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android 8.0

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Android O feature spotlight: Lockscreen and notification panel get a few visual tweaks

Android O's fourth developer preview was released today, and you know what that means: more feature spotlights. We already covered the new octopus Easter egg, but there are still a few other changes, even in the final developer preview. The lockscreen and notification panel have both seen a few minor visual tweaks.

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Android O feature spotlight: DP4's Easter egg features an octopus floating around

Since its inception, Android has featured little Easter eggs in its settings based on whatever dessert name was in that version. For instance, Android 4.2 and 4.3 Jellybean's Easter egg involved a ton of jellybeans scattered on your screen that you could move around. For Android O's fourth developer preview, the jokesters at Google threw in a little octopus that floats around your screen.

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Android O Developer Preview 4 is rolling out, final release coming soon

We're getting very, very close to the release of Android O. Google has put out three developer previews for Android O, and today is the fourth and final dev release. The OTA for devices in the Android Beta Program is rolling out as we speak, and there are system images so you can flash the new preview manually. This one should be representative of the final build.

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Google's Android O engineering team hosted a Reddit AMA, here's what they had to say

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.

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Google Docs now supports Smart Text Selection in Android O [APK Download]

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.

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Android O feature spotlight: Accessibility has some new features, including better volume control and a new shortcut method

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.

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Here's a thing: now you can tap to hear selected text on Android via TalkBack

Did you know that you can set your Android device to read selected text back to you with a simple tap? This isn't a new feature, it hit a while back with the TalkBack 5.2 update in April. And though we knew it was there, we didn't really know how cool it would end up being. Now that we've had the chance to try it out for ourselves, there's a good chance some of you might want to turn this particular feature on, whether you have a visual disability or not. And, on Android O it has a small twist. 

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Android O feature spotlight: System UI Tuner loses features in Developer Preview 3

It's not unusual for Google to add and remove elements during the preview program leading up to a new OS release. It happens all the time and is exactly what we've noticed with while checking out Developer Preview 3. The System UI Tuner is a place for experimental features anyway, so anything found there is always subject to change. The latest Android beta sees the removal of all 3 of the most recent additions to this menu.

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Android O feature spotlight: Gboard gets an incognito mode for Chrome

Google Chrome's incognito mode is meant to make more suspicious (insert Lenny face here) browsing history invisible at your beck and call. However, Google hadn't previously made incognito mode on Android disable keyboard suggestions. To alleviate this, browsing in incognito on Chrome Dev with a device running Android 8.0 will now make the incognito fedora and glasses appear on your keyboard, and Gboard won't remember unique words that you type.

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Android O feature spotlight: WiFi and cellular status bar icons switch positions again [order has been restored]

Sometimes it's the little things in life that bring the most joy. Google often uses Android developer previews to test small changes and gauge public opinion on them ahead of a final release. This may or may not be one such example. Dev Preview 3 has reversed a tiny change that was made in the last version, namely changing the order of the WiFi and cellular icons on the status bar.

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