Android O is now official. Google today released the first developer builds for the major update of its mobile operating system for Nexus and Pixel devices which you can download right away (flashing instructions). While it largely features behind-the-scenes improvements and fixes for rough edges Google left with Nougat, there are numerous tiny, yet significant additions you should also know about. Here, we discuss eight of those.
Better Bluetooth Audio
Google, in partnership with Sony, has substantially elevated audio quality over Bluetooth with Android O. It now supports Sony’s LDAC wireless audio coding tech which, in layman’s terms, means the music transmitted to compatible Bluetooth devices will be much closer to its original quality. This is something Sony has been including in its own smartphones, however, it’s nice to see that Google is making it natively available to everyone. Perhaps, this will act as a catalyst in their decision of axing the headphone jack.
Developers will be able to implement more dynamic icons with Android O. If you are already using Android Nougat, you might have noticed the Calendar app’s icon changes every day based on the date. Now, Google has made dedicated APIs so that more applications can utilize them.
Wide-Gamut Color for Apps
Imaging apps on Android O will be able to display better and more accurate colors on devices with wider color gamut capable displays. This obviously, won’t impact a lot of devices, but it’s still a neat and long-overdue inclusion.
Default Password Manager
Just like configuring third-party keyboards, you can select the password manager of your choice as the default option on Android O too. Currently, you’re limited to Google’s own Smart Lock while browsing, but with Android O, for instance, you will be able to set Dashlane instead.
Swiping with Fingerprint Sensor
Android O comes with an accessibility tweak while lets you perform directional swipes (up, down, left, and right) using your phone’s fingerprint sensor. I’ve been personally waiting for such feature as the Google Pixel and Nexus phones already support for swipe gestures for revealing the notification shade. It’s nice to see Google addressing user demands (not directly, but still) with updates now.
Navigation Bar Customization
Google borrowed the ability to customize the navigation bar from custom ROMs with Android O. This includes settings for the spacing, extra buttons and more. You can, for example, shift the entire row to the left for better handling or add a shortcut for the clipboard.
Google finally, FINALLY added the option for snoozing any particular notification so that you can revisit them at a later time. This has to one of the most anticipated features of Android. On Android O, you will have specific options for snoozing a notification for a time period. Earlier, developers had to manually implement this option for users.
Icons on Android O’s launcher will, by default, support notification badges. This feature has been available on third-party launchers for ages, it’s bewildering what took Google so long to bring this to their own.
That’s it, those were some of the nifty new features Android O comes with. In case you own a supported device and want to try them out, head over to this guide for installation instructions.