”

Under the hood, Android is introducing app-defined categories for notifications. For example, a news app would group notifications under various sections, like politics or sports. These notification channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of alerts, as well as the ability to quickly turn off specific categories by holding down in the notification shade.

Users can also snooze notifications to reappear at a later time. Notifications will reappear with the same level of importance they first appeared at.

Picture in Picture and New Window Features

First added to Android TV in Nougat, Picture in Picture is now available on phones and tablets. Building on multi-window mode in the last release, there is a new app overlay window and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.

Adaptive Icons

Some OEMs, like Samsung, skin devices all the down to the shape of app icons. Android O now allows developers to create adaptive icons with different shapes that the system will automatically display based on a mask selected by the device. These icons can feature animation interaction system-wide, including in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

Improved Keyboard Navigation

Noting the rise of keyboard navigation due to Android apps on Chrome OS, Android O has more reliable, predictable models for what “arrow” and “tab” navigation will do.

Platform support for password manager apps

Similar to how Android has long supported third-party keyboards, users can now choose a default password manager app with new autofill APIs.

Wide-gamut colors for apps

Developers of imaging apps can take advantage of newer devices that feature a wide-gamut color capable display.

Fingerprint Gestures

Accessibility service can respond to directional swipes (up, down, left, and right) from a device’s fingerprint sensor. Notably, this is labeled as an accessibility feature so it’s unclear whether it can be used normally.


Android O completely revamps the Settings app with a completely white background, top bar, and even icon. To activate developer options, users who previously set a device password have to enter it before being able to access the menu.

Easter Eggs

This does nothing. Just the logo which says the letter " O".

Minor design refresh to quick settings and notification panel

The status bar icons at the top of the quick settings panel sees some minor changes and reordering, with the addition of a battery indicator and percentage. Additionally, when the panel is fully opened, but there are notifications that are not visible, their app icons will be listed in a bar at the very bottom of the screen.

Redesigned Ambient Display on Google Pixel

On the Google Pixel, the Ambient Display has been redesigned so it’s no longer just a black-and-white version of the regular lockscreen. Namely, only icons, and not full notifications, are displayed underneath the clock.


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