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android o

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Google's Android O engineering team hosted a Reddit AMA, here's what they had to say

With a recent example of how not to do a Reddit AMA still fresh in the mind courtesy of OnePlus, yesterday was Google's turn to show us how it's done. A long list of key personnel from the Android engineering team took to r/androiddev to answer questions from the community regarding the upcoming release of Android O. As you'd expect, the team remained coy about a number of things they're simply not yet allowed to speak about, but they did have some interesting things to say. Here are some of the highlights.

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WhatsApp beta adds a picture-in-picture mode for video calls on Android O

WhatsApp was updated to version 2.17.265 on the beta channel yesterday and as most times, it didn't seem like the new version brought anything new to the table. But it turns out that this isn't the case this time; you just need to be on the newest and hottest version of Android to notice the change. WhatsApp now support picture-in-picture video calls on Android O.

When you start a video call on Android Nougat and below then tap back, the call goes into the background and the video gets paused while the audio continues and you go back to your text conversation and can do other stuff on your phone.

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Google Docs now supports Smart Text Selection in Android O [APK Download]

There were a number of small but interesting features of Android O (Oreo? Octopus??) that popped up at Google I/O back in May, and one of those was Smart Text Selection. I'm sure we've all been frustrated when trying to select text on our phones, and this feature intends to fix that by highlighting exactly what we need with a simple double tap. Now, Google Docs is implementing this feature and it should work for anybody currently running the Android O Beta.

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Google uses World Emoji Day to talk about killing the blobmoji, tries to make up for it with Allo stickers

Google is preparing to kill the blob emoji in Android O, which will feature more conventional emoji faces. I just want to go on record saying I love the Android blob emoji, or blobmoji if you will. As if this injustice was not enough, Google is using World Emoji Day to talk about the death of the blobmoji. It's giving us some stickers to make up for it, but you have to use Allo to send them.

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Google confirms that aptX Bluetooth streaming won't work on the Nexus 6P or 5X

One of the many new features in Android O is support for aptX Bluetooth streaming. aptX is a series of streaming protocols owned by Qualcomm, that feature much lower latency compared to normal Bluetooth audio streaming. But it looks like Nexus 5X and 6P owners won't be able to use it.

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Notification importance controls won't work for most apps in Android O, and Google is fine with that

Android O is going to have a lot of neat stuff, including notification channels for more granular control over what apps can ping you about. However, developers need to get their apps ready by targeting Android O. Until that happens, notification controls will be hobbled in Android O, and Google won't be fixing this apparent problem.

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Enpass password manager adds Android O's Autofill in latest beta

One of the features that I'm most excited about in Android O is the official Autofill API support. Thanks to it, password manager apps wouldn't need to work as overlays or stay as constant notifications and they wouldn't require you use their keyboard or browser to simplify login details input in different apps. Instead, you choose whichever third-party app you use as your Autofill provider and Android will call it up each time it sees a username and password field, allowing for more seamless input.

1Password and LastPass both already showed us how the functionality would work in their apps, and it was only a matter of time until either of them or some other app implemented the feature in a beta run.

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Android O will introduce an animated Clock app icon in launchers

Chris Lacy, the developer behind the well-known Action Launcher, has uncovered something in the APK file of the Clock app that comes in Android O: the manifest.xml mentions hours, minutes, and seconds as layers with default values, and the icon has separate images for the background and different elements.

That logically lead him to deduce that starting with Android O, the Clock app's icon will be animated to show the current time. That will happen both when the Clock is placed as a shortcut on the homescreen and when it's inside the app drawer.

Chris also used that animation in his latest Action Launcher release, which we wrote about a couple of days ago.

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Google Chrome adds support for picture-in-picture video on Android O

One of the headline features of Android O is picture-in-picture video support across all devices. The feature has been part of Android TV since Nougat, but starting with O, it works on phones and tablets too. A handful of applications have already added support for the feature, including VLC, Duo, and Play Movies - now it's Chrome's turn.

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Android O feature spotlight: Accessibility has some new features, including better volume control and a new shortcut method

Over the years, Android has built up a decent array of accessibility options to help make devices easier to use for its diverse user base. Each new version of the OS attempts to add even more useful features, and Android O is no different. So far we've had 3 developer previews of Android 8.0 ahead of its launch later this summer, and at some point along the way Google added a couple of new accessibility features. Namely, separate volume controls and a new way to use the accessibility shortcut.

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