Android Oreo for Moto Z and Z Force Release Date and Features
The Moto Z flagship arrived with pre-loaded Android Marshmallow in September, 2016 and received the Android Nougat update in early 2017. Moto Z Force was also launched in June 2016 with Marshmallow and upgraded to Android Nougat in December 2016. Recently in some regions, Motorola rolledout the Android 7.1.1 update for Moto Z. The second major update for these flagship devices is Android Oreo.
Google launched the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system on 21st, August, the day of Solar Eclipse with many exclusive features and refinements. The Search giant released four developer previews of Android O prior to the final release. With the Android Oreo update, Moto Z and Z Force are going to get many new features like Picture in Picture mode, Notification channels, Smart Text selection, Notification dots and so on. Now we will roundup some prime improvements and features of Android 8.0 Oreo.
Android Oreo Exclusive Features
1. Performance and Battery Life
Google made numerous performance improvements in Android Oreo. Due to the refinements, Moto Z Force and Z devices will boot twice as fast. Some Pixel and Pixel XL users reported that their device boot times reduced to 15 secs after upgrading to Android 8.0. The Pixel users also reported that apps are loading much faster on Oreo due to improved cache management. Oreo automatically clears the app cache if performance is about to slow down. So apps start in no time and also provide fluid like expereince for users.
Battery life is also refined in Android Oreo due to Background limits and other optimizations. Some Pixel users said that Android 8.0 improves the battery life by about 10-20%. Oreo displays the list of persistent background apps on notification bar. So users can terminate unnecessary app processes easily, consequently battery drain will be reduced.
2. Notification Channels
The Moto Z and Z Force users can get granular control over Notifications through the Android Oreo Notification Channels. So we can specifically choose which type of notifications appears from the app. For example, a news app can only push Tech update notifications when the user chooses that. In messaging apps, notifications from a specific group could be muted. Users can also change the importance and override Do Not Disturbe feature of Notifications.
Users can also snooze notifications in Android Oreo. When a user swipe slightly to left on the notification, the snooze options will appear. User can set any time in 15min, 30min and 1Hour after which the notification reappears with the same priority. In Android 8.0, Notifications appear in different background colours to easily recognize them.
3. Autofill Framework
The Autofill Framework feature of Android Oreo solves a major problem of android users. With this feature, Android Password manager apps can automatically fill the login forms, credit card information, address wherever necessary. Many password manager apps like Lastpass have already been optimized to work with autofill framework.
So with this exclusive feature of Android 8.0, less time is required to fill the forms, as no need to type manually, so no room for any typing mistakes. Users can enable or disable autofill service by going into Settings > System > Languages & input > Advanced > Input assistance > Autofill service. The Autofill feature might be improved further in the Android 9.0 update.
4. Notification Dots
Android Oreo borrowed this exclusive feature from iOS which has been available for iPhone users from a long time. With the Notification Dots feature, apps will display a small blob on top of the icon on homescreen when a fresh notification arrived. If multiple notifications arrived at the same time for the app, then notification count also be displayed in the blob. So this feature is very much useful most of the users. But at this moment the Notification blobs or Dots feature is only works with Pixel Launcher and none of the other launchers supporting it.
The Notification Dots feature comes as disabled by default, so users have to enable before using it. Users can enable it by going into Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications > Allow Notification Dots. To allow Notification access for Pixel launcher : Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > Special App Access > Notification Access and enable Pixel Launcher. After completing these steps, users will be able enjoy the Notification Dots feature on their Pixel launcher home screen.
When the user taps on the blob, a small window with the preview of Notification will be displayed. User can enter into the app by tapping on the Notification Preview on the window or view full notification in the Notification Panel.
5. Picture in Picture (PiP) Mode
Previously, through Android Nougat, Google introduced the split screen window feature which is very much useful while multitasking. Although there are some lags while using multi-window feature it comes handy while doing some serious malti-tasking. But the multi-windows feature wasn’t designed fot video playback apps. So the Search Giant brought PiP feature in Android 8.0 Oreo. The exclusive feature supports many popular video playback apps like Youtube and also video calling apps like Whatsapp and Google Due. The Google Maps app also supports this feature of Android 8.0.
So with Picture in Picture feature, users can talk in a videocall while browsing the web and so on. To use PiP mode, users just have to press the home button while using the supported app. The app will be resized to small and sit st the corner of the screen. The user can also move the window, increase the size of the window and close the window from controls.
But currently, only a handful of apps are supporting the feature like Google Playstore, Google Play Movies and TV, Youtube red, Google Duo and Chrome. App developers may implement the Android Oreo API in their apps in coming days to support the PiP mode.
6. App Background Limits
In every iteration of Android, Google tries something new to improve Battery life. In the Android Oreo update, the Search Giant introduced Background limits for apps to save more battery juice. The app Background limits restrict background services, broadcasts of apps to save memory bandwidth and also Battery. The Background execution limits of Android 8.0 only affect the apps which are idle in the background and they don’t limit apps with visible activity and foreground services etc.
7. New Settings Menu
Previously with Android Nougat, Google partially revamped the Settings menu. Now with Android Oreo, the Search giant completely revamped the Settings menu. The Settings Menu of Android Oreo organized into different Categories to become compact and user friendly. Google also changed the design of the Settings app in Android Oreo. The background of the Settings menu changed to Light grey while the Header text appears in Black color on the gray background.
The new categories of Settings arranged nicely so that we can find any setting option easily. Google removed the slide-out navigation menu. Probably, it is due to the new compact Settings menu.
8. New Bluetooth Audio codecs
Android Oreo contains new Bluetooth audio codecs like LDAC, aptx etc. The options for Bluetooth audio codecs are located in the Developer options. The Moto Z Force and Z users can access them by going into Settings>Developer Options after updating to Oreo. The Bluetooth Audio codecs available in Android Oreo are LDAC, SBC, AAC, aptx and aptx HD. LDAC is the codec from Sony which can transfer data at 990 kbps. aptx and aptx HD are high quality streaming protocols from Qualcomm and aptx HD supports 24-bit music quality over Bluetooth. So these advanced codecs play high quality music over compatible Bluetooth headsets or headphones.
9. Quick Updates
With Android Oreo, Google is trying to make updates “easier, faster and less costly” for device manufacturers. Project Treble is the new solution for slow Android updates. Because of Project treble, manufacturers like Samsung, Sony could send the update directly to their devices without waiting for chip makers like Qualcomm. With a stable vendor interface preloaded on the device, manufacturers could directly release new android updates for their devices by just updating the Android framework. So bootloop and big update size problems also might be solved if Project Treble works in the right way. Project Treble will come to all devices preloaded with Android Oreo. But Moto Z Force and Z may not support Project Treble.
10. Smart Text SelectionThe Smart Text Selection is one of the elegant features of Android Oreo. With Smart text selection, the Moto Z Force and Z users can easily do copy/paste text. With the help of On-device learning, it can recognize addresses, phone numbers, URLs and E-Mail addresses. For example, when the user double taps on any address, Android 8.0 will select the whole address and display relevant options. By using the options displayed, user can directly open the Google Maps app to help navigate to that address.
11. Wide Color Gamut Support
Android 8.0 Oreo arrives with the in-built support for wide-color gamut apps. So with the Oreo upgrade, the apps display wide-range of colors in HDR displays. OLED displays also display wide range of colors with Android Oreo. So flagship devices like Galaxy S8, LG G6, Xperia XZ1 and HTC U11 will support this feature. Some flagships of 2016 may also support the wide-color gamut.
12. Wi-Fi Aware
Although this is one of the minor features of Android Oreo, it has so much potential to do wonders in the future. The Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi Aware project completed in 2015 and now Android Oreo brought the support as Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN) for Smart Phones. With Wi-Fi Aware or Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN) two devices can get connected instantly without Wi-Fi Access point or cellular connectivity. The feature works by forming clusters in neighboring devices and forming a new cluster if a device is the first one in an the area.
The Wi-Fi Aware APIs are currently available to apps that target API 26 (Android 8.0). With these APIs, app developers can integrate the Wi-Fi Aware support in their apps. The connections through Wi-Fi Aware are more reliable than Wi-Fi P2P connections and provides far more range than Bluetooth. They can also create bi-directional Wi-Fi Aware connections without an access point. But hardware support is also required for Wi-Fi Aware along with Firmware, according to Android Developers. But it seems that the hardware support is available only in a handful of devices at this time.
13. Auto-Connect to Wi-Fi
This is one of the features of Android Oreo much useful to users. Till Android Nougat, if the user turned off Wi-Fi after leaving home, Wi-Fi couldn’t be connected automatically when the user arrived to home. Google introduced an option in Android Oreo to connect to Wi-Fi automatically near high-quality networks like home Wi-Fi network.
Users can enable it by going into Settings>Network and Internet>Wi-Fi> Wi-Fi Preferences and Toggle on Turn on Wi-Fi automatically. So the device connects to high-quality networks when the user is near to them by turning on the Wi-Fi. But the user have to turn off the Wi-Fi manually after leaving the area or home to save battery juice. Google may refine this feature in future updates.
14. Persistent Notifications
Android Oreo constantly displays the notification about the apps running in the background. The persistent notifications about the apps running in the background help users to save battery. The user can close the app running by tapping on the notiification and prevent battery drain.
But some times Android Oreo Persistent notifications seem to be annoying as they clutter the workspace. If some apps like Facebook Messenger or Twilight are running, the persistent notification appears and clutter the user interface. Officially there is no way to prevent the persistent notifications, but there are some apps available in the play store to hide persistent notifications for those users who not wanted them. Google may refine these notifications in the next Android update.
Moto Z and Z Force Oreo Release
Previously, Motorola rolled out the Nougat update for the unlocked Moto Z devices in the US in February 2017. So this time, the unlocked Moto Z devices may get the Android Oreo update in Q1, 2018.
Earlier, the Nougat rollout for Moto Z Force Droid began in November 2016. So this time, Android Oreo rollout for Moto Z Force may start in December 2017 or January 2018.
Canada Moto Z Oreo Release Dates
By looking at the previous Moto Z Nougat rollout, we can easily predict the rollout dates of Oreo for Moto Z. The Moto Z Nougat rollout began in December 2016. The major canadian carriers Rogers, Telus and Bell pushed out the Nougat in December 2016. The unlocked editions of Moto Z were also update to Android 7.0 in December.
So this time, as Motorola has already confirmed that Moto Z will be treated with Oreo, the rollout may begin in December 2017. The unlocked editions of Moto Z might receive the update in early December, perhaps the carriers will rollout in middle of December. As the update rollout takes place in stages, some users may have to more time to receive the update. Any how, all the Moto Z users in Canada will receive the Android 8.0 Oreo update soon.
Update on 7/9/2017 :
According to the tear down of Google App 7.11 done by 9to5Google, the next update for Android Oreo is 8.1. The source claims that they have found the evidences of Android 8.1 and the API 27. As Android 8.1 will be a major update over Android 8.0, the API level will be increased. It is pretty similar to the last year’s Android Nougat and Android 7.1. In 2017, Google released the Android 7.1 update about three months after the Android 7.0 release.
So this time also, Google may soon start the beta program of Android 7.1 for Nexus and Pixel devices. Some Tech analysts say that the upcoming Pixel 2 flagship will land with Android 7.1 similar to the first Pixel. More details about the Android 8.1 update, features and release date will be revealed soon.
Update on 14/9/2017 : Motorola Oreo upgrade list
A few hours ago, Motorola released the official list of devices eligible for the Android Oreo update. Moto G4 family is one of the major omissions of this Oreo upgrade list. No Oreo for Moto E4 and other budget, mid-range and entry-level devices. The top-notch Moto Z family included in the list along with its successor, Moto Z2. No surprise, Moto G5 Family and G5S family are going to receive the Android 8.0 update. Moto X Pure is also one of the omissions while Moto X4 is included. The Full list from Motorola :
Moto Z Family : Moto Z, Moto Z Force Droid, Moto Z Play, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Play Droid, Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z2 Play.
Moto G Family : Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus, Moto G5S, Moto G5S Plus.
Moto X Family : Moto X4.
Moto E Family : None.
Motorola hasn’t shared specific time frame for the rollout for the above devices. We hope that the rollout will complete before the release of Android P. The rollout of Oreo for Carrier locked devices depends on the carriers. So the official rollout dates of Android 8.0 will be revealed soon.
We will update this post regularly with latest news of the Android 8.0 Oreo update for Moto Z and Z Force.