Android O Beta Announced – System Images Posted Online (Nexus Player Image Available!)

It’s that time of the year again! Google has posted the first details about Android O. What does O stand for? Orange? Oatmeal? Oreo? These are all words.

What did they add in? Taking a look at the API details page, there’s actually a lot of new changes. Snoozing notifications! PiP Arguments! Font resources! Adaptive launcher icons! Wi-Fi aware! Companion Device Pairing! WebView APIs! There’s not a lot of hot features, but a lot of really cool stuff under the hood for developers. I look forward to diving deep into the new features with everyone in the coming days.

What’s New?

Here’s a few highlighted features:

  • Background processes are getting heavily throttled, at least on phones, in order to save on battery life. It seems to be an extension of Doze, which already does battery management. This may not have an impact when the device is plugged in, but it could also be a major change to how services run in general
  • Notification Channels lets apps categorize several different types of notifications. If you like when Facebook gives you comments, but dislike their “Looking Back” notifications, you could disable one while keeping the other. (In our example, Facebook would actually need to update their app.)
  • Android TV added Picture-in-Picture back in Nougat, but now that feature is available to all devices. Mobile users can throw a video to the side of the screen anywhere while running other apps like a newsreader or web browser.
  • Adaptive icons lets launchers select icons dynamically. Your calendar app can have the current date in its icon. There’s plenty of small value-added changes that can be here.
  • Font resources allows developers to very easily add custom fonts to their app

There’s plenty more to delve into, with quick highlights, more detailed feature pages, and code samples. The development team seems to have done a good job of thoroughly explaining everything. Things will definitely change between each update, and those differences will likely be documented as well.

How do I get it?

The first system images are now available on their site. You can go there to download the image and flash your device. It will not come as an OTA update even if you’re in the beta program. They plan four updates overall before publishing the final in the fall. The next will be in the middle of May, coincidentally during Google I/O.

The Nexus Player does have a system image, although the actual TV-specific changes are not clear at the moment. We’ll continue to let you know what we find out.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker) Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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  • Craig

    Wow! I’m shocked the Nexus Player is getting “O” release? Just didn’t think it would, being so old. But then? It is Google’s only Android TV device and it’s not like they have another one to release immediately…so I guess it makes sense they would keep it going for a while longer. Here’s hoping Xiaomi & Nvidia get “O” release out fairly quickly too!

    • Kawshik Ahmed

      Google is able to support this device so long because it uses an Intel CPU. Qualcom doesn’t update their driver after two years so Google doesn’t support Phones and Tablets after 2 years also but Nexus Player don’t have that problem.

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