The latest version of Android is officially here, and it’s called Android Oreo, as most people suspected. Google made the interesting decision to reveal the final name and consumer launch details of Android 8.0 coincidentally with the arrival of the solar eclipse over NYC, which is where it held its launch live stream today.
Google has traditionally used sweet treats for the names of its major Android releases, dating back to Android 1.5, aka “Cupcake.” KitKat (4.4) was the last branded release, with Google typically sticking to generic dessert names wherever possible. Oreo is pretty much the only choice for an “O” dessert that’s broadly and instantly recognizable, however, so it seems like it was almost inevitable.
Here’s what Oreo contains: The foundational cookie sandwich pieces are likely the boot speed and memory improvements Google made by changing the way the operating system works at a basic level to boost Pixel smartphone start times by up to 100 percent, and to improve the efficiency of use of system resources among apps and background tasks.
For the creamy filling, we have picture-in-picture, which allows you to run video apps on top of other tasks, on both phones and tablets. There’s also now Android Instant Apps, which provide access to apps instantly without requiring a download for limited interactivity; notification dots, which tell you when there’s activity within a specific app with a dot in the corner; and autofill for apps, which is like the feature on the web but for individual Android applications.
Android O also ships with more security features, including remote location, locking and wiping with Find My Device, and Google Play Protect, which scans for, detects and automatically deletes malicious apps on a daily basis.
Finally, Google has completely overhauled their emoji set, which is a big change for the primary language of millennial users everywhere.
Android O is rolling out to Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P devices soon, Google says, and anyone on the preview will be updated to the final version, as well. Pixel C and Nexus Player are next up for official updates, too, with other devices to follow shortly.