Google has released developer preview images for Android ‘O’, the next major Android release. What’s more is that the company has also published factory images. The build will not be made available through the Android Beta Program.
Android O Developer Preview
Android O brings a lot of new features such as notification channels, PIP, adaptive icons and some new APIs – autofill, font resources in XML, auto sizing TextView, WebView enhancements and more. The preview is available for Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C.
The stable version of Android O will be available in Q3 2017. Google said that the initial preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we’re making it available for manual download and flash only.
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Android O Features
- Background limits: Android O puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance. Additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. This will help create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery.
- Notification channels: Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.
- Snoozing: Users can snooze notifications to reappear at a later time. Notifications reappear with the same level of importance they first appeared with. Apps can remove or update a snoozed notification, but updating a snoozed notification does not cause it to reappear.
- Autofill APIs: Android O adds platform support for autofill. Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, usernames, and even passwords. For apps that want to handle autofill, new APIs are added to implement an Autofill service.
- PIP for handsets and new windowing features: Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, so users can continue watching a video while they’re answering a chat or hailing a car. Apps can put themselves in PiP mode from the resumed or a pausing state where the system supports it – and you can specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions (such as play/pause).
- Font resources in XML: Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android O. Apps can now use fonts in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML — declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.
- Adaptive icons: Adaptive icons support visual effects, and can display a variety of shapes across different device models. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.
- Wide-gamut color for apps: Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).
- Connectivity: Support for high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC codec. Wi-Fi Aware, which is based on the Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN) specification. On devices with the appropriate Wi-Fi Aware hardware, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point.
- Companion device pairing: Android O provides APIs that allow you to customize the pairing request dialog when trying to pair with companion devices over Bluetooth, BLE, and Wi-Fi.
- Keyboard navigation: More reliable, a predictable model for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that aids both developers and end users.
- AAudio API for Pro Audio: AAudio is a new native API that’s designed specifically for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio. Apps using AAudio read and write data via streams. In the Developer Preview, we’re releasing an early version of this new API to get your feedback.
- WebView enhancements: Multiprocess mode by default and API to let your app handle errors and crashes, for enhanced security and improved app stability. As a further security measure, you can now opt-in your app’s WebView objects to verify URLs through Google Safe Browsing.
- Java 8 Language APIs and runtime optimizations: Android now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the new java.time API. In addition, the Android Runtime is faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.
- Partner platform contributions: Hardware manufacturers and silicon partners have accelerated fixes and enhancements to the Android platform in the O release. Sony has contributed more than 30 feature enhancements, including the LDAC codec, and 250 bug fixes to Android O.
As we get closer to a final product, we’ll be inviting consumers to try it out as well, and we’ll open up enrollments through Android Beta at that time. Stay tuned for details, but for now please note that Android Beta is not currently available for Android O.