Google I/O 2017: Android O beta release available for download today
Thursday 18 May 2017

Google I/O 2017: Android O beta release available for download today

Google has announced the release of Android O Beta for eligible Pixel and Nexus devices. Also, speaking at Google I/O annual developer conference, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that as of this week Google has crossed two billion active Android device milestone.

The search giant has classified features of Android O in two categories – Fluid Experiences and Vitals. The features in Fluid Experiences include ‘picture-in-picture’ mode, Autofill, smart text selection and more. Whereas the Vitals for Google are essentially better performance, security and battery optimisations. With Android O, the company has introduced new Play-Protect feature which can find issues in apps and protect your device from security threats.

Google had first released the developer preview (alpha) of Android O for Pixel smartphones, Pixel C tablet, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus Player in March. This early preview was meant for app developers and device makers. At the time of the initial announcement, Google had also provided a timeline for subsequent updates. The Android O Beta is available for download from today and will be available for everyone later this year, said Google. Users can simply visit android.com/beta to download the beta software.

Key Features in Android O

Background limits: Google has more focus on improving battery performance with Android O and as a result the developer preview got additional automatic limits on what all apps can execute in the background. The company believes that these changes will have a significant impact on user’s device and battery performance.

Picture-in-picture: Google moved a step ahead from multi-window and got the picture-in-picture feature from Android TV to Android phones and tablets. It allows users to continue watching a video on and top of other app windows.

Notification channels: Android O also introduced new app-defined categories for notification content. The notification channels essentially allowed developers to give users a little extra control over different kinds of notifications. For instance, users from an app notification itself can block or snooze the further notifications for time duration.

Connectivity and Pro Audio: Google has brought in support for high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC codec in Android O. Then there are new Wi-Fi features like the Wi-Fi Aware and support for app & device communication over without an Internet access point.

Other features: Google has enabled multiprocess mode by default in Android O, something which the company had kept optional for WebView in Android Nougat. This mode puts web content into an isolated process, thus enhancing performance and improving stability. The Android O preview also allowed developers to create better keyboard navigation. Lastly, developers of imaging apps get access to a wider colour gamut of new devices with high-end displays.