The eighth version of Android, which was officially announced as Oreo last month, has started its rollout onto stock Android devices and flagship smartphones. As more devices are due for a version upgrade in the coming months, here are eight new features and updates to know about Oreo.
One of the more readily visible additions to Oreo, picture-in-picture lets users minimise certain apps that continue running as a small window overlaid on top of the home screen or other open apps.
So far, apps that support this are Maps, YouTube and Google's Duo video-calling app, with more third-party apps like WhatsApp and Netflix on the cards for support. This way, users who are using Maps for navigation, for example, can still have ongoing directions even in the midst of checking other apps.
Sometimes important notifications - texts, calls, e-mails - come in at inopportune times and clog up your notification bar, but you might not want to swipe them aside lest you forget about them.
Oreo now lets users snooze such notifications for up to 2hr by swiping gently to the right and hitting the clock icon. This way, important notifications will rise to your attention once again, ensuring you don't miss them.
APP NOTIFICATION DOTS
Oreo users will now be able tell which apps have new notifications with a glance at their home screen, as apps icons will display a dot on top when there's an unread notification. Long-pressing the icon will then give a preview through a speech-like bubble.
SMART TEXT SELECT
Ever been sent a phone number or address through a text message that you wanted to save, but had to go through several steps to do so? A new smart text select feature means Oreo recognises phone numbers and addresses, and intelligently gives more options when those are selected.
Highlighting a phone number, for example, will produce a Phone icon next to the usual Cut/Copy/Format options, which you can then press to automatically redirect to the phone app with that number all keyed in for saving or calling.
Similarly, highlighting an address generates a Map icon that you can hit to immediately bring you to the Maps app with that location keyed in and ready for navigation.
SYSTEM-WIDE PASSWORD AUTO-FILL
Previously, Android let you save your passwords into a master list which it then used for logging into websites through the Chrome browser. In Oreo, this list extends to apps as well, minimising the number of passwords you have to remember.
Goodbye blobs, hello round emojis. Possibly one of the more contentious changes to arrive on Oreo, the unique, familiar-looking blobs that Android users have been using for years will make room for flatter, rounder emojis.
On the plus side, Oreo will include 69 new emojis, which broadens the ways users can express their feelings. No more typing "head explodes" when feeling frustrated when there's a brand-new exploding-head emoji ready at your fingertips.
MORE GRANULAR BATTERY STATS
Oreo will now give users a breakdown of key battery stats per app, which might be useful to figure out which app is draining your battery even when running in the background.
The system now also imposes automatic limits on app background activities, leading to more power savings and longer battery life.
HIGH-QUALITY BLUETOOTH SUPPORT
As the future of the 3.5mm headphone jack looks precariously uncertain, wireless standards like Bluetooth have to match up. Oreo provides support for high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC and AAudio, which lets users stream high-quality audio files without losing detail or information.