What’s new in Android Oreo

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What’s new in Android Oreo

Google officially launched Android Oreo. today. To be honest, it’s probably one of the least exciting operating system releases in recent memory. While the team did plenty of work on the backend, Android Oreo only includes a few noteworthy user interface updates. The highlight of this release is probably the new Notification Dots — and that sums things up pretty well.

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Notification Dots

One of the highlights of this release are updates to how Android handles notifications. With Notification Dots, you can always see which app has anything new to show you and a long tap on the app’s icon now brings up a menu with the last notification, shortcuts and a link to the app’s widgets and the app’s info screen in the Android settings.

A long tap on the actual notification in your drawer will also bring up a new menu where, once apps enable this, you will get more control over which notifications you want to see.

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Picture-in-picture

The other highlight in this release is the addition of a built-in picture-in-picture mode that lets you minimize videos and continue watching them while you perform another task on your phone or tablet. So far, only a few apps support this, but it’s an obvious feature for any video player and video chat app.

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Autofill

Autofill is a new built-in feature that allows third-party password managers like Dashlane and LastPass to work without having to use workarounds like the Android accessibility overlays. Most of the time that works just fine, but all too often, it fails. In Android Oreo, these services will be able to push credentials, credit card info, etc. directly to apps and web forms.

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Emoji

Google redesigned its emoji for this new version of Android and added 60 new emoji in the process.

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New Settings screen

Google also made some changes to the Settings menu. For the most part, that means a simpler menu structure that isn’t divided into separate groups (Wireless & networks, device, personal, system) anymore. That means some of the items that got first-class billing on the old screen are now a bit further down in the menu tree.

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Instant Apps enabled by default

Instant Apps allow developers to chop up their apps into smaller pieces that can run instantly, with just a click. There’s no need to install anything. This works from Android 6.0 up, but it’s enabled by default in this new version of Android and may just be one of the most exciting new Android features in recent years.

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Faster boot speed

On the backend, the Android team worked hard to make the system boot up faster (almost twice as fast on a Pixel, for example) and to ensure that your battery lasts longer. That means Android now restricts apps from using too much of your battery when they are running in the background.

I have definitely noticed the faster boot speed, but I haven’t noticed any major changes to my battery life, though standby times seem to have improved a bit.

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Security

Google is adding a number of new security features to Android. You’re not going to notice most of these in daily use, but they include Google Play Protect, which automatically scans apps and the rest of your system for security issues. That’s on top of hardened security, improved encryption support and other updates.

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