Google's developer preview of Android O

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 23 March, 2017

Google's developer preview of Android O

Google has released a developer preview of the upcoming Android O update, unveiling a host of new features including picture-in-picture for handsets as well as APIs for high-performance audio.

Android O has been developed based on extensive feedback from app developers and device markers in the Android ecosystem, Google's VP of Engineering for Android Dave Burke said in a blog post. Burke highlighted several new features of the updated OS.

He said Android O supports picture-in-picture display on smartphones and tablets, so that users can continue watching a video while using another app. Apps can put themselves in this mode and specify a video's aspect ratio and set of custom interactions.

To improve audio fidelity, Android O now supports Bluetooth audio codecs, and comes with a new native API designed for apps requiring high-performance, low-latency audio.

To preserve performance and battery life, Google is also introducing additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in the areas of implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.

Android O also introduces app-defined notification channels that users will be able to block individually — rather than having to block all of an app's notifications together. The OS supports several new Java Language APIs and includes APIs for autofill, the interoperability of third-party calling apps and more reliable keyboard navigation.

Elsewhere at the company, Google Maps is introducing new functionality allowing users on both Android and iOS devices to share their location in real time with specific contacts also using Google Maps.

Users will also be able to share their routes and expected time of arrival, and will be able to place a time limit on the sharing of their location or stop sharing at any time.

Google has also recently updated Google Maps to integrate with ride-sharing apps and introduce a new parking location reminder feature.

Another update being rolled out by Google is changing search to allow approved organisations to post their own content directly into Google search results.

Image courtesy Google.

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