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  1. Hardware
March 22, 2017

Android O Preview drops for developers, offers better battery life and notifications

The new Android O developer preview targets better battery life and notification channels for apps.

By Hannah Williams

Google has rolled-out the first developer preview of its new Android O mobile operating system, just about a year after it launched its Android Nougat.

According to Google, the new OS does not currently have many features but more have been promised in the not-so-distant future.

This will include a wide selection of new features and APIs that can be used in apps, making the limits more transparent for developers.

Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Google 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.”

In order to do this, Google added additional automatic limits to what apps can do in the background in three main areas; implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.

Read more: Android Nougat vs iOS 10: Which mobile OS is more enterprise-ready?

The addition of these changes will make it easier to create apps which have minimal impact ona user’s device and battery.

Android OThe developer preview also sees Google introduce notification channels, which are formed of new app-defined categories for notification content.

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This enables developers to provide users with control over different kinds of notifications, allowing them to change the behaviour of each channel individually, as opposed to managing all the apps notifications together.

Android O also includes new visuals and grouping to notifications to make it easier for users to see what is going on when incoming messages appear.

The Autofill APIs provides users with the option to select an app similar to the way they would select a keyboard app, but with the autofill app user data such as addresses, user names and passwords are stored securely. There will also be an addition of new APIs for apps that are deployed to implement an Autofill service.

Other features includes Picture in Picture (PIP) display for handsets and new windowing features, Font resources in XML, Adaptive icons, Connectivity, Keyboard navigation, Web view enhancements and many more.

Google has confirmed that it will be releasing updated developer previews over the course of several months, and is to provide more information relating to Android at its Google I/O in May.

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