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Google says Android O could make your phone reboot twice as fast - apps could see doubled speeds, too

During today's keynote at Google I/O, Google revealed a couple of interesting figures about the upcoming Android O release. Namely, it should be a lot faster in certain regards. Google says that the Pixel, for example, will reboot up to twice as fast on Android O (it does take a while at the moment). It wasn't immediately clear what optimizations allowed for this boosted performance.

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Android O feature spotlight: Smart Text Selection automatically highlights the right words at a double tap

One of the new features in Android O that was recently announced at I/O is Smart Text Selection. Selecting the right text can be hard on a small screen, but Google's data shows that most of the time when we are selecting information it's something like an address or phone number. Now in Android O you can double tap text, and the selection automatically expands as needed. It even shows a convenient predictive shortcut so we can use it in another context, or save it. Of course, we can use the Assistant to do all those things if we remember, but it's good to have multiple ways of solving the same problem.

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Android O feature spotlight: Notification Dots put notifications on your icons

Android has handled notifications in pretty much the same way since its inception. Oh, there have been refinements over the years, but you go to the same place for notifications. That's changing in Android O with Notification Dots. You've probably seen something like this on custom launchers, but this is much more integrated with the OS.

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Android O feature spotlight: SMS authentication process gets streamlined

With each new version of Android, we all look out for the big, front-facing changes that alter the way the OS looks or works in a big way. But for every major new feature, there are countless smaller ones behind the scenes that altogether add up to a better experience. One such change that seems to be heading our way with the upcoming release of Android O is an improved SMS authentication process for use by third party apps.

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Android O feature spotlight: Apps can no longer draw on top of system UI

Android has long allowed developers to draw on top of other apps and the system UI. This is how Twilight adjusts the color of the display, and there are other apps that overlay things on your status bar. A change to the way Android O handles overlays could break features of these apps, rendering some of them essentially useless.

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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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Android O feature spotlight: Automatically enable WiFi when you're near a saved network

It's important to take advantage of WiFi in this era of capped data plans, but what if you forget to turn your WiFi on? That might happen much less often in Android O. There's a feature (not currently active) that can turn WiFi on for you when you get near a saved network.

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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: Android System is already using notification channels

There are some cool things you can play around with in the Android O preview, but some of the most useful features won't be available until developers start implementing them. For instance, the new notification channel feature. As it turns out, Google has already implemented notification channels in the Android System. That means you can get a feel for how it'll work.

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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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