Google details Android O developer preview

Google has announced the beginning of the Android O developer preview. Just like it did with Android N, which went on to become Android Nougat, this preview is starting earlier than Android iterations that came before.

Most notable in the new software is its emphasis on efficiency. “Background limits” is a new feature in O and it looks to accomplish for your battery what Data Saver did for your wireless plan bill.

The goal is to make apps, both old and new, less taxing on your battery by making the limits more transparent for developers. If it works well in the final release, this is one of those features that could be big for supported devices.

Next up is picture-in-picture (PIP), which is rather self-explanatory. This allows users to continue watching a video while executing a totally different task. It’s an extension of the split window feature, but lets you get a full view so that multitasking offers more immersion and less compromise.

Notifications are also receiving some useful updates. Many will find it useful that notifications can be snoozed for a later time and the background color of each type is adjustable so that you know what's what at a glance.

What else is new?

As we move into the 3.5mm-less future (sadness), Google is one step ahead in Android O with support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec. It was created by Sony and although we've yet to see the codec blossom outside of that company's own lineup of audio products, it definitely has potential to do so. (Enough so for Google to implement it in O, at least.)

Though most of what the first Android O dev preview has to offer is, unsurprisingly, angled toward developers, there are a few other tidbits to get consumers excited.

Google has introduced adaptive icons for OEMs to use in Android O in hopes of achieving greater consistency in the visual look of all app icons from the Play Store.

This new update in the back-end also adds animation support to all app icons. If developers have adopted the template, it will give a little happy jiggle when you interact with it.

Of the new things we do know about Android O, what we don't know is what it will be called. Oreo? Orbit? Orange? We might have to wait until Google IO 2017 to find out.

The first developer preview is likely to be very unstable and is targeted, in Google's words, towards developers only. As such, you won't get the OTA update for O through Android Beta Program. You'll have to do everything manually.

Download it here at your own risk.

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