Here are top features you should be happy about

Allan Goodman
April 5, 2017

This is the second year in a row Google has quietly rolled out a big new Android update, doing the same thing last March with Android N.

It's that time of year again; time for Google to get the ball rolling for the next generation of its Android operating system.

Now what the "O" stands for is still anyone's guess, and as for the version number, we can only assume it will be Android 8.0, at least for now but we'll keep our eyes peeled anyway.

In its developer notes, Google warns that the dev build is still a bit shaky, saying: "it's early days, there are more features coming, and there's still plenty of stabilisation and performance work ahead of us".

Other than its new features, speculation is rife about the new dessert's name that, presumably, begins with "O". You're going to need to download the system image for Android O and sideload it onto your device if you want to try the preview, though.

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This will be followed by DP3 in June, which will offer final APIs, the official SDK, and Play publishing, which means that if you're building an app targeted at Android O, you'll be able to submit it to the Play Store.

With O, Google is placing a focus on improving battery life. This feature should make it easier to use apps that autofill fields of information, like password apps.

There are quite a few under the hood enhancements as well, and chief among this is the new limits on background activity.

With Android O users will get adaptive icons on their smartphones. Google has also made some minor tweaks to the keyboard and has included more reliable, predictable models for what "arrow" and "tab" navigation will do. Android O is embedding this feature in its platforms allowing all the apps to put themselves in PIP mode. At the same time, you will also find a different multitasking user interface.

You can download the factory image for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus Player from Google's developer portal right now, but keep in mind that these previews are not meant to be used by regular consumers.

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