What can we expect in the next Android update?

iStock credit: diego_cervo

Android is continuing to go head-to-head with Apple's iOS in the operating system market, and it’s latest update is set to include some groundbreaking features. 

Entitled Android O, the finer details of the system are yet to be released, but we have a general understanding of what can be expected thanks to an open beta. 

This trial is exclusively available on Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5C and Pixel C but, even if you don’t own any of these devices, here is a rundown of some of the top features. 

1. Picture-in-Picture mode

This mode will allow users to utilise two apps at the same time, with one sitting on top of the other. 

Such an approach makes multi-tasking far easier than it has been before. For example, if you wanted to watch a YouTube video while contributing to your WhatsApp group, you can do so. 

While relatively minor, this update will give Android similar functionality to desktops and create new possibilities for users who are perhaps struggling for time. 

2. Options to restrict background activities

Battery life is an area where consumers are always looking to see improvements. 

While smartphones continue to introduce new technology into the palm of their hands, the battery life of handsets often struggles to keep up with modern trends. 

With this in mind, Android O’s plans to save power by de-prioritising apps operating in the background could be hugely popular and potentially provide a few extra hours of life. 

3. Improved audio 

The new update will include support for LDAC, which is Sony’s hi-res Bluetooth audio codec.  

As apps like Spotifym YouTube and Netflix become increasingly popular, audio quality is a vital consideration for consumers and this news could be a difference maker. 

It will also be positive news for audio buffs, who will no doubt want to use the latest wireless headphones with their handsets.  

4. Usability improvements to the camera

To make the camera app easier to use, some usability tweaks have been introduced. 

Firstly, double tapping now zooms in 50 per cent, while a dedicated button means you can switch between photo and videos more quickly. 

While these changes are relatively trial, it looks as if they will make taking photos and recording videos easier than ever before. 

5. New emojis

Emojis are everywhere these days and have almost become a second language – there is even an Emoji movie coming out!

Whether you like them or not, these colourful icons are unlikely to go away any time soon and Android have taken advantage by introducing some new additions on Android O. 

6. Smaller settings menu 

The settings menu of Android O has been condensed and does not include umbrella categories such as wireless and networks, device, personal and system.

Visually, the menu has undergone significant changes, with new battery and storage sections, and it is possible to change visuals from dark to light. 

7. Notification channels

To help users manage their notifications, it is possible to arrange them into specific groups.

For example, preferences can be changed so alerts only appear for notifications on Twitter rather than followers. These can be altered by simply long-pressing a notification or entering the settings menu. 

8. Quicker boot times

Android O is expected to load up far more quickly than previous operating systems, allowing users to access their apps faster and more efficiently.