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. Read More
Android O is going to bring a lot of changes to our favorite mobile platform, and one of the most visible for those of us using Nexus and Pixel products will be the emoji: Google is completely redesigning them. Again.
The new emoji are teased over at Emojipedia, who got an exclusive look at the redesigned characters. If you want the tl;dr - they're more circular now. Read More
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. Read More
Android Go is a new version of Android that is meant to run on super low-end, incredibly cheap hardware. Think the Android One initiative, but applied to software only, as applied to really cheap devices. We're talking optimized at an OS and app level for sub 1GB, near-disposable phones. This should help Google bring Android to more people in more places. Read More
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. Read More
Easily the most annoying aspect of using an Android phone (with the exception of Pixel/Nexus) is slow updates. Android 7.1 (which came out last year) currently sits at 0.5% marketshare, and brand new phones are still being released with 6.0 Marshmallow. Google is aiming to solve this with "Project Treble," which will modularize part of the Android OS to decrease the time OEMs spend updating their devices. Read More
There's a new version of Duo rolling out and this one might be a bit more interesting to those of us running the Android O Developer Preview. With this release, you can push the app into Picture-in-Picture mode, freeing your screen up for other activities. A teardown also shows that users will soon be able to check out Duo calling history, although, probably not through Duo itself. Read More
Can't wait for Android O? Neither can we, but you can at least make use of one feature a little early if you've got a mostly stock Nougat phone. The good people at XDA found that navigation bar customization was present in Nougat, and you can even use it without root. One enterprising developer has already pushed an app called Custom Navigation Bar that can make the necessary modifications. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More