It’s taken a while (Android 8.1.0 is already available in Developer Preview) but here at Cedaro we finally feel it’s time to shout about Android’s latest OS version, Android 8.0.0; also known as Oreo after the American cookie (biscuit?)
Unlike KitKat (4.4) there seem to be no advertising tie-ins this time round, in fact there are no links whatsoever to the layered, chocolately biscuit. Just a newer version of the Operating System that includes the below:
- Project Treble
- Picture-in-picture support
- System wide auto-fill
- Notification improvements
- Battery saving improvements
The big change in 8.0.0 is Project Treble; it’s an invisible change to most users but one that may have the biggest impact to the OS in years. Android fragmentation has long been a thorn in the side of developers and consumers alike; if you’ve never heard of it, it’s a phrase used to describe the multiple and varied versions of Android that are out in the wild.
Project Treble aims to alleviate this issue by making the OS code separate from the that of the silicon vendors (Qualcomm, MediaTek etc.) this means manufacturers can update to the latest version of Android without having to amend large chunks of vendor code; basically making it cheaper and easier to push Android updates to your device.
Picture-in-picture – Video
This allows you to continue watching a video (or navigating via Maps) in a small window anywhere on your screen whilst interacting with another part of the OS or another program; great if you start watching something then decide you need to look at your calendar or check an email.
Auto-Fill – Video
This is a feature I’ve used extensively since installing Oreo, auto-fill can now be used anywhere in the OS, including apps. System-wide auto fill is a lifesaver when you get a new phone or have to factory reset. All your backed up apps can pretty much log themselves in and your device is almost as it was before resetting.
Notifications – Video
This is probably the biggest aesthetic change – notifications have been tweaked all over the OS. Oreo supports Notification Badges and Notification Channels. Ther is also a section of the notification shade reserved for “BTW” notifications so less important notifications are smaller and require a tap to expand them, they also find themselves at the bottom of the shade whereas important ones climb to the top. You can also snooze notifications natively, so any notification, from any app can be set to return in 15, 30, 60 or 120 minutes.
Android now limits all apps that target 8.0 (API level 26) from running in the background, meaning your phone’s battery cannot be destroyed by a rogue app that is misbehaving in the background without your knowledge. There are also other changes to broadcast listeners meaning apps cannot wake up when certain actions occur – all this leads to better battery life which we all want!
I’ve been running 8.0.0 on my Pixel since the Developer Previews and I have to say it is another good step forward – there are no glaringly obvious visual changes to make you jump up and say “Wow!” but the overall level of completeness and polish is now very high. Check your phone in the next few months to see if you can update to Oreo!