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[Update: Maybe not] Android O feature spotlight: Ambient display gets a downgrade

Sometimes updates to Google products are two steps forward, one step back. Ambient display originally showed up in stock Android with the launch of the Nexus 6, which turns on the display for a few seconds when notifications arrive. It has remained a popular feature, but Android O changes it quite a bit.

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Android O feature spotlight: The settings app has been completely overhauled

While Android 7.0 already offered a pretty extensive rethink on Android's stock settings app, it appears Android O will go a step even further than that, overhauling the interface and navigation model extensively.

The first thing you'll notice is that Google is moving to an organizational approach much more like a smartphone manufacturer, organizing categories of settings at higher levels, resulting in a much shorter top-level settings list. It's half or less the size of the settings menu on the Pixel on the current Nougat beta - which should tell you how extensive a change this is.

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Android O feature spotlight: It looks like Android may be getting native support for themes

I cannot fault people for loving the theme support present in certain OEM and custom ROMs. The fact that Google has never implemented them in any sort of official way has been a frustration to many, but we did find something very interesting in the Android O preview. In the display settings, there is a section for "Device theme," which has two options. Hm...

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Android O feature spotlight: System UI Tuner gets a new navigation bar customizer

If you haven't noticed, today is a big day for Android fans. Android O has been made official, at least in an initial Developer Preview form. We here at Android Police are working hard to bring you relevant information and we figured this one might be of interest to some of you out there: the System UI Tuner is getting a new navigation bar customizer.

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Android O feature spotlight: You can snooze individual notifications for 15m, 30m, or 1hr

Android's notification system is great for letting you know when something happens, but what if you don't want that particular notification in your face right now? You can dismiss it, but then you might forget to deal with it. Android O introduces snoozed notifications, and it's super-easy to do.

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Android O feature spotlight: Home screen notification badges are now supported

Several mobile operating systems support some kind of notification indicator for applications on the home screen. iOS has had notification badges for years now, and one of Windows Phone's most recognizable features are live tiles. Starting with today's O Developer Preview, Android will now officially support notification badges on home screen icons.

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Android O developer preview will include 4 releases, final version coming in Q3 2017

Google has released details of the Android O developer preview timeline, and it'll be familiar to those of you who participated last time around. The Android O DP will include four releases in advance of the final build. That is currently scheduled for Q3 of this year. So, probably another late fall launch for Android.

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Android O feature spotlight: Android will support wide color gamut profiles in apps

Color profiles aren't exactly a sexy topic, but in the worlds of professional photography and video, knowing what colors your display can accurately reproduce is hugely important, and equally important is knowing exactly which color profiles it's capable of representing. To date, supporting color profiles in Android has largely been incumbent upon device manufacturers and chip vendors, meaning there was no one solution for figuring out which profiles a device could display. With Android O, Google will offer a native way for developers to specify a way to display their apps in wide color gamut modes if a device marks them as supported.

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Android O feature spotlight: Official autofill API will save you from typing the same thing over and over

We all know the pain of typing in the same block of text the zillionth time on Android. The keyboards are better these days, but it's still an unnecessary annoyance. On desktops, there are any number of text-expanders and autofill helpers, but those sorts of apps are essentially hacks on Android... at least they have been until now. Android O will support a new API for autofill apps.

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Android O feature spotlight: Android O will supposedly make navigating Android with a keyboard suck less

If you've ever used a keyboard with Android, you'll know that the operating system and apps weren't exactly designed around arrow keys or tabbing. And, honestly, there wasn't much in the way of motivation for Google to fix this, historically: Android devices with keyboards are few and far between these days, so why care?

Then Android apps on Chromebooks happened, and suddenly, a lot more people are using their keyboards in apps that traditionally only ever saw touch-based interaction. In recognition of this, Google is promising that Android O will offer considerable improvements in the consistency of the experience of navigating your keyboard-equipped (or connected) device by providing more standard behaviors for the arrow and tab keys, in particular.

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