Google delivers a standing O of an Android preview for devs

Last year's Android 7.0 Nougat release is only running on less than 3% of internet-connected Android devices, but Google is already charging forward with the next release, currently called Android O. The developer preview of the new version is available now. In a similar vein to Chrome 57, Android O is focused on extending battery life and throttling background tasks. Android's ever-evolving notification system is getting improvements and will now group notification content into app-defined categories called channels.

To keep background tasks in check, Android O will impose limitations on implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates in order to make it easier for developers to write apps with reduced impact on battery life. Google says the policy changes on background limits represent a "significant change" and that it "want(s) every developer to get familiar with them," which sounds to us like a heads-up indicating that the changes may break some applications.

The latest round of changes to the notification system offers apps the ability for apps to create what Google calls channels. The change should allow users more fine-grained control over each type of notification originating from an app. Google says the new system will allow users to "block or change the behavior of each channel individually," instead of just enabling or disabling the entirety of an app's notifications.

Android O will arrive with improved support for both new and existing hardware. Wide-gamut displays will be supported, as will the higher-quality Bluetooth LDAC audio codec. As for existing hardware, the musty old keyboard-and-mouse interfaces are getting some attention to make the Android app experience a bit more satisfying for users of Android apps on Chrome OS devices.

The new release includes a number of smaller updates like a new Autofill API, updated application windowing features, and adaptive icons. Google's Android Developers blog has a more detailed rundown here. The search giant is planning a deeper release of information at Google I/O in mid-May, but developers can download the preview version and get started updating their apps right away.

Comments closed
    • ztrand
    • 3 years ago

    Interesting that Android seems to be moving closer and closer to the iOS model of background processing by restricting it more and more.

    Not so good IMO, one of the few things that sets Android apart from iOS is the more open possibilities for running stuff in the background.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    Anyone else have to think for a minute about whether they skipped a letter? Some times I don’t know how I make it through the day…

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    My Droid Turbo 2 is still on Marshmallow, and it’s basically a bone-stock android smartphone that was designed by Google-owned Motorola ๐Ÿ™

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      Your Droid Turbo 2 [url=http://www.droid-life.com/2017/02/25/droid-turbo-2-gets-android-nougat-update/<]should be on Nougat[/url<], but regardless it seems like it takes everyone forever to roll anything out.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Google releases new version.
        Manufacturer takes their sweet time validating and bastardising the new version for rollout.
        Carrier takes their sweet time adding more junk and then sucks at rollout.
        RIP Nexus.

    • riblitz
    • 3 years ago

    Take that Facebook! You and your policy of nothing or an endless stream of pointless notifications cluttering up my phone are numbered! No longer shall I miss relevant notifications adrift in a sea of the inane prattle of status updates and spicy memes I saw 3 months ago on Reddit. Please, Google constrain this beast to one row and let us all rejoice.

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Facebook isn’t above just simply implementing a single notification category, or implementing three but only really using one ๐Ÿ™‚

      • w76
      • 3 years ago

      I solved that, and its awful battery consumption, long ago: uninstalled it. There’s a couple decent options but I use an app called Metal as a light-weight wrapper around its web version.

    • UberGerbil
    • 3 years ago

    Nice work Google, but Play Services is already by far the largest background/idle consumer of battery on my phone. How about you work on throttling yourself?

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      Google Play Service is just the single entry for most of the Google layer in Android.

      For example, apps can choose to use Google Play location services (shared between apps) instead of Android’s for device location. GCM/Firebase is included too, which handles most background networking for Gmail/Hangout/Hello, etc.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      I had this on my Galaxy S7 all throughout the Marshmallow life of the device. I got in on the Nougat beta in November and it went away. Idle power consumption is way, way down and battery life went way, way up.

    • djayjp
    • 3 years ago

    So it brings wide colour gamut support, but what about HDR? Or did Android already have it?

    • rika13
    • 3 years ago

    Orange Sherbert, that nasty stuff, horrid fake wannabe ice cream

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      Sherbet. One r.

    • ludi
    • 3 years ago

    Target: Jaundice Edition

    • kvndoom
    • 3 years ago

    Oreo. No way in hell it’s gonna be called anything but Oreo.

    2019’s Android release will be the interesting one!

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Android O-ring.

      • TheMonkeyKing
      • 3 years ago

      “This is my O face.”

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      The successor that Nutella deserves.

      • Growler
      • 3 years ago

      I’m going with Orangesicle.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Depends on whether Nabisco’s parent Mondelez (they still own Oreo, right?) is as accommodating with their trademarks as Nestlรฉ was with Kit Kat.

      They may just skip Q. Or just call it Q. They’ll have the same problem in 2025.

      The real question is what happens after 2028 or so.

        • nico1982
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]The real question is what happens after 2028 or so.[/quote<] If Android still exist by then, I'd say go full-circle and start again from A.

          • Chrispy_
          • 3 years ago

          There are 36 letters of the Alphadecimabet. It’s not like running out of numbers was a problem for hexadecimal coders.

            • nico1982
            • 3 years ago

            The (evidently-too-much) tacit constraint was keeping the food naming convention ๐Ÿ˜›

            • UberGerbil
            • 3 years ago

            A1 Steak Sauce
            Tuti Fruti
            3 Musketeers
            Four Loko
            5 Gum
            7-Up
            AfterEight

            Having trouble with six and nine, but we’ve got over a decade for somebody to launch candy / food products using those numbers in their names.

        • Bobs_Your_Uncle
        • 3 years ago

        Or they may opt to pay homage to the noble “Quince” ( [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince[/url<] ). Having focused almost exclusively upon a a series of mainly manufactured, often heavily sugared desserts or "treats" (Froyo, Kit Kat, etc.) we're certainly past the point where a wholesome, naturally grown food is due some props. (And doubtless, the ranks of independent Quince growers could use a little publicity bump! When was the last time YOU enjoyed a tree ripened Quince, or a dab of Quince marmalade?)

          • UberGerbil
          • 3 years ago

          Fun fact: on Magellan’s voyage around the globe, the common sailors suffered from scurvy but the officers did not. They (the officers) attributed this to “breeding”; the reality, as someone discovered, was that the one of the perks of officers’ mess was a little dab of Quince jelly on their otherwise near-inedible hardtack for breakfast, which was supplied a minimal but sufficient dose of Vitamin C.

      • psuedonymous
      • 3 years ago

      Opal Fruit.

      And not bloody ‘Starburst’!

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Android 7 is only at 3%? I got the Nougat update on my Galaxy S7 on March 9. Looks like those stats were taken on March 6. I’d bet that number will jump significantly a month from now.

      • neverthehero
      • 3 years ago

      But then you have issues of 7.1 trickling down eventually and then 8.0 coming out. So it’ll be back to square one. Amazing that KitKat and Jellybean still occupy close to 30%. I”m sure those are world statistics , so not much you can do to get more people on board with up to date devices..

        • Peldor
        • 3 years ago

        Oreo? Onlyaquarterofdeviceswilleverseethisatonetime would be more apt.

        Jellybean peaked at 62% of devices.
        Kit Kat peaked at 41.4%
        Lollipop at 36.1% (and is still higher than Marshmallow)
        Marshmallow has probably topped out at 31.3%.
        Nougat will likely be lower still and OaQoDWESTaOT manages maybe 25ish% in March 2019 as P begins the ascent.

        Annual releases of OS major versions with devices that get updated maybe once, slowly, combined with longer devices lifetimes (and no more contracts driving turnover) mean you can expect no consolidation in the Android OS ecosystem any time soon.

      • Kougar
      • 3 years ago

      I guess that explains why I’m still running into apps that don’t fully support Nougat. I updated to v7 when prompted last year, had assumed more devices were using it by now.

        • w76
        • 3 years ago

        I’m on 5.1 on my 2nd gen Moto X, and Republic Wireless I doubt has any intention of ever updating it to 6.0. Sigh. Motorola themselves just released it in September, and Republic probably wants to nudge older plan participants like me to shiny new phones.

        I miss my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 was still getting security updates until just recently I think.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 3 years ago

          All 2nd gen Moto Xes aside from the unlocked version got dumped after 5.1. Moto dropped all the carrier versions.

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