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feature spotlight

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Android O feature spotlight: Enabling developer options requires your device's passcode

Turning on the developer options menu has been the same for who knows how long. You always open settings, go to 'About phone,' and tap on the build number for a certain number of times (though most of us simply tap on it furiously). However, the second Android O developer preview has added another step: entering your device's PIN, password, or pattern.

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Android O feature spotlight: The proximity sensor can turn off ambient display

Ambient display on the Android O developer preview is doing some odd things right now. It's showing a minimal and less useful UI for some people, while others see something more akin to the old version. Whatever is going on there, we do know of one small (but useful) change to ambient display in O—covering the proximity sensor now puts the phone back to sleep.

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Android O feature spotlight: Google explains the new actionable battery menu

Google is focusing on battery life in Android O by clamping down on what apps can do in the background. At the same time, Android O includes a new battery settings menu that attempts to present your usage in a more understandable way. Instead of simply showing how much juice an app used, it puts battery use in the context of how you use the phone.

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Android O feature spotlight: More natural movement with physics-based animations

Animations in apps can often be jerky or unrealistic, but in Android O Google plans to give developers tools to make animations buttery smooth and natural with the power of physics. It should also be much simpler to make animations with this system.

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Android O feature spotlight: Pixel Launcher lets you select icon shapes [Update]

We've all gotten used to the consistent round icons on the Pixel Launcher, and a surprising number of developers have even gotten on board with round icons. Android O brings more choice to the icons, but keeps the consistency. There's a new icon shape selection in the launcher settings as of the second O developer preview.

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Android O feature spotlight: Developers can specify timeouts for notifications

Some notifications are plain annoying. Fitbit keeps bugging me with how many steps I have to walk to overcome someone in a Workweek Hustle or who has just surpassed me in a Daily Showdown. Ebay wants to tell me that a watchlist item is nearing its end date. And the order of pharmacists in Lebanon app sends dozens of repetitive notifications to remind me of a certain conference happening on the night.

Some notifications are important to read regardless of how late you are to spot them, others like the ones I mentioned above are pointless after a certain time. For those notifications - and the developers who are kind and empathic enough to care about their users - Android O has one awesome feature: timeout.

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[Update: Any notification can be compacted] Android O feature spotlight: Persistent notifications are more compact

I hate persistent notifications. I like dropping down my notification shade and seeing nothing there, otherwise I get very OCD and feel like there's something that requires my attention, but then I see there really isn't because it's just a persistent notification. Even if you don't mind these and even if these always get pushed to the bottom of the list, they can clutter up your notification drop-down and make it more difficult to manage.

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Android O feature spotlight: There's a cool new animation when opening or closing notifications

Android O was revealed last week, and Google talked about the neat stuff it can do via blog posts and videos. We didn't get all the little details—those nice touches that make you smile, realizing Google takes design seriously these days. Case in point, there's a rad new animation when you open and close the notification shade. Let's watch, shall we?

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Android O feature spotlight: Text selection dialog now has icons and contextual actions

As we continue to fiddle around with Android O, more interesting little things pop up. For example, the text selection dialog is more useful. It shows icons next to actions, and certain types of content will give you handy shortcut buttons. This might not be high on the Android O changelog, but you're going to see it plenty.

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All the Android O features we've found so far [Continuously Updated]

The past week has been the Big-O week for all of us involved in Google's ecosystem and the Android world. The follow-up to Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat was announced as Android O — full name still unknown — and the developer preview images were made available for those who want to test it out and check all the new features.

That caused our inboxes to overflow with tips of all the major and minor and super minor changes in Android O coming from our readers, and it got our team to work overtime to verify and report them. We still have many O feature spotlights on our to-do list, some of which we're still investigating, but in the meantime, we thought we'd put together one list of all the Android O features we've covered so far.

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