Business Insider/GoogleGoogle could release the latest version of the Android operating system, called Android O, within the next few weeks.
Android O could be released as soon as the week of August 21, “most likely on the 21st itself,” prolific gadgets leaker Evan Blass tweeted on Monday.
Android O will be the eighth generation of the Android operating system, and it’ll be an incremental update with performance, feature, and design improvements rather than a major overhaul.
It’s likely that Google’s own Pixel smartphones will be the first recipients of Android O if it is actually released on August 21. Indeed, Google’s own devices usually get the updates first, and third-party phones get them much later.
Check out some of the best updates coming to your smartphone with Android O:
1. You can finally get the battery life percentage in the Android status bar!
Mysteriously, Google outright omitted the option to add the battery life percentage in the stock Android operating system in the past. Now, however, it looks like its making its way into Android O.
2. Your phone will boot up faster, and Android O will be optimized for better overall app performance and battery life.
3. Notification badges on app icons indicate that you have a notification from an app. In Android O, you can press and hold the app icon to show you the notification.
4. The Settings app has been cleaned up to look less cluttered, with several settings being consolidated into intuitive categories.
5. The picture-in-picture feature will let you watch a video or launch a video call while you’re doing something else on your phone. The video box will be a small overlay that hovers above whatever you’re doing in the background.
The image above shows an example of an instance when the picture-in-picture feature could come in handy, where you’re on a video call with a friend talking about plans while you look through your calendar to check your availability.
6. Snooze notifications for individual apps. This feature is great if you get a ton of notifications from a specific app, as you can mute notifications for a specific amount of time without setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode where you can miss other notifications you might want.
If you want to stop notifications from a specific app altogether, you can still disable them by swiping right on the notification itself, tapping the gear icon, and turning off the notifications.
7. The new Smart Text Selection feature will make it easier to select a whole name, including the first and last name, by tapping and holding anywhere on the name. It works for pretty much any name, too, like businesses.
Currently, Android users have to tap and drag the little cursor to highlight an entire name.
8. The Smart Text Selection tool will let you quickly highlight a phone number or address, and a shortcut to the most relevant app will pop up. So if you press and hold on an address, a small pop-up will suggest Google Maps.
9. The new “Google Play Protect” feature scans your apps to make sure none of them contain security flaws that could be harmful to your device — and potentially your security and privacy.
10. You’ll be able to fill in your login information to sign into apps or web services without having to type it in yourself using Google’s auto-fill feature. It uses the login information you save in Chrome, and it’s especially useful if you use several passwords for different sites or services.
11. Android O will apparently let non-Google Android phones like those from Samsung or LG receive Android updates faster with a feature called “Treble.”
It’s one of the main problems with Android; third-party Android phones tend to get Android updates months after they’ve been rolled out to Google’s own devices — if they even get them at all. As of August 8, only 13.5% of Android devices are running the current generation of Android, 7.0 “Nougat,” with only 1.2% actually running the latest Android version 7.1.
For years, Google has claimed it’s been working on a fix, but as the numbers suggest, there isn’t much to show for it. We’ll have to wait and see if Treble will make a difference.