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series_android_o_feature_spotlights

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Android O feature spotlight: Dev options has new "Window animation scale" and "Force RTL layout direction" quick settings tiles

We've hit most of the high points in our quest to find all the important things in the new Android O beta. Still, there are some little tidbits that will interest developers and huge Android dorks (that's probably you). If you venture into the developer options, there are two new quick settings tiles to enable: "Window animation scale" and "Force RTL layout direction."

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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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[Update: O DP2 broke notification channels] Android O feature spotlight: Android tells you if an app is displaying a screen overlay

Being able to run apps that draw on top of other apps is a powerful feature of Android. Apps like Twilight take advantage of that to add a filter to the display, but other apps just show a floating UI element. However, this can also be a security concern. Android O offers a handy alert when an app is showing an overlay with a link to turn it off.

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Android O feature spotlight: The settings search now shows installed apps, results now have subtext

Google added a search function to the Android settings app back in Android 5.0, making it far easier for new users to find exactly what they need. Starting with Android O, the search results not only contain subtext to better explain the results, but apps are now included as well.

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Android O feature spotlight: Downloads of system updates can now be paused

Downloading massive files isn't always convenient, especially if you don't have great Internet. And unless you've still got an unlimited data plan, letting the download continue while you're on the move without WiFi is just a bad idea. Google seems to agree, as Android O's second developer preview now features a 'pause download' button.

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Android O feature spotlight: You can automatically enable WiFi near trusted networks, and it now works in DP2

The Android beta program gives us a chance to see the latest features of Android, some of which don't actually work yet. That was the case when the first developer preview came out with an option to automatically switch WiFi on when you get near a trusted network. The toggle was non-functional in the first dev preview, but it works in DP2.

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Android O feature spotlight: VolumeShaper lets audio apps perform cross fades, fade-outs, and more

Android has a long and complicated history with audio output, but Google has been improving audio on Android with higher quality sound and lower latency. In Android O, developers will have a new tool to perform audio transitions and effects.

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Android O feature spotlight: Apps can finally capture the mouse pointer

Android has never really been designed for use on desktop or laptop PCs, but various ports like Android x86 and Remix OS have appeared over the years. Now that Android apps can run on Chromebooks, perhaps Google thought it was finally time to implement pointer capture support in Android.

Starting with Android O, apps can capture a device's mouse pointer using the new requestPointerCapture method.

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Android O feature spotlight: Downloadable fonts will make APKs smaller, and fonts can now be XML resources

Google has definitely been focusing on space-saving and performance improvements with Android O, such as faster boot times and the leaner Android Go operating system. Fonts aren't quite as exciting, unless you like to spice up your reports and presentations with obscure typefaces. Regardless, Android O has a few improvements in store for developers wanting to use custom fonts in their applications.

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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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