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A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2

Posted: , by Peter K.

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A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2

Google's developer summit, I/O 2017, kicked off yesterday with an official two-hour keynote that had Sundar Pichai and other head honchos unveil tons of new features and functionalities that will grace Google's ecosystem later this year. Among the more important ones was the newest Android O beta, which was released shortly after the keynote and is now available for adventurous folk willing to experience the latest improvements head-first.

Before we head on, make sure to check out our main overview of Android O, as well as the official summary of all the new features:


Being adventurous ourselves, we did just that. Here's the latest beta, with most of the novel features dissected:

Picture in Picture & Dots


Picture-in-Picture mode in action

Picture-in-Picture mode in action


Just as we explained yesterday, Fluid experiences envision Google's goal of creating a non-interrupted user experience. 

In case you're watching a YouTube video or in a video call with your mom, you might want to use the new Picture in Picture mode and send the video to a floating window while you continue doing what you were doing before. That's quite useful, given that certain apps like Google Duo are incompatible with Android's existing split-screen mode.

If you think Picture-in-Picture tops the cake, think again - Dots is another intuitive new functionality that lets you quickly explore each app's pending notifications on the fly.

Upon receiving one of these, a small dot will appear on the top right corner of the app; if you press and hold the app icon for over a second, a redesigned long-press menu will pop up.

Aside from showing you the notifications, it also provides access to some specific quick actions for most apps. You can then interact with the notification or simply dismiss it by swiping.

Long-pressing ann app's icon opens the new Dots interface
Long-pressing ann app's icon opens the new Dots interface

Long-pressing ann app's icon opens the new Dots interface


Easy access to widgets


While it's not a major feature, the quick access to an app's widget is a welcome and mostly intuitive addition to Android O. Long-press an app's icon and tap the checker icon at the top to access the available widgets of the app and add any of them to the home screen. It's never been more intuitive to see what apps come with widgets on deck.

The "i" icon immediately to the right of the checker icon does just what you suspect - opens up the corresponding app's info panel, where you can micro-manage its various aspects.
It's now easy to see what apps offer widgets
It's now easy to see what apps offer widgets

It's now easy to see what apps offer widgets


Quick Settings redesigned, again


The new Android O beta introduces a new color scheme for Android's Quick Settings shade. Previously employing a dark gray/teal color combo, Android O's newest shade is now fashionably grayscale, with dark icons plastered over a predominantly white background. How are you liking it? 

A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2

Night Light now employs a slider


The nifty feature that turns your screen amber in order to help you fall asleep faster, Night Light, now comes with a slider that lets you fine-tune how much blue-light reduction you want to have.

A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
 

Icon shape selection


Squircle, cylinder, or square - you can now select stock icons' shape. Mind you, it's strictly a Pixel Launcher feature as of now, and who knows if it will make it to the final build at all.

A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2

New emoji!


Let's face it, Google's stock emoji have always looked a bit weird, but luckily for all millennials that practically live in Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and whatnot, Google's aiming to redefine their emoji game. And what's a better way of doing that than overhauling the emojis themselves? Good riddance, blobs, you're succeeded by a much more expressive and non-ambiguous bunch of emojis that are rounder and way more colorful than before. Overall, a good visual change that gets a seal of approval! 

A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2

Gboard live transliteration


Google is definitely not forgetting its Gboard keyboard and is supercharging it with new live transliteration feature. Currently with a host of languages, it lets you key in text in Latin and it will be automatically transliterated to Sanskrit, Bengali, Manipuri, Malayalam, Mathili, and so on.

A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2
A first look at Android O's new features: Here's what arrived along with Developer Preview 2




11 Comments
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posted on 18 May 2017, 09:54 1

1. samgsam (Posts: 26; Member since: 24 Mar 2017)


Good to know that Indian languages are supported. We indians too find it difficult to travel to new places due to different language in southern and eastern parts of india.

posted on 18 May 2017, 14:53 2

7. bucky (Posts: 3133; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


no offense but you guys seem to be finding your way every just fine.

posted on 18 May 2017, 18:21

10. thecorrescode (Posts: 38; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


our nose is also finding it difficult to get near indians.

posted on 18 May 2017, 11:26 2

2. brasstax (Posts: 406; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Picture in picture is ages old for Samsung users

posted on 18 May 2017, 16:59 1

9. vincelongman (Posts: 5068; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Picture in picture is ages old for all Android users

Now Google's made an official API for Picture in picture
So now any Dev can use without coming up with their own version or using a third party library

posted on 18 May 2017, 12:01 1

3. Khyron (Posts: 298; Member since: 28 Sep 2015)


Dos had've been for ages con IOS

posted on 18 May 2017, 13:24

4. applesnapple93 (Posts: 76; Member since: 06 Jan 2016)


not impressed. I guess the emoji's are good because the google ones do not line up properly with other OS. but overall this is gonna be a confusing redesign. not liking the BRIGHT quick settings....

posted on 18 May 2017, 13:41 1

5. MrElectrifyer (banned) (Posts: 3960; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Was almost impressed by the Easy Access to Widgets section. Was expecting pop-up widgets like Action Launcher or BlackBerry's launcher now being integrated with the OS and usable via Nova Launcher. But alas, disappointed...

posted on 18 May 2017, 13:57

6. Pitrich (Posts: 129; Member since: 13 Apr 2016)


Android and IOS is moving closer & closer to each other.

posted on 19 May 2017, 19:00

11. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14501; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Like as in boring?

Becsuse yes stock Android and iOS are boring.

Thats why i chose HTC before.because i liked the sense UI.
Motorola Blur was cool, but i didn't like TouchWiz.

But it is so much better.

Ios is boring. All you can do is launch apps. The phone has no other features. You cant even play with camera settings.

I paly with the settings to test seeing what things do.

I like to use themes. I have gimmicks to play with like the edge screen apps. Whixh ahve also gotten quite good.

posted on 18 May 2017, 15:02 2

8. gadgeteer (Posts: 40; Member since: 06 Sep 2014)


Stock Android UI as lifeless as ever !

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