Well folks it’s here, Android 8 aka Oreo and leave it to Google to link a product announcement to a astronomical phenomena. Although implied otherwise for Andoid Oreo, as far as I know the Oreo cookie doesn’t have any super powers other than its popularity. For those who are curious, the Oreo cookie was born in 1912 and was often referred to as a biscuit until 1921 when it was called a sandwich. Today we just call it an Oreo and many like to consume it with a dairy product such as milk or ice cream. How many different flavors have there been over the years? As it turns out, many. The following are some of the more obscure.
- Banana split
- Berry burst ice cream
- Birthday cake
- Candy cane
- Candy corn
- Caramel apple
- Cookie dough
Getting back to the announce of today, as expected Google is stating Oreo is the best Android yet.
This the world we live in today. We are all guilty of sitting in front of a TV with a smartphone in hand surfing the web as we watch our favorite program. Picture-in-picture brings the experience to the smartphone. With a video chat application like Hangouts, this will be very handy in the circumstance when you need to look something up while chatting.
On some days I feel like I am drowning in notification hell. I want to know what’s going on but I don’t want the constant distraction. I like the idea behind notification dots and it should prove to be very useful.
Autofill and Smart Text Selection
For me the current auto fill is both a blessing and a curse. I like the way it helps me with passwords but it encourages me to be lazy. There is also the circumstance where the inputs are filled with incorrect information which can be frustrating if not corrected before submission. I am looking forward to improvements in this area. Without a doubt selecting text on your phone can be challenging. Oreo will try to learn your double tap habits and to adjust to make this a better experience.
Google Play Protect
Nothing is more frustrating than discovering your device has been compromised by some app downloaded from the Play Store. Google is responding to that frustration with Play Protect which continuously works to keep your device, data and apps safe. It is always on duty and is constantly improving (aka AI) to make sure you have the latest in mobile security. Your device is automatically scanned around the clock so you can rest easy.
Performance is a two sided coin. On the one side is hardware, the other is software optimisations. Google spoke to this as Vitals at Google I/O. Android vitals is a Google initiative to improve the stability and performance of Android devices. Included in this initiative in the order of importance to me are:
- battery life
- startup time
Google – Get started on your favorite tasks more quickly with 2x the boot speed when powering up
It should not surprise you to learn whenever an app runs in the background it consumes device resources like CPU cycles and RAM. Stacked like firewood, background apps will degrade foreground apps resulting in a slow user experience. Number one recommendation when performance becomes an issue, check background app activity. To address this issue Android Oreo imposes limitations on what apps can do while running in the background.
Another big change is the improvement of keyboard navigation. A growing trend is more users are navigating to apps using a physical keyboard courtesy the arrival of the Play Store on Chrome OS.
Thank you! This improvement highlights Google’s desire to better integrate Android on the Chrome OS desktop and presents a clue to the direction this is going.
Rumors continue to persist Google will release a totally new OS as soon as this fall with full Android integration but I find this scenario highly unlikely.
Google – In Android O, we are focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for ‘arrow’ and ‘tab’ navigation that aids both developers and end users.
On compatible devices running Oreo, Wi-Fi Aware provides the ability to discover and connect directly to each other without any other type of connectivity between them such as a Wi-Fi Access Point or Cellular. Wi-Fi Aware is also known as Neighbor Awareness Networking or NAN. How will this be used? Chromecast and Google Home are products which come to mind.
Support for wider color gamuts
As a consumer I certain want my smartphone to vividly display colors, but traditionally this feature is targeted to professional photography and video. For these folks knowing what colors your display can accurately reproduce is hugely important, and equally important is knowing exactly which color profiles it’s capable of representing. To date, supporting color profiles in Android has largely been incumbent upon device manufacturers and chip vendors, meaning there was no one solution for figuring out which profiles a device could display. I am not a professional photographer or videographer, but accurately previewing photos I intend to take or videos I intend to record would be great.
I will openly admit I am not a geeky smartphone user craving the latest gadgetry and for the most part Nougat meets my needs. From an everyday use perspective, extending battery life is the top of my list. I am skeptical Oreo in itself will lure over iPhone users and will prevent someone from moving to an iPhone if they like the Apple ecosystem and accept the costs of living there; but for those who live in the Google ecosystem it should be a welcomed update. Google stated Oreo will hit Pixel and Nexus devices “soon”. What does soon mean? If history repeats itself, within the next thirty to sixty days. It is anticipated the new Pixel 2 coming this October will release with Oreo and other devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 will upgrade as soon as carrier certification is complete and addons are integrated. I’ll let you know when it arrives on my Pixel XL.