Android 8 for Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZs
Sony launched Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZs devices with pre-loaded Android 7.1 Nougat OS recently. The next big update for these devices is Android O.
The version number of the upcoming iteration of Android is 8.0 and the internal Codename is Oatmeal Cookie. The official Codename of Android O is yet to be announced, but some sources are saying that it might be Android Oreo.
Google released the first Developer preview of Android O in March. Later, the Second Developer Preview along with Beta came at Google I/O 2017 in May. On June 9th, Google released the third developer preview of Android O. The third preview came with finalized APIs. The API version of Android O is 26. The Fourth and final preview of Android O arrived in the last week of July with near final system images and behaviour. But according to some Pixel and Nexus users, the build is still buggy and draining the battery quickly.
Google refined Android OS much in this update. Many interesting features like Picture in Picture, Notification dots, Revamped Settings menu, Smart text selection and Wi-Fi Aware are coming with this update for Xperia XZ Premium and XZs devices. Google brought many improvements like new Background limits for better battery life.
Android O Exclusive Features
1. New Notification Channels
Android O Notification Channels give granular control to user over notifications. So user can specifically choose which type of notifications appears from the app. For example, a news app can only push Tech update notifications when user chose that. In messaging apps, notifications from a specific group could be muted. But app developers have to target Android O API to support notification channels. In the app with Android O API support, users have to customize which category notifications appear.
Users can also snooze notifications in Android O. When a user swipe slightly to left on any notification the snooze options will appear. User can set any time in 15min, 30min and 1Hour after which the notification reappears. The notification also appears with the same priority.
In Android O, Notifications could appear with different background colours. But app developers have to implement background colors for their app notifications. With this feature, users can easily identify the notification. Google will improve these new features in the Final build of Android O.
2. Autofill Framework
The next Major Android revision brings a useful feature called Autofill framework. With this feature, user can easily complete filling of forms like Account creation, Login, Credit card etc. But developers have to add autofill APIs to their apps to work with the autofill framework feature of Android O. Agilebits, the creator of 1Password posted a video showing the working of Autofill framework. In the video, Agilebits clearly showed how the new autofill framework supports to log into Twitter quickly.
So the Autofill framework of Android O makes the password management and login easy for both app developers and users.
3. Notification Dots
Android O Notification Dots are a new feature arrived with the Second Developer Preview of the next iteration of Android. In Android Developers Blog, Dave Burke revealed the minutiae of Notification dots feature. If a new notification arrived for an app, a small circular blob appears on top of the app icon. On long pressing on the app we can view preview of notification in the form of bubble like a small window on Display.
Users can directly jump into the app by just tapping on the preview of notification in the bubble. Users can also check full notification from the notification bar.
So this is a new improvement to Android to enhance user experience. User can easily view the preview of Notifications like whatsapp messages, instagram comments by just long tapping on the app icons on Android O with reaching for Notification bar every time. This feature might be refined in the final release of Android O.
4. Picture in Picture Mode
PiP (Picture in Picture) is an impressive feature of Android O operating system. Actually, Google introduced the PiP feature with Android 7.0 Nougat. But Picture in Picture was released only for Android TVs with Android Nougat. Now, with Android O, this elegant feature arrives for Android smart phones too.
Android O Picture in Picture feature permits users to watch videos on a corner of the screen besides using another app on the remaining part of screen. So users can easily play Youtube videos besides working with other apps with the PiP feature of Android O.
Still the Android O is in Preview stage, so now it is hard to find any app with Picture in Picture support. Some developers at XDA are currently working to enable PiP mode with any app in Android O.
5. Adaptive icons
Adaptive icons is an elegant feature of the next iteration of Android. With the Adaptive icons feature, launcher icons will appear in different shapes with different masks on different OEM devices. A launcher icons may appear circular in a OEM device and may appear squircle in another OEM device. The launcher icons also appear in app shortcuts, the Settings app and other dailogs.
6. Multi-Display Support
Previously with Android Nougat, Google brought the multi window feature to make multi tasking easy. Now Android O developer preview brings support for multiple displays. According to the official Android developers website, if a device and an app support multiple screens then Android O can display the app activity in multiple displays. The app can decide which display the activity should appear. User can also move the app activity from one display to another display. When user moved the activity of the app from one screen to another screen the system will automatically resizes the app activity, according to the new screen dimensions.
But when the app is showing different activities in different screens, only one activity will be in the resumed state. Other activities of the app will be in the paused states but not stopped.
So with the next iteration of Android, multi tasking will become a bit easy. More details about the multi-display support of the Android O upgrade will be revealed soon.
7. App Background Limits
In every iteration of Android, Google tries something new to improve Battery life. In the upcoming Android O upgrade, the Search Giant introduced Background limits for apps to save some battery juice. Background limits restrict background services of apps to save memory bandwidth and also Battery.
The Background execution limits of Android O affect the apps which are idle in background. Android O limits background apps through Background Service limitations and Broadcast limitations. But they don’t limit apps with visible activity, foreground services etc. New background limits feature of Android O works smartly to differentiate between foreground and background apps and only limits background apps.
But this feature only works on the apps which target Android O API level 25. So app developers have to refine their apps to target Android O to support the Background limits feature.
Also Read : Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus Release Date, Specs and Features
8. New Settings Menu
Previously with Android Nougat, Google partially revamped the Settings menu. Now with Android O, the Search giant completely revamped the Settings menu. The Settings Menu of Android O organized into different Categories. So the menu becomes compact and also appears with new design.
The background of the Settings menu changed to Light grey. The Dark or blue headers with White header text are not present in the Android O menu. Header text appears in Black color on the Grey background.
The new categories of Settings arranged nicely so that we can find any setting option easily. Google removed the slide-out navigation menu in the Android O update. Probably it is due to the new compact Settings menu. As this is still the first preview version of Android O, many refinements may take place before the final release.
9. New Bluetooth Audio codecs
The Android O upgrade contains new Bluetooth audio codecs like LDAC, aptx etc. The options for bluetooth audio codecs are located in the Developer options. Users can access them by going into Settings>Developer Options.
The Bluetooth Audio codecs available in Android O are LDAC, SBC, AAC, aptx and aptx HD. LDAC is codec from Sony which can transfer data at 990 kbps. aptx and aptx HD are high quality streaming protocols from Qualcomm. aptx HD supports 24-bit music quality over bluetooth. So these advanced codecs play high quality music over compatible bluetooth headsets or headphones.
10. Wi-Fi Aware
Wi-Fi aware is a small feature of Android O but much useful once app developers unlock its full potential. Neighborhood Aware Networking is added to Wi-Fi in the upcoming iteration of Android to communicate with nearby devices through Wi-Fi. This feature doesn’t even require an access point to find nearby devices.
So two nearby devices with Wi-Fi aware feature can find each other without requiring any additional apps or configuration. It also allows high speed data transfer between two nearby devices. As Wi-Fi Aware feature is a low-power connection mode, it drains battery lightly. Google indicates that hardware support also required for Wi-Fi aware to function. So in coming days, the list of supported devices will be revealed.
11. Quick Updates
Google has been trying to solve the slow Android updates problem for a long time. Slow Android updates also lead to android fragmentation problem and mauch more. Previously, the Search giant tried to solve this problem. Now with Android O, Google is trying to make updates “easier, faster and less costly” for device manufacturers.
Project Treble is the new solution for slow android updates. With 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 in the device, manufacturers could directly release new android updates for their devices by just updating the Android framework. So the 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 O and many more. More details about Project Treble of Android O will be revealed at the launch.
12. Smart Text Selection
Smart Text Selection is one of the elegant features of Android O. With Smart text selection, users can easily copy/paste text. With the help of On-device learning, it can recognize addresses, phone numbers, URLs and E-Mail addresses. For example, when user double taps on any address, Android O will select the whole address and also displays relevant options. By using the options displayed, user can open the Google Maps app to help navigate to that address. The Search Giant may improve this feature further in the Final release of Android O.
13. Background Apps Notification
Google brought this feature with the Third Developer Preview of Android O. So a Notification appears when any apps running in the background. The Notification displays which apps are running in the background. When the user taps on that, a Dialog box with the list of apps running on Background will open. The User can tap on any app to view its battery usage and also force stops it.
The background apps notification always appears when any apps running in the background and users can’t dismiss it. Although it is useful to check Battery drain, it annoys the user sometimes. The Search Giant may refine this feature with the Dismiss option in the forthcoming preview or final build of Android O.
14. Elegant Media Notifications
Google refined media notifications in the Developer preview 3 of Android 8. In Android 8, media notifications appear along with gorgeous album art. So new media notifications appear with beautiful background for each album. Thus, color and background of media notification changes for each media album. Google may improve this feature in the fourth developer preview of Android O.
According to Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, the final build of Android O may come in late summer. Previously released timeline indicates that the fourth and final preview will come in July. The final build will come in Q3 of 2017. According to some leaks, Google might release the final build of Android O in the first or second weeks of August 2017.
Android O for Xperia XZ Premium Release Date
Sony may start the Android O concept program for Xperia XZ Premium devices in August. Final build might be pushed out for the Sony XZ Premium flagship in November 2017. Official rollout dates will be revealed soon.
Android O for Xperia XZs Release Date
The Japanese tech giant probably starts the rollout of the Android 8 update for Xperia XZs in December 2017. Due to the Project Treble of Android O, Sony may start the rollout earlier also.
Update on 12/8/2017 :
According to Phonearena, the Android O operating system may come on 21st August. Android Police’s David Ruddock claims that Google is going to unveil Android 8.0 beyond August 21st. He also claims that Google will announce the official Codename of Android O on August 21st, the day of Solar eclipse.
A famous tipster, Evan Blass tweets that Android O most likely come on August 21st or in the week of August 21st. As the release dates are always subject to changes due to unforeseen technical issues, these dates may also change.