Android Nougat was officially released eight months ago, in August 2016, and we've been seeing a continuous rollout on Android flagships ever since. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Google has been working on the next Android 8.0 update. While we don't yet know what the O stands for yet, its features have been announced and the developer preview is available.
Android O Release Date and Developer Preview
Along with the announcement of its features, the Android O Developer Preview images were made available today, for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel and Pixel XL. You can download them here.
While the official Android O release date is still unknown, as we've seen in the years before, we should get official confirmation and a glimpse into the first developer version of Android O at the Google I/O Developer conference between May 17 and 19 this year.
Google posted the new release timeline on their developer site, which tells us that the final release of Android 8.0 is expected in Q3 2017.
Android O Features
Here are some of the new features and what they'll bring:
Background limits: To protect user's battery life and performance, Google has put automatic limits on app's background activities. These background limits will specifically include implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.
Notification channels: These are new categories for notifications that give users very detailed control over notifications - not just by app, but by channel or topic. These channels will be visually grouped together on the notification shade.
Autofill APIs: This allows users to choose a central, platform-wide autofill app, just like they can select a keyboard app. This will be important for both convenience and security.
Picture-in-picture: Apps will be able to put themselves into Picture-in-Picture mode, and there will be more robust windowing features. For example, apps will be able to do native overlay windows rather than using system alerts. There will also be multi-display support, so you can launch apps on a remote display.
Adaptive icons: The system will display icons in different shapes and animate interactions with them from several screens. This should make the UI more beautiful from the launcher to the settings menu.
Connectivity: Audiophiles will be happy to hear that Android O will support high quality Bluetooth audio codecs like LDAC. Android O will likely get Bluetooth aptX support as well, but this was not explicitly stated. Wi-Fi Aware will allow nearby devices to recognize each other without internet access. Spps will also be able to display their information (like calls) on different UIs (like car head units).
Keyboard navigation: "Arrow" and "tab" navigation has been improved, since Google Play apps on Chrome OS make using keyboard navigation more prevalent. This will be a welcome update for those using a keyboard as their input device.
We will keep you updated on what we find in the developer preview, so check back soon. What features would you like to see in the next Android version? Will you be flashing the developer preview?