Google has made available the public beta of Android O, meaning everyone (everyone with a compatible Nexus or Pixel device) can try out the upcoming OS and see the new features ahead of its final release later this summer. Also see: How to watch Google I/O 2017
Android O focuses on ‘fluid experiences’ and vitals, with new features headlining during its first public appearance at Google I/O 2017 including picture in picture (multi-windowing mode), notification dots (long-press an app shortcut to view the notification right there onscreen).
There’s also autofill (like in Chrome but now in apps), and Smart Text Selection (automatically recognises names, addresses and phone numbers so you don’t have to fiddle around with selection handles; it can also suggest a relevant app).
Jump straight to news and rumours on Android O’s release date and find out if your phone will get Android O.
Android O is much more streamlined than Nougat with various OS optimisations. The bottom line, according to Google, is that devices boot twice as fast and all apps run faster and smoother by default.
On the subject of apps Google is also introducing Play Protect, which installs every app on a per-device basis in order to keep things ultra-secure.
O also adds ‘wise limits’ to background processes such as location tracking to sensibly keep battery usage at a reasonable level.
There are many more changes coming to the OS, which weren’t talked about during the keynote, including such things as a redesigned Settings menu and Project Treble – the latter in essence ensuring all users get Android OS updates much faster.
That won’t be any consolation to those waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though, which is all but confirmed to ship with Android 7.1.1. And we all know how long Samsung takes to roll out the next version…
Also see: What is Android Go? and What is Google Lens?
What will the next Android OS be called?
Following Android Alpha and Android Beta, Google has always named its Android OS updates after sweet treats, and in alphabetical order. So far we’ve had Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat.
Google had real difficulty deciding what to call Android N and, in the end, began a naming challenge at Google I/O 2016. That didn’t happen at I/O 2017, which means it probably already knows what it’s going to call Android O.
In 2017 Google will be looking for a sweet treat beginning with O. Trouble is, there really aren’t that many. The Tech Advisor team could come up with Oreo, Orange, Oatcake and Oh! Henry (the latter obviously being our favourite, given this). It could even shake things up entirely and shock us all with something like Android OMG. (We’re joking, but we kind of like it.)
A sign that the upcoming OS could be called Android Oreo was also offered at Google I/O 2017, when the attendees to the US press event were offered Oreo cookies in the press room. However, apparently they were also given out at Google I/O 2016, and at the UK press event THERE WERE NO OREOS. Where were our Oreos?
Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer has been stirring things up on Twitter, seemingly suggesting Android Oreo is the most likely candidate. But is he pulling our leg? Quite possibly, given he has also tweeted an image of Pocky (chocolate cream covered biscuit sticks) with the caption #2018. Also see: Essential Android apps and Best Android games