Hands-on with Android O

2 min read

The first developer preview of Android O just launched, so we’re taking a quick look at what’s new in the latest version of Android. There’s plenty of new visible changes, but way more that developers will love. So, let’s dive in.

Notification channels

One of the bigger features in Android O is notification channels. Long pressing on a notification allows you to fine-tune notifications from a specific app. This gives users control over specific types of notifications from one app, instead of general controls for the entire app.

There’s also notification snoozing, which allows you to swipe a little to the right or left on a notification and snooze it for 15, 30, or 60 minutes — it’s definitely a neat and useful feature.

App icon badges

Although no apps currently support it, apps will support icon badges, much like iOS. This has been possible through third party apps like Nova Launcher, but having that feature in stock Android is a great benefit.

Adaptive app icons

Apps will also have adaptive app icons, so that data can be displayed on the app icon and regularly change. This is exactly like what the Calendar app has, except now, other apps can support it.

Picture in picture mode

Another exciting feature is picture-in-picture mode. This is so you can keep watching that YouTube video in a separate window while answering a text. There will also be plenty of settings that you can tweak for picture-in-picture mode, such as the aspect ratio and custom interactions.

Redesigned Settings

So far, Android O doesn’t have too many UI tweaks, but the biggest one we’ve noticed is that the settings menu is completely redesigned. Many settings are in a different spot or are grouped differently. Plus, the settings received a new coat of paint as well.

Other changes

There’s plenty of other changes in Android O that developers will love, such as audio enhancements, Autofill APIs, connectivity improvements, and way more.

More Android O developer previews are expected, and Google has even put together a timeline. Developer preview 2 is expected around Google I/O, preview 3 around mid-June, and preview 4mid-Julyy, before the final release in quarter 3.

Final thoughts

Now, this is only the first of several previews, so the software is certainly not stable for daily use. It’s also safe to assume that the feature set is incomplete, so features could be taken away or added. But if you’re desperate to check it out, then you can flash the preview onto your Pixel or Nexus — no over the air updates yet. Android O will be coming to the Nexus 5X, 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL. Sadly, the Nexus 6 and other 2014 devices are being left behind. If you do want to check it out, then links with more information are below!