Google rolled out a developer preview of its next software update, code-named Android O, which it said places “a big priority on improving a user’s battery life”.
In a blog post, Dave Burke, VP of engineering at the company, took the wraps off a number of new features enabled by the software, while cautioning there was still work to be done for the final product.
He invited feedback from developers and said the company would release updated developer previews over the coming months. It would also conduct a “deep dive” on all things Android at its Google I/O conference in May.
Burke said another major focus for Android O is improving devices’ interactive performance by putting additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background in three main areas: implicit broadcasts; background services; and location updates.
“These changes will make it easier to create apps that have a minimal impact on a user’s device and battery,” he said. “Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them.”
Other changes include the introduction of announcement channels, which are “new app defined categories for notification content”.
These channels allow developers to give users more control over different types of notifications, and manage each channel individually. Android O also adds new visuals, groupings and settings to notifications.
Burke also said Android O would develop autofill APIs, giving Android users a simpler way to enter details, data, and even passwords into different apps.
Other major features include an improved audio performance, keyboard navigation updates and the introduction of adaptive icons.
These can be developed to be displayed in different shapes and can be animated to appear more interactive.
The update will be available to developers on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C devices.
Google’s preview continues a trend it began in March 2016 for releasing an evaluation version of updated Android platforms. The company adopted the approach for Android N, which it then developed into Android Nougat.