Google just released a near-final version of Android O to beta testers

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The official release of Android O must be getting close, as Google has just pushed out the latest version of its public beta — and it’s performing reliably enough to be considered a release candidate. Android O, which will be version 8.0 of the mobile operating system, doesn’t contain a ton of major new features for users. But there are a handful. They include notification channels and dots on app icons to alert you of notifications, picture-in-picture video playback, a streamlined settings menu, and more.

Google has also promised significant Bluetooth audio improvements for Pixel and Nexus users. The Android engineering team last week held a Reddit AMA where they answered some of the nitty gritty questions about what’s different about O. Developers can now start readying their apps for Android 8.0 before it’s released to Google hardware later this summer — and then the long, gradual rollout for other devices will begin.

The company is also either having some fun trolling users or offering a hint about the software’s final name. The Easter Egg, which appears when you repeatedly tap on the Android version in system settings, now displays an Octopus.

But... What about Oreo?

Either way, if you’ve been holding off on installing Android O so far, now might make a good time. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to wait until the later portion of August for the full, public release. I’m downloading it now. See you on the other side.

Comments

Well, the Octopus is black and white on a blue background like an Oreo.

So not to jump to conclusions but . . . Oreo confirmed.

I am downloading now… Hopefully I dont regret it.

so far so good for me.

And Bluetooth seems improved. My Pixel XL usually hates my Beats X, but they’re holding strong… at my desk. Outside will be the real test.

This is exactly what I am hoping for. My Pixel doesn’t play well with the Bluetooth in my car. Slight audio drop out every ten to fifteen minutes. Minor but hope it is fixed. Just installed the beta so should find out on my way home from work.

You can make out an Oreo from the octopus’ mouth if you cover up the head and tentacles. Seems like a pretty direct hint towards Oreo. Then again, Kit Kat masqueraded as key lime pie for months.

Even putting the silhouette of pie slices in the notification bar. LOL

I know Apple developed app icon Widgets and badges first, but I like how in Andoid O,
You can go straight to the app Notification Message. You can’t do that even on the iOS Messages app icon.

That’s a neat idea for group messaging especially. I know FB Messneger Kinda does this but not like that.

They were available on Android through custom launchers and on custom ROMs for years man.
They are also just minor additions nothing exciting.

I used to love participating in the betas of OS updates for both iOS and Android, but since I only have one device and I need to use banking apps, I can’t risk upgrading only to find my particular banking app doesn’t work yet – especially now with AndroidPay/Apple Pay. So now I watch with baited breath from the outside!

and dots on app icons to alert you of notifications,

Hold on, has Android not had badges on icons for notifications before now ?

I use Nova as my Android launcher, and they’ve had it for over 7 years. Just saying that Android supports it…but I’m not sure if Google’s launcher does it

Is Google’s Android not the canonical version of Android ? Like does this mean the Pixel doesn’t support app badges ?

Correct – Pixel Launcher does not support badges – but you could install any other Launcher and get badges through it.

The change in Android O, is that notification badges are now created and provided through the OS layer – so whether a launcher supports it or not – it will be available for any app to ‘read’ into.

The flaw in your understanding is assuming that Google’s Android is the canonical version. Launchers are apps – not ROM’s. So you can use Nova launcher (or any other launcher that support gathering it) on Google’s Android ROM and get badges if you like on pre-O devices.

I guess I just have no idea what a launcher is. doesn’t matter much as I’ll never use it but it still seems odd to me that stock android until now didn’t have badges on icons.

The launcher on Android is basically an app that provides your "desktop" environment. Most people stick with the default from their phone manufacturer but for tinkerers there are replacements available from the Play Store that support power user extra features and customisations like the badges.

As I understand it, badges were originally the only lasting way to know you had a notification on iOS in the early days, right? Whereas Android began from day one (ish) with the Notification Center style, all your notifications are in the pulldown menu with icons up there until you dismiss them or open the app. The other thing is that iOS has all its apps in a grid at the base level of the home screen experience, whereas Android stashes them away and lets you only see the ones you want (Start Menu style), so the badges are less useful anyway.

My guess would be that they’re doing badges now because people have asked for them and what’s the harm, but I don’t see it being a major feature for people not switching from iOS.

Crazy. The idea of not having badges by default at the OS level feels very foreign to me as I’ve used iPhones for over 10 years now and it’s always been there.

I hope it’s something that I can turn off. It’s an annoyance on my work iPhone.

Does your work not allow you to turn the badges off ?

Ugh… I was looking for a one-stop turn off, like on Nova Launcher… not an individual app toggle… Thanks. (I only use the iPhone for email and calls as I do not care for the UI in the least)

Nope, they didn’t. Kinda weird.

It’s been possible in third party launchers, and OEM customisations have included it, but this is the first time Google has built an API for it. Honestly with Android’s notifications and app tray I’ve never found the lack of it a big deal, the app icons are much less in your face than on iOS.

You can turn them off , I don’t have any notifications for my email , but for other stuff i want the badge to be ‘in my face’ etc.

Yes through custom launchers, Goggle just now introduced this with their own launcher.

Been using the beta for awhile, updated with this version. Really, there aren’t many noticeable changes for everyday use. We are past the stage of massive change with each new Android or IOS versions I think. It’s all refinement.

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