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    March 24, 2017

    Android O promises better battery life and smarter notifications

    Android O Developer Preview

    Google has officially released the Android O Developer Preview, which introduces utilities to manage smartphone battery life more effectively.

    We’re only just starting to get our hands on smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat in South Africa, but the rest of the world keeps on marching forward – and now Google has released the first developer preview of its next mobile OS update, Android O.

    While O doesn’t have an official name yet – Oreo, anyone? – the update has arrived with two early sets of promises; the first is the continued refinement of how Android handsets manage performance and battery life, and the second is tweaked notification support.

    Read: Gboard for Android now lets you translate text messages on-the-fly

    The first premise is sure to grab your attention. Google has clarified that it will continue to aggressively manage how Android apps make use of the system in the background – the company’s Android VP of Engineering, Dave Burke, cited that “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.”

    The release of the developer preview will enable developers to refine their applications ahead of the update’s launch. The second change developers will wish to get behind is the ability to group notifications into ‘channels’, where they can be digested together instead of one-by-one.

    The idea is to promote different levels of priority in Android’s notification center – for instance, apps might be able to offer high priority alerts versus advertisements and, subsequently, users can opt in for specific alerts from Android’s settings menu.

    Other small additions include the ability to snooze notifications,   improved sound quality though new Bluetooth audio codecs, as well as ‘adaptive icons’ which will shift depending on what home screen theme a user has selected.

    Further, picture-in-picture support will be included, multi-display support for activities on a remote display, and refined support for keyboard navigation.

    Read: Google Assistant is rolling out to Android 6.0+, but could it come to the iPhone?

    To get started with Android O, developers can download the update and test it on a desktop emulator or onboard the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel C.

    What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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