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Google I/O 2017: Android O Beta Now Available, New Features Detailed


Google’s next major Android release, called Android O, had its moment in the sun at the keynote address of ongoing I/O 2017 annual developers conference in California. The Android O is the successor to Android Nougat and Google highlighted some new features to expect with the new Developer Preview 2 release, which is now available as public beta users globally as part of the Android O Beta Program.

Apart from features like picture-in-picture, notification channels and improved keyboard navigation that were known when Google rolled out the first Developer Preview of Android O, Google also mentioned a new feature called Smart Text Selection. This new feature improves copy and paste through the help of machine learning, which can now recognise contexts on the screen such as an address and will be able to copy the whole thing with a double tap. It will also be able to bring up Maps when you do to navigate to the address. Notification Dots is a new way for developers to notify users about about activity on the app, driving engagement.

Google did not go into detail regarding Android O’s other features, and is probably saving that for a later day when it officially starts rolling out the final build. Despite the beta availability, Google is still calling this Android O Developers Preview 2. Alongside the Android O, the company also announced Android Go which is an optimised Android software for entry-level consumers on devices with up to 1GB of RAM.

Android O also touts better battery efficiency and Google is providing that through Android Vitals, which focuses on optimising battery life, startup time, graphic rendering time, and stability. Google has introduced new tools for developers such as system optimisations, background apps limits, and Android Vitals Dashboards in the Play Console.

Google’s annual developers conference kicked off highlighting the company’s efforts in AI and machine learning with Assistant taking centre stage. The company announced that Assistant will be coming to the iPhone as well as new services such as Google Lens and new features for Gmail and Google Photos.