Android 8.0 Oreo: New features, release date and supported smartphones

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Android 8.0 ‘Oreo’

Android 8.0 is here. And it’s called Oreo. Check out top 8 features of Android’s latest iteration.

It’s official. Android’s next iteration is called ‘Oreo’. After months of teasing, we finally have an answer: Android 8.0 is officially Oreo. Not octopus, nor oatmeal cookie (thank goodness). We can now rest until the hype starts again next year.

Google officially released the next iteration of its Android OS Android 8.0 on 21 August. The launch event took place during the first total solar eclipse in the US since 1917 and it was conducted through a live stream. In any case, as rumored earlier, Android 8.0 is now officially called Oreo.

Android 8.0 Oreo

Availability

As per the tradition, Google’s latest update will be available to select devices initially. Here’s what Google said on its blog, “We’re pushing the sources to Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to access today. Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds have entered carrier testing, and we expect to start rolling out in phases soon, alongside Pixel C and Nexus Player.”

Better performance

With Android 8.0 Oreo, users can expect a much faster experience on Android. Google says the new iteration significantly reduces the boot time. Google has also worked to optimize performance for apps that run in the background apps all the time. The company is encouraging developers to use its new tools that ensure background-running apps don’t hamper the overall performance.

Picture-in-Picture

The feature essentially allows users to watch videos on the device while using any other app. This is similar to the floating bubble of Facebook Messenger for Android. It is worth pointing out that the OEMs like Samsung and several third-party apps already offer a similar feature but a native support means a much-improved user experience.

Improved notifications

Google now gives you more options to customize notifications. For an example, you can snooze notifications and respond at a time that is suitable to you. Users can check out the missed notifications by tapping on the notification dots that appear on an app. This eventually does away with the need to swipe the drop-down menu to check missed notifications. Also, users can preview more content from notifications before actually entering the app.

Android 8.0 is officially nicknamed Oreo!

Emojis get better

Emojis on Android will now look much similar to what they appear on Apple’s iOS. Earlier, Google used “Blob faced emojis.” With Android 8.0, Google has announced full compatibility with Emoji 5.0, which comes with a slew of new emojis such as orange heart, dinosaurs and vomit face. You can check out the complete list of emojis under Emoji 5.0 here.

Emojis are now more rounded smiley shape (Google)

Bluetooth 5

One of the biggest features in Android O is support for Bluetooth 5.0. Even though the latest generation Bluetooth isn’t widely available, but we expect more phones to come with much faster Bluetooth 5.0. Users can expect data transfer speeds to increase by four times as compared to the previous generation of Bluetooth. This essentially will pave way for much efficient parity with Bluetooth connected devices like headphones or any other IoT product.

Fingerprint gestures

A lot of OEMs allow users to do a lot more things like taking selfies and navigating the UI with the fingerprint scanner besides unlocking/locking the smartphone. Android O now allows developers to include native fingerprint-based gesture controls.

Autofill Framework

Android O comes with Google’s Autofill Framework which enables autofill data like credit card number or addresses within in apps. Until now, autofill feature has been restricted to web users mostly. The autofill framework also allows users to customise how their data should be filled within certain apps.

Smarter Wi-Fi

A lot of users turn off Wi-Fi in order to save battery or avoid connecting to an insecure network. Android O solves this problem by allowing users to turn on/off Wi-Fi depending on your location. So, if you only connect to Wi-Fi in office and work, you can set Wi-Fi to turn on at these two locations. This will save your time on manually switching on and switching off Wi-Fi all the time.

The big improvements

If Android Oreo only had Picture-in-Picture, AutoFill, Wi-Fi Aware, multi-display support and smart sharing then that would already be more than enough for it to trump Android Nougat in the “which version is better” game, but there is plenty more!

One of the most obvious changes for end users is the way Android Oreo handles notifications. For a full rundown of how it works now, please read:

  • How Oreo is better than Nougat: Notifications (coming soon)

Another big change in Oreo is to the way Android handles background tasks. The changes are designed to limit what background tasks can do and so improve battery life. You can read all the gory details here:

  • How Oreo is better than Nougat: Background Execution Limits (coming soon)

Next up are the improvements to Android’s audio subsystems. There are two main changes here: First, the support for additional Bluetooth codecs. Second, changes to how Android handles audio focus. You can read the full explanation here:

  • How Oreo is better than Nougat: Audio (coming soon)

If words like “kerning” meaning nothing to you, then the new support for Downloadable Fonts probably won’t get you too animated, however it is an important advancement for Android, reducing app file sizes in the process. Adaptive launcher icons are another subtle but valuable change which will bring a lot more consistency to Android. You can find out more here:

  • How Oreo is better than Nougat: Downloadable fonts and adaptive icons (coming soon)

Finally, it is worth taking a deeper look at Android Oreo’s support for Bluetooth 5:

  • How Oreo is better than Nougat: Bluetooth 5 (coming soon)


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