Android O: 11 New Features Developers Should Take Advantage

Android O: 11 New Features Developers Should Take Advantage

20Jun
2017

Android O has been the talk of the town since March. Ever since the release of alpha version, many have been curious about what Google is going to name the new treat. Google has always named its android versions after tasty treats till the last version release Nougat and this leaves the tech savvy’s to guess what could probably be the name for the new version Android O. We might not know the name of the new version but we surely know what all are the goodies it is going to be in store for both users as well as app developers. The goodies that Android O brings along include battery life, better performance, fluidic UX, smart text selection and many more. With the best features so far that the version 8.0 has promised, let us see what all are the new features that we as developers should take advantage of.

Since the Google developer preview version 3 has rolled out this month. App developers are pacing to get their apps compatible with the new version. Here are 11 features that developers should take advantage of:

Fluids Experiences

1. Picture in Picture (PiP):

 

Android O with the all new Picture in Picture (PiP) feature

Android O with the all new Picture in Picture (PiP) feature. Source: www.xda-developers.com

Google has implemented multi-tasking in the new version of Android O with the all new Picture in Picture (PiP) feature. This was previously available in android smart TV but this is the first time this feature has set foot into the world of smartphones. So, this makes it easy for the Android O users to watch their favourite videos in YouTube while texting their friends. You can even reply to/send office mails while on a video call without having to swap between screens. In the developer’s point of view, if your application contains videos then you’ll have to make sure that the app should pause in in PiP mode but at the same time it should display the contents too.

2. Notification

Android O has introduced android users to notification badges

Android O has introduced android users to notification badges. Source: https://developer.android.com

There are a lot many changes in how notifications are displayed when compared to the previous version that was released. Android O has introduced android users to notification badges that are like that you see on IOS. Android O uses dots to alert user on pending/unseen notifications. When the user does a long press on the app icon, a small dialog will appear showing him the details of pending notifications.

Android O has not changed the pull-down notifications but also lets the users choose what notifications they want to view and what they want to hide with snooze functionality. To snooze a notification, the user must half swipe the notification instead of full swipe that dismisses the notification. On the half swipe action, the user is asked for how long he wants to snooze the notifications from that app. The time varies from 15 mins to 1 hour. In the developer’s point of view, you must display the app notifications in one or more notification channels. One channel each for each type of notification, the app is planning to send to the user. Care should be taken that when a notification is read or dismissed by the user, it should reflect in all the places related to the notifications.

3. Smart Text Selection feature

Android O Smart Text Selection Feature

Android O Smart Text Selection Feature. Source: androidauthority.com

Previously when someone sends us an address we copy it and paste it in maps and search for it. As the name, Smart Text Selection suggests, the way users can work with text has become smarter. Now Google has made it a lot easier, just long press or double tapping a word selects it. Based on the selected text, a floating toolbar appears suggesting the app that can handle the text along with the editing tools. If the selection is an address, Google will automatically understand that you want to launch the address in maps and suggest maps in the floating tool bar. If the text is a number, Google will display dialler along with the editing tools in the floating tool bar. When we think that things couldn’t get easier, Android O asks us to wait since there are lot more features in this version.

4. Responsive text view

Android O has set up a library for auto sizing text views. This helps you create a responsive text view on your app. This makes us as developers optimize the text size on different screens containing dynamic content.

5. Shared Font library

The new Android O has kept the fonts common instead of integrating it with the APK files. This makes multiple applications in your phone access the same font library. This will ensure that the app’s that you develop has light weight APK’s enabling easy and fast download. This new feature allows all the apps in the device to access font from the font library provided by Android O. This saves the developer from the hassle of having to integrate a font into the APK file and the users don’t have to download it too. This new feature makes the apps light weight which means this feature saves our download time and space. Isn’t it good news for us?

6. Autofill framework

 

Android O Autofill Feature

Android O Autofill Feature

Android O has implemented the autofill feature in smartphones. I am pretty sure that we are not new to autofill feature. Yes, it is the same feature that we see in web forms that remembers the previously entered form data suggests it next time to the user depending on the form field. This is a good user friendly feature which is going to enter the smartphone world which will save the users from typing the same information over and over again. So good news to android O users is that you can use the same details within applications without having to type it more than once. Users can just select the data from the suggestions given out by the app. And developers, Let us utilize this great feature by optimizing how your app works with the autofill framework available with android. Make sure that you make your apps autofill compatible by specifying the data format the field will accept. So go ahead implement the autofill functionality in your app too.

7. Pinned shortcuts and widgets

Pinned Shortcuts and Widgets in Android O

Pinned Shortcuts and Widgets in Android O

This feature allows users to start the intended work directly using pinned shortcuts thereby eliminating the process of opening the app and typing the necessary data to get the required information frequently. In the below pic, you could see how Android O lets the user pin shortcuts to for directions to work and home using this feature. You can create shortcut to WhatsApp contacts or phone contacts or even your favourite app using this feature. The same can be done with widgets too. If the developers take advantage of this and implement it in their app, it would take the app to the next level. Say for e.g. if your app deals in making video calls, the pinned shortcut feature will enable users to pin a particular contact to home screen that they can call directly on one touch. This will enhance the usability of the application.

Vitals Experiences

8. Google Play Protect

Google has always known the importance of security. It has launched Google play protect in android O which helps to secure any android device using Android O. It scans all the apps for threats and malicious activities. It will not allow users to install apps that does not have security certificate and that are not from trusted sources. So developers, make sure that your app is secure enough lest Google will not let the users install it.

9. Reduced Boot time

Google has promised “Twice as fast boot time” in its new version which can be achieved by optimizing background apps running in the OS. The background apps that are not optimized will lead to wasted battery life. Google has let the users give permission to control the apps running in the background. The apps will run faster and smoother in Android O. So, developers do keep in mind that your app is optimized for background executions and location sensing in-order to run the race.

10. Google’s Play Console Dashboard

Play console Dashboard that was launched by Google I/O 2017 comes as a tool to help the developers to evaluate their apps. This helps the developers to identify problems with their application. It gives analytics on battery drain, app efficiency and performance issues. This helps the android developers render stability and performance in their applications. The console alerts the developers when the app has a bug. Even the crash reports and App not responding rates are recorded and provided as reports. Developers can use this opportunity to modularize their app experience and increase their app ratings in the play store.

11. Android Instant Apps

We all would have come across instant pot that is used to speed up cooking in reduced energy. Instant apps are also the similar in the technical world. This is another unique feature that allows app users to run the apps instantly without installation. This saves memory, time and performance. Google has welcomed the world of applications to take part in creating instant apps. The APK files of the apps can be converted into instant apps through 8 simple steps. The users can use any app as easily as clicking on a URL to navigate to a page. This will result in light weight apps with high performance. So, developers get started to convert your installed app to instant apps.

Android O release date

Google posted the new release timeline on their developer site, which tells us that the final release of Android 8.0 is expected in Q3 2017 - but there's no specific date set yet. Developer Preview 3 has been available as of June 8. Developer Preview 4 is expected in July, followed by the long awaited final release.

Android 8.0 is Expected to Release in Q3 2017

Android 8.0 is Expected to Release in Q3 2017. Source: AndroidPIT

Wrapping up: With all these features, there is no doubt that android O is going to create revolution in the world of smartphones. While users are getting ready for a great smartphone experience, the app developers are trying to upgrade their apps to become compatible with the new version. To scale up in the market, it is necessary for App development companies to get in line with Android O - the sooner the better. So, get your apps ready. Mobile App development is winning in the new digital economy. Select Best Android Mobile App Development services in MENA region via eDesk HUB or If you are a mobile app developer located in United States, you can create your customized professional app developer profile. Add your apps, works, and mobile app development company information

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