Google releases developer preview of Android O

Google releases developer preview of Android O [Image: xijian via iStock]

Google has released a developer preview of its upcoming version of the Android operating system, currently known as O as it follows the alphabetical naming system favoured by the company.

The major focus for the next version of Android will be battery life. Google will do this by limiting the amount of power background apps can use. It has also introduced more user control over notifications.

Android O will include notification channels, which are new app-defined categories for notifications. The channels will let developers give users more control over different types of notifications. Users will also be able to block or change the behaviour of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app's notifications together.

Dave Burke, vice-president of engineering at Android, said: “Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user's battery life and the device's interactive performance. To make this possible, we've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”

He explained that these changes will make it easier for developers to create apps that have a “minimal impact” on a device and its battery life. According to Mr Burke, background limits will represent a “significant change in Android”.

Android O will also provide platform support for autofill. The operating system already gives users a range of password managers for autofill, which makes setting up new apps or making transactions easier. Users will be able to select an autofill app, which will store and secure user data, including addresses, user names and passwords.

Developers will also be able to create adaptive icons that the system displays in different shapes, which will be based on a mask selected by the device. The system will also animate interactions with the icons and use them in the launcher, shortcuts, settings and in the overview screen.