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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More