Google releases Android Oreo

Google releases Android Oreo [Image: PeopleImages via iStock]

Google has released the latest version of its Android operating system, named Oreo.

It has a number of new features, which have been designed to improve productivity and boost performance. However, it hasn’t seen a major visual overhaul, with the new elements integrated more subtly into apps and the overall user interface.

So what’s new in Android Oreo?

Faster booting

Although faster booting typically comes from hardware, Google announced that Oreo will offer this to all devices it’s installed on. This includes the operating system software and apps, which should make it quicker to get things done.

Picture-in-picture

The new picture-in-picture mode will allow users to switch between apps with a double tap, and run two apps side by side. This means it’s possible to email while reading a document, or watch a video while typing a report.

Notifications

Android Oreo will introduce notification channels, which will bring categories of notifications to apps. This makes it easier to manage and filter different alerts from one app. Users can also choose how they’d like to be alerted for notifications in each of these channels, whether that’s sound, vibration, or LED, or even block notifications from some channels entirely.

Background activities

In an attempt to improve battery life, Android Oreo comes with a power-saving feature that de-prioritises apps running in the background. It builds on the Doze features that were introduced in previous updates to the operating system. It is intended to give users the ability to extend battery life by a couple of hours.

Google devices, namely Nexus and Pixel smartphones, will be the first to receive the update. This is unsurprising given the fact the company is behind both the software and hardware. It is not yet known when other Android devices will be updated.

CNET has confirmed that Samsung, HMD Global (which makes the new Nokia phones), Huawei, HTC and Essential are among the manufacturers that will roll out the update this year. LG have not stated whether their phones will receive Android Oreo.

Geography is also a contributing factor to when a device will receive the update, with some countries seeing it before others. This means there is no guarantee that a newer phone by one of the above manufacturers will have the update soon.