Android 8.0 is a freshly-baked Oreo

Android O has been in the wild in beta form for some time now, available to developers and brave souls who like to check out new software as soon as it's available. But now, Android 8.0 has an official name and a timeframe for public release.

Each Android version gets a confection-related name in alphabetical order. The last few have been KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat. Android 8.0, known as Android O up to this point, will be called Oreo. Android's director of product management Sagar Kamdar said that Oreo will start rolling out by the end of the year.

The new version of Android boasts a pretty impressive list of features, both above and under the hood. Google promises that Android will be twice as fast to boot up (according to time measured on the Google Pixel). Background app activity will be limited to keep apps from using too much data, chewing through processor cycles, or pinging GPS towers too often—all activites that can guzzle down battery before you can even make it to lunch.

On the interface side of things, the new Notification Dots are overlaid on top of app icons and make it easier to see what apps have pending notifications, and offer an easier way to access them. Instant Apps lets developers modularize apps so that they launch immediately from a webpage and can be used right away. These apps are split into modules which are loaded on-demand. There are a handful of accessibility improvements, like using the volume keys as accessibility shortcuts, being able to use the fingerprint reader as a input device, and the presence of a separate volume control for the the accessibility service.

Google's Pixel, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X phones will get the update first. Samsung will reportedly offer Oreo for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 handsets, along with the upcoming Note 8. Mobile-focused sites like Android Central are keeping sharp tabs on which phones will get the update, so be sure to check periodically.

Whether your particular phone will get Oreo is a tough question. Android's fragmentation doesn't look like it'll be fixed anytime soon, and there are millions of devices running versions years out of date. Most manufacturers support phones for a couple years before considering them too old to keep up-to-date. My Samsung Galaxy S6 is running Nougat, for example, but won't be getting Oreo. While it's nice to see Google itself moving ahead with Android, it's a shame that the rest of the phone world doesn't tend to follow.

Comments closed
    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Nice Hydrox you have there

    • CuttinHobo
    • 2 years ago

    Woo! The third new version of Android that won’t reach my phone.

    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]or pinging GPS towers too often—[/quote<] What? That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works! GPS works by devices having a receiver that listens to the *satallites* in orbit around the earth. You never transmit to them. There are no towers, there is no pinging.

      • Shobai
      • 2 years ago

      Satellites*, but yes. As a counterpoint, how do the various Assisted GPS modes work? Is pinging involved in gleaning location data from cell or WiFi?

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        Nope. You listen to cell tower signal strength and you use their approximate location to triangulate where you are.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Should have been called Octopus, especially being version 8. Get it?

    What?! You don’t eat octopus??

      • Namarrgon
      • 2 years ago

      The 8.0 easter egg is actually an animated octopus.

    • Laykun
    • 2 years ago

    As much as I like using Android it really needs to solve it’s fragmentation problem sooner rather than later. From what I understand it has a real problem with the Linux kernel having a shifting ABI meaning each new version needs a driver recompile for each kernel revision they upgrade to, meaning a lot of phones are shit out of luck because manufacturers can’t be bothered going back and doing rebuilds for old drivers (some drivers need additional logic written, or New builds sourced from their makers). I feel like Android needs a more open source approach to it’s internals where drivers are by default open source so users can recompile for a newer kernel (or so at least the system can) and most system level software should be modularized and can be upgraded through a package manager (like most Linux distributions) that pulls from the Google Android software repository so I don’t need a phone manufacturer to explicitly release security updates for my phone.

      • Namarrgon
      • 2 years ago

      That’s exactly why Oreo includes [url=https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2017/05/here-comes-treble-modular-base-for.html<]Project Treble[/url<], a standardised driver abstraction layer that's independent of the kernel or Android version. This will enable new devices (and hopefully older devices with backported Treble layers) to be updated more or less independently of the phone's hardware. As you say, the drivers should be more open, but Qualcomm & other SoC vendors only distribute their drivers as closed binary blobs to manufacturers who order enough units, and rarely offer updated driver binaries for older chips (which is why even Google's own phones haven't always had ongoing support). Google has doubtless been pressuring Qualcomm to open their drivers more, but clearly that didn't work.

        • Laykun
        • 2 years ago

        It’s nice to see they have a solution to the ABI problem, wish they could solve the security updates problem with a package manager.

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    i never liked the cream filling inside.

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      How about having an Ice Cream Sandwich instead?

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]keep apps from... pinging GPS towers too often[/quote<] Maybe this will fix the GPS problem on my Samsung S7. Whenever I turn off the screen while Google Maps is navigating I lose GPS within 30 seconds. Only way to make my phone find itself again is to turn the screen on.

      • UberGerbil
      • 2 years ago

      That sounds more like you have Location mode set to Battery Saving instead of High Accuracy (ie the power mode it goes into when the screen goes off does that)

    • swaaye
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder what horrible new problems it will bring!!!! 😀 😀

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Android Go is aimed at budget phones, but I wonder if there will be a way to get the slimmer OS on older phones and tablets.

    • gmskking
    • 2 years ago

    Nothing like baking Oreos in the morning

    • Magic Hate Ball
    • 2 years ago

    My Nexus 5X will appreciate any battery savings that can be had from background usage.

    I have very few apps installed and my battery gets chewed through from … apparently nothing in the background according to the battery usage info.

      • VincentHanna
      • 2 years ago

      Google services are the number one user of battery in android phones. People who have rooted their devices to disable them can get a 24hr+ increase to battery.

      • funko
      • 2 years ago

      use accubattery a couple days and check your battery health. my nexus 6p battery was at 60% battery health after 1.5 years . changed my battery out and now im at 105% battery health no longer tied to my external battery

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 2 years ago

      I am semi-retiring a Nokia 808 and just noticed it has a 1400mah battery, half the minimum of what a modern phone might expect. It goes 2-3 days between charges. And it has had a glowing datetime display 24×7 for the past ~5 years.

      Yikes, what does Android [i<]do[/i<] with all that power?

    • blahsaysblah
    • 2 years ago

    Android Police says initial waves of OTA are going only to folks in the beta program. And you should be able to still join beta and get the release early. However, they already had to pull Pixel OTAs(fixed) so maybe waiting a bit for others to work out kinks is not bad idea.

      • llisandro
      • 2 years ago

      my pixel was in the beta, and I got the notification this morning and I installed the update at about 9am. No problems here, FWIW.

      • TheRazorsEdge
      • 2 years ago

      I am absolutely waiting for other people to work out the bugs.

      The improvements sound very nice, but my 6P is more than adequate as-is.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<] An evolution in app sharing and discovery, [b<]Android Instant Apps allows Android users to run your apps instantly, without installation.[/b<] Android users experience what they love about apps—fast and beautiful user interfaces, high performance, and great capabilities—with just a tap. Android Instant Apps is now open to all developers, so anyone can build and publish an instant app today. [/quote<] Uhhh, no? Do not want.

      • Vigil80
      • 2 years ago

      Now you can start playing Kingdom Heroes Crushing Clash of Monster Champions quicker than you can say “best value.”

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Sounds like a SEVERE security vulnerability to me.

        • TheRazorsEdge
        • 2 years ago

        Application streaming tech isn’t new. I assume that’s what this is doing because there isn’t really another way of doing it at this point in time.

        As long as Google’s implementation is reasonable, there isn’t much to be worried about.

        • Namarrgon
        • 2 years ago

        It’s basically video from a cloud-based app emulator streamed over a web browser – if anything it’d be a lot MORE secure than installing third-party code on your own device.

      • MrDweezil
      • 2 years ago

      Instant Apps were announced back in I/O 2016 and already worked on Android M and above. They only recently opened up the development process to everyone, but I don’t think there’s anything here specifically tied to Android O.

      • Shobai
      • 2 years ago

      Would you mind expanding on your position? It looks to me like there are at least two ways to read that section, and I’m not sure what you’re against.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 2 years ago

        When a company says “instantly, without installation” i read “without my permission, automatically”
        When it says “fast and beautiful user interfaces” I read “slow and barely functional”
        When it says “high performance, and great capabilities” I read “100% CPU/GPU usage”
        And the statement altogether reads as “A new advertising and data mining vector”

        So no, I don’t want my phone’s battery dying faster so that a website can advertise to me “better”.

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