Google had a lot to talk about today at Google I/O, but perhaps the most important product announcement was related to Android O. Android O is the follow-up to Android 7.0 Nougat, and brings many new features to the table for the world’s most popular operating system.
A number of these features have been rolled up into what Google calls “Fluid Experiences”. These include Picture-in-Picture, Autofill with Google, and Smart Text Selection. On that latter feature, tapping on just one part of the name of a business, for example, will highlight the whole name. So, let’s say that you have an email which details a business named “The Good Company”. Tapping on “Good” would select the entire phrase: “The Good Company”. That same helpful selection tool extends to addresses (which will automatically provide Maps toggles when selected) and phone numbers.
“Vitals” is primarily tasked with keeping battery life, device security and overall system performance in check, which can be an issue when you have rogue apps running in the background. Google Play Protect works in the app store to screen apps for malicious content, stopping them before they are even downloaded to your device. Google is aiming to cut boot times in half with Android O, and all apps should get a noticeable speed boost just by upgrading to the new operating system.
Android product manager Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson also notes that Android O will place limits on background location activity and overall app usage to help conserve your battery throughout the day. All of this is of course in addition to the functionality that we discussed when the first Android O Developer Preview was released in March.
The second Android O Developer Preview, which has moved over to the beta branch, is now available for download. Unless you’re a developer, you probably don’t want to install this early build on your “go to” smartphone that you use every day. Even then, the beta is only supported on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C.