It may or may not be “Oreo”, but it’s almost too easy to presume as much. Especially considering how much Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer seems to be trolling us with the name. Just as mysterious as the name, however is what the next major Android version will bring to the table, With just two months before Google actually announces its existence, rumors of features for Android O are starting to come in and, suffice to say, it’s going to have some pretty significant changes.
Multi-taskers rejoice! Official picture-in-picture support, a.k.a. PIP, is finally coming. Actually, the PIP-related code was already introduced in Android Nougat but wasn’t enabled by default. Except for Android TV, where it does make sense. Soon, however, tablet and maybe even smartphone users will be able to watch their favorite videos while intensely working on that word document or spreadsheet.
Icons on the home screen and launcher will also get an upgrade, finally. In Android O, apps with activate notifications, like e-mail or chat apps, will soon be able to show badges, a.k.a. small numbers, showing how many notifications are waiting to be read. Some third-party launchers have had feature for a while now, but it doesn’t always work across all apps as it was never an official feature. Now there should be some regularity to those implementations.
Another icon-related new feature is “adaptive” or dynamic icons, like the ones on the Pixel Launcher. This just means that icons can change what they’re showing, depending on some condition. This is particularly useful in calendar apps which will soon be able to show the date instead of just a generic number. It’s probably worth noting that Android has taken quite some time to implement these two features that iOS users have already been enjoying for a long time.
Some Android O changes naturally also go deep. The next version could supposedly adopt Chrome 57’s recently announced background throttling feature. This, in effect, would try to lessen the resource, especially battery, usage of apps and services running in the background. This could cut both ways, as users might annoyingly find apps having to reload more often than before, almost like what some iOS users complain about.
Of course, all of these are based on leaks, so take them with a pinch of skepticism. If Google does choose to reveal of some these new features, it would probably do so at the upcoming Google I/O Developers Conference on May 17 to 19.