The Android O preview build is currently only intended for software developers
The Android O preview build is currently only intended for software developers

Android O: First look at Google's new phone features

The new operating system will soon be named after a sweet treat

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 22 March 2017 12:06

Google has launched the developer preview of the next version of Android, giving us our first glimpse into the future of its mobile software.

Currently called Android O – and soon to be named after a sweet treat beginning with the letter O – it follows Nougat, Marshmallow and Lollipop.

Google hasn’t mentioned any major design changes, with its first Android O reveal instead focusing on the tweaks it has in store for a selection of the operating system’s core features.

Arguably the most notable announcement concerns battery life. Google wants to improve it by limiting the activity of apps running in the background, and has named three particular areas of focus: implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.

Similar functionality came to Google Chrome recently, with the latest version of the browser reworked to automatically throttle individual background tabs.

It’s also making changes to notifications. Users will be able to snooze notifications when they want to, which could come in handy for meetings and naps.

They’ll also be able to group notifications by channel. It appears that O will offer greater control over the types of notification they receive from apps, allowing users to filter by subject matter – football and technology from a news resource, for instance.

Also coming are picture-in-picture mode for video apps, multi-display support, audio enhancements, adaptive icons and improved keyboard navigation for users running Android apps on Chrome OS.

The Android O preview build is currently only intended for software developers, who can download it to a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C right now.

Google will make a slightly more polished preview version available to regular users soon, but the final build will come out in autumn.

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