Articles Tagged:

series_android_o_feature_spotlights

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: Rollback Protection, a new part of Verified Boot, won't allow you to start a downgraded OS

This flew under our radar back at I/O, but it's big news. On compatible devices, the new Verified Boot changes in Android 8.0 Oreo will prevent a device from booting should it be rolled back to an earlier firmware. The new feature is called Rollback Protection. So if your phone is flashed with older software, you (and your data) are protected from whatever potential security vulnerabilities may have been present in earlier versions. 

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: Redesigned Wi-Fi info screen now shows Sign In button for public networks

Wi-Fi networks that use Captive portals (like a Sign In page) can be a real headache. You connect to them, and then try to figure out why nothing is loading, and finally Android shows the 'Sign in to network' popup. Starting with Android O, the Settings app makes it more obvious that you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: You can force Android's new background limits on old apps

Android 8.0 Oreo includes several changes to how background processes work, in order to squeeze even more battery life out of your device. One of these is the Background Execution Limit, which imposes new rules on what apps can do in the background. By default, the new limits only apply to apps targeting Android 8.0, but you can force it on older apps as well.

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: Rescue Party might save bootlooping devices from an early death

The user facing features of Android 8.0 were mostly already known before yesterday's grand reveal of the Oreo name and the final version, but there are usually other tweaks that only become apparent after a bit of time looking through the documentation. One interesting new discovery is a feature called Rescue Party, which is designed to combat a much publicized recent Android problem, the infamous bootloop.

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: More traditional battery stats make a return with 'Show full device usage' setting

Battery statistics in the settings saw a considerable makeover in the developer previews of Android 8.0. In Nougat, the battery usage screen showed everything that had an effect, and screen on time was part of this list. With the Oreo developer previews, this was changed a bit to show more granular statistics showing screen on time per app and separating overall screen time into its own section. This helps you figure out how much an app is doing in the background, and while the change was welcomed by most, some users still wanted the option to view things the more traditional way.

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Android Oreo feature spotlight: Task Snapshots allow for higher quality, more accurate overview thumbnails

After months of living with the developer preview, we've got a pretty good handle on what's in Android 8.0 Oreo. Still, some surprises are lurking inside. For example, the use of so-called "Task Snapshots" in Android 8.0 means your overview thumbnails will look better, use less memory, and actually represent what you see upon returning to an app.

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February.

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Android O feature spotlight: Google's "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji no longer looks constipated

Different types of emoji, trivial as they may seem, can manufacture lots of controversy. Just look at how many votes and comments our blobmoji vs O-moji poll generated, or the fact that it caused a Change.org petition to be created. However, I think we can all agree that the "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji that Google used in the first three Android O developer previews looked pretty stupid; it didn't so much look like a grin as it did constipated. Thankfully, Android O DP4 has fixed this terrible issue.

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Android O feature spotlight: Text-to-speech has an experimental always-on language detection option

Google's Text-to-speech (TTS) is an accessibility feature that's long been a part of Android. It's a screen reader that can read aloud anything currently on display, a vital utility for users who are blind or partially-sighted. TTS isn't updated very often, but when it is it's usually to add something meaningful. The last update added support for new languages, as well as pronunciation and intonation improvements. We've now been made aware that there's also an experimental always-on language detection switch, available to those using Android O.

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Android O feature spotlight: System apps (and apps without icons) get a new icon

Icons can either make an operating system look very modern or very dated. You could have the most state-of-the-art OS, but the wrong icon will make that OS seem like it's straight out of 1995. Google knows this, and so it's updated all of its system apps and iconless apps to show a new, contemporary-looking icon.

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