Android O release date, name and features: Android Oreo now available on Honor 9 and 8 Pro
The update brings speed optimisations, plus a tailored user experience in the form of Smart Tips
Android Oreo top features
Google gave fans their first official look at Android Oreo then known only as "Android O" at the Google I/O developer's conference.
Android Oreo is very much not a massive overhaul of the OS and instead offers tweaks and optimisations for existing features. That's not to say there's nothing new, though.
Google has finally introduced picture-in-picture video to Android. If you're making a video call in Duo or watching a video in YouTube, pressing the home button will bring you back to the home screen, with a minimised window in the right hand corner displaying the video. In practise, it works very similarly to the way picture-in-picture videos are displayed within YouTube's mobile app, although this is system-wide and compatible with multiple different apps.
Android Instant Apps
Android Instant Apps allows users to run certain apps on their phones and tablets without having to actually install them.
The concept was first introduced way back in spring 2016, at the company's annual I/O developer conference, but it wasn't actually made available for a year. This feature isn't exclusive to Android Oreo, but it is the first time a version of Android has launched with the capability pre-loaded.
The notification system has been slightly tweaked, with new iOS-style 'notification dots'. If you have unread notifications within an app, a dot will be displayed in the corner of its home screen icon, which you can long-press on to see a pop-up widget giving you more details on the content. This feature should require no extra effort for devs to enable Android will even change the dot's colour automatically depending on your icon's design, ensuring it doesn't spoil your colour scheme.
Android Oreo introduced notification channels, too. These are new app-defined categories for notification content. Channels allow users to have extra control over different types of notifications so they can block or change the behaviour of each channel individually instead of managing all of the app's notifications together.
There are also new visuals and grouping of notifications that make it easier for users to see what's going on when viewing their notifications.
Autofill and Smart Text Selection
A couple of less impressive (but arguably more useful) features in Android Oreo are autofill and smart text selection. The former extends Chrome's built-in autocomplete function to Android, meaning that when you set up a new phone, Android will automatically fill in your account details for apps. It's currently unknown if this feature will allow you to use different credential storage services like Lastpass or Dashlane, however.
Android's new smart text selection is another useful feature. It uses machine learning to identify multi-part phrases that are commonly highlighted together, like phone numbers, addresses and business names, meaning users just have to double-tap on one word to highlight the whole thing. It even brings up a shortcut for the app it thinks would be most relevant, like Maps or the phone dialler.
There's also a "fully redesigned" emoji set, featuring 60 new emojis.
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