It has been released by Google’s Android on their new OS 8.0 Oreo, which has release the full of fresh new features and flavors. This detailed (and delightfully creamy!) FAQ has everything you need to know.
Google’s latest and greatest Android software is finally upon us. Android 8.0, aka Oreo, is officially named, numbered and on its way into the world — and that means many-an-Android-phone-owner is gonna be battling some serious cookie cravings in the weeks to come. So what’s Oreo all about? And what’ll it mean for you? Grab a glass of milk and get cozy: Here are answers to all of your burning questions.
So what What are the new features in Android 8.0?
Well, we’re certainly eager beavers, aren’t we? (Beavers really love Oreos. C’mon — don’t tell me you didn’t already know that.)
Not to fear, my dear: We’ll get right to the good stuff. I’d say Oreo has three real “headline features” that you are bound to notice — or perhaps will just want to notice — first:
1. Picture-in-picture mode
2. Native auto-fill functionality
3. Notification and widget access within home screen icons
4. Notification snoozing
5. Smarter Wi-Fi toggling
6. Smart text selection
7. Smarter sound selection
1. Picture-in-picture mode
I know, I know: Android’s had a native split-screen function since last year’s Nougat release (and third-party manufacturers have been baking that ability into their own software for even longer). But honestly, how often do you actually use that — especially when you’re on a smaller-screened device?
Android Oreo expands the platform’s multitasking capabilities with something called picture-in-picture mode. With phones in particular, it’s a much less space-consuming and interface-interrupting way of viewing multiple things on your screen at once — though it really only applies to a specific sort of full-screen-oriented task.
The way it works is pretty thought-free and automatic: Imagine you’re watching an important professional development video in YouTube (because that’s the only type of video you’d ever watch from your work phone, obviously) — and you decide you want to send a message to someone or go look something up in Chrome without stopping playback.
Just hit your Home or Overview key, and bam: The video will shrink down into a small floating box over your home screen or recent apps list, and you can go about your other business while continuing to watch. Open any other app you want, and the floating box will remain in place. You can even drag it around the screen to position it wherever you like. Tap it, and you’ll get a set of playback controls along with a button to bring it back into a regular full-screen view within its own app. Want the box to go away altogether? Just fling it toward the bottom of your screen to dismiss it.
The inevitable asterisk: Android Oreo’s picture-in-picture mode will work only in areas where an app’s developer explicitly decides to support it. For now, it’s available in a relatively small number of titles — apps like YouTube (with an active Play Music/YouTube Red subscription), Google Play Movies (in theory, though it isn’t yet working there for me) as well as Chrome (when you’re playing a video from a web page in a full-screen view) and WhatsApp (when you’re engaged in a video call).
Google Maps has picture-in-picture support available for navigation, meanwhile, though it works only in the beta version of the app as of this writing. And Google Duo supports the feature wholeheartedly, but — well, y’know.
Other apps, including Netflix, are said to have picture-in-picture support in the works and on the way soon.
2. Native auto-fill functionality
Oreo makes it easier than ever to stay signed to various services through Android.
How? Good question, my fellow cookie connoisseur. Android 8.0 makes it happen on two different fronts: First, Google’s own Smart Lock for Passwords system sends out near-instant suggestions for signing into accounts within apps — so if you’ve saved your Twitter credentials in Chrome, for instance, and then try to sign into the Twitter app on your phone, the system will prompt you to fill in your username and password with a single tap.
Second, if you use a password management service like Dashlane, 1Password or LastPass, you’ll be able to use said service to sign into accounts all throughout your device without the need for any awkward pop-ups or back-and-forth authorization (which is how most of those services have managed to make things work thus far). You can see a demo of the difference at the blog of Dashlane, which has already integrated the feature into its app.
It’ll be up to each service to support the Oreo-level auto-fill feature, but most of the other big names (including LastPass, 1Password and Enpass) have already committed to doing so in the foreseeable future, and some have already rolled out beta-level integration.
3. Android Oreo adds the native ability for launchers to show you all sorts of contextual info when you long-press an icon on your home screen. If the associated app has any notifications pending, you’ll see them right then and there (and can even swipe them away to dismiss them) — and if it has any widgets available, you’ll be able to pull them up and place them on your home screen by tapping a little icon right in that very panel.
4. Notification snoozing
If you ask me, this may be Android Oreo’s most useful and impressive new element: the software’s newfound ability to snooze notifications — something I’ve been clamoring for ever since I got accustomed the idea of snoozing things in Google’s Inbox app.
The way it works with notifications is simple (though, fitting with recent trends, you might not ever be aware of it if you didn’t know where to look): You just swipe any notification slightly to either side and then tap the newly added clock icon that appears in that area.
By default, the system will snooze your notification for an hour when you hit that clock icon, but you can tap a little down-arrow next to the confirmation dialog and select to snooze for 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 hours instead.
Whenever the amount of time you chose has elapsed, the notification will reappear as if it were new. It’s essentially a built-in “remind me later” function — and it’s never more than a swipe away.
Hang on, Charlie: Doesn’t Oreo have some other new notification panel features?
Indeed — you are correct! I always knew you were one sharp cookie. (Pardon the implicit Oreo pun. And please, don’t call me Charlie.)
Android Oreo actually introduces several noteworthy notification improvements beyond just the aforementioned snoozing. The biggest is something called notification channels. It’s kinda confusing, but the gist of it is that apps can separate all the different types of notifications they generate into different channels — and you can then subscribe or unsubscribe from any individual channels instead of only being able to turn all of an app’s notifications on or off.
This is best illustrated by example. When you long-press a notification from Google Maps in Android 8.0, you’ll see something like this:
That’s telling you the notification you received falls into Maps’ “Navigation” channel. Tap that “All Categories” link, and you’ll see a slew of other channels for the app’s various types of alerts:
If, say, you want to get Maps’ notifications about navigation-related matters but don’t want to get its notifications about new and popular places, you can turn off or even customize alerts for the latter without affecting the former (or anything else). In previous versions of Android, it was an all-or-nothing choice.
The catch, of course, is that notification channels are available only for apps that have taken the time and effort to support the feature — so it’s still a pretty limited-scale thing, and practically speaking, it isn’t gonna do a heck of a lot for you at the moment. But it’ll be interesting to see how it develops over time, particularly for us power-user folk who are inclined to actually tinker with something so intricate.
Beyond that, Oreo has a new smaller format for lower-priority notifications — things that are proactively informative but don’t necessarily demand your immediate attention. Those types of alerts now appear in a collapsed-down form when other more pressing notifications are present, and they expand only if you tap ’em
And the 8.0 release provides system-level support for notification badges on home screen icons.
I wold be getting back to you with the other discretion to the new features on the new Google’s Android which has made it a unique OS.