The unveiling of Google’s latest OS Android O has caused a lot of hype. This isn’t a surprise considering the significance Android has on mobiles everywhere, giving Android app developers a stable platform for their designs. Though Google has yet to reveal what exactly the ‘O’ in the Android O stands for, the excitement for the latest operating system can be owed to the release of three developer previews into the market.
To give us a clear idea of how the release of the Android 8.0 operating system would affect the development of apps, we asked the top mobile app development companies some questions about the new Android OS.
GOOGLE I/O, THE RELEASE DATE
Every year Google hosts an ‘I/O’ developer conference in San Francisco. It is a technical session that focuses on building internet applications. This year the conference was held at Shoreline Amphitheatre, and Google used it as a platform to announce their latest OS. To see what the audience thought we asked the top Android app developers what their initial view of Android O was.
We are developing on Android platform since Google released Android 2.3. Since then, there is a large number of features that Google has added in Android OS for user as well as for mobile app developers. With Android O, Google announced new and rich features. For example Android Go, it will lightweight the version of the upcoming Android O, it is designed to run on smartphones that have 1 GB, or even 512 MB of RAM. In addition, with the new Android, Google has released Tensor Flow library that now offers facial recognition and other machine learning features that are much easier to implement than ever before.
The new Google’s OS is focused on providing superior quality experience to the users. Every feature of the new operating system from data management to limitation on background apps has its eyes on making the users happy.
The name is a secret that hasn’t been revealed yet- whether the O means ‘Oreo,’ ‘Oatmeal Cookie’ or maybe ‘Oliebol.’ Anyway, we’d love to wait for the dessert. One thing that’s clear is that Android 8.0-O will change the whole smartphone experience.
So far, Android O will feature notification channels, picture-in-picture display, multi-display support and adaptive icons.
Android O is ostensibly shaping up to exactly what we expect from a brand like Google. Being in the industry for 14 years now, and stringing along mobile app development since the inception of mobile apps, we have witnessed some terrific technology advancements. Android O, I believe, is one among them.
Its Project Treble is one such transformative feature. Because earlier Android’s success on the fragmentation front was clearly limited as witnessed by only 7.1% users who are using Android Nougat until now. We expect a higher number this time.
That was definitely one of the brightest moments of the whole Google I/O conference that opens many new doors for mobile apps developers. The Android 8.0 operating system which is named “O” is available now to everyone with a compatible Nexus or Pixel device. This shows clearly, that Google is really taking into consideration its users feedback and that’s great! And if the suspected name will be confirmed, Android Oatmeal Cookie refers perfectly to Google’s plans to make improvements in this OS version vital features.
It’s been a while since the Google I/O, so now we can take a closer look at the new Android version. First of all, there aren’t many changes for an ordinary user - the same material design conception, runtime notifications, etc.
The improvements relate mainly to the internal functionality and optimization of individual modules. The most notable changes refer to the notifications (added channels, improved visuals) and the launcher. We can say that the new Android version is rather just a logical improvement of a previous version than something innovational.
THE BEST ANDROID O FEATURE
It’s clear that this new release has been well received, the best Android app developers have big expectations. To understand why, we asked them which of the new features they thought were best.
From the app developer point of view, I believe the web-view betterments and multi-screen options are the best. They not only give a chance for a mobile app to be active on another, but also backs every app with Google’s security guard.
Whenever we compare iOS and Android, there’s one thing Google’s Android always lacked, ‘fragmentation’ i.e. updates. But this new release is going to make it easier and faster for smartphone manufacturers to update devices to the new version of Android. There’s this debut of Project Treble that will be a breakthrough to the lowest-level of system architecture of Android till date, and it is said to allow vendors to roll out Android updates without having to wait for chip manufacturers. We are waiting to develop apps on this new updated version of Android.
Besides, Android O has worked on the phone’s battery life, which is a major concern for users. The more visible changes include a streamlined Settings menu, which Google has named as Notification Dots, where a long press action on the Home screen app icons with active notifications will pop up a short, tiny colored bubble beside an app icon such that shortlink notifications that can be read from the screen itself. This is cool and time-saving!
One thing that was vital for this Android 8.0 update is the OS optimization, where they will set wise limits to the mobile apps running in background for long, and eating up the battery.
If all the Google’s promises confirm, Android O devices boot twice as fast and all apps run faster and smoother by default. That’s an excellent news for every app user and Android app developer – thanks to it the mobile app market can grow even more! Google also shows that it cares about its users security by implementing a feature called Play Protect, which installs every app on a per-device basis in order to keep things ultra-secure. This could convince even the most stubborn mobile user on the installation of more apps on their phone so again – great news for Android app developers!
The most significant thing for users is the increased operating time of the device - Android has developed the same solution which is used by iOS for a pretty long time. Now applications won’t be able to work constantly in the background mode (as it was previously), and this is what exactly affects the battery life. At the same time, it will cause some problems for mobile app developers since they’ll need to rewrite a lot of existing code.
Also, context menus for the icons in the launcher look really good, but this feature is realized only in a couple of apps for now, Instagram for example. The coolest news for app development companies was the official support of Kotlin - a new programming language by JetBrains, starting with Android Studio 3.0 (it’s still early access).
From a user point of view, we would like to say Picture in Picture feature is the best new feature because now the user doesn’t need to pause or stop a video to complete other works like web browsing or chatting. With Picture-in-Picture users can enjoy videos while doing other work in the smartphone.
From a mobile app developer point of view, we would like to say New Notification template, icon badges, background app limit and fonts in XML are the best new features. In the past version of Android, if the app developer needed to change the font type, they had to explicitly add those font TIF files but from Android O, the mobile app developer doesn’t have to worry about font modification. Now multiple fonts are part of the SDK itself.
THE WORST ANDROID O EVOLUTION
Unfortunately, every software and operating system has its weaknesses. To get a complete review of this latest advancement, we asked the mobile app developers what they thought the worst features of the Android O are.
As of now, we can’t comment on the worst features because it’s when the users start facing a problem, we get to know the real weaknesses of a hardware system. It may happen that this colored notification dots will slow the overall performance speed; however, as of now, the announcements keep it sorted that Android-O will include faster boot-up times, better performance and an improved battery life. We will get to know eventually if some new addition will be bothersome.
With the biggest Google’s issue finally fixed (we are talking about security flaws) how could we be complaining about anything? That better performance and improved battery life combined, give a truly superior OS system. Hope that everything will be as good as it sounds when it is released for the common use.
Adaptive icons (even in official Google apps) don’t look very good, though the idea is great. Let’s hope that this problem will be fixed before the release. Also, a new notifications design has made a turn for the worse, according to some recent feedback. The restrictions for working in the background mode may be a minus for some apps, however, this is a necessary step that will provide significant improvements for end users.
We can’t say at this point which one is the worst feature, but we can say that Android is one step behind Apple’s iOS in terms of AR. Apple AR Kit will make Augmented Reality app development much easier and with better user experience whereas Android O will lack this.
Android is an open source OS, many number of device manufacturers provide Android compatible devices with their own customisations, which somehow affects the quality of the whole Android app ecosystem, though it helps in quantity in a big way.
I don’t think there are any bad features of Android O as of now, but one that is going to be challenging for the mobile app developers is the data management feature. Now we will have to put in an extra effort to ensure that the apps don’t take up more space than allotted by Google for the app plus its cached data.
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FEATURE OF ANDROID O
What’s interesting about Android O is the possibilities that it presents. Android app developers are unanimous on the fact that this latest release will present them with a range of opportunities. The question is what are they and how will they affect the future of Android app development.
The great benefit for Android app developers will be definitely the Google Play Console Dashboard. This feature is aimed at app developers only. It will display performance issues (such as battery drain, crashes, interface problems, etc) to help mobile app development companies resolve problems with their apps. This may significantly improve the quality of mobile apps as the issues will be resolved much faster than before. Also, the Picture in Picture option sounds very interesting as it may give user experience designers a true opportunity to show their off talents!
In 2017, the most of the new applications will be created with Kotlin and we’ll see the same situation as with Swift and iOS. Of course, no one will stop supporting Java, but Kotlin is a language that is significantly more convenient and modern.
The battery life of Android devices will be greatly improved, however, it will take a lot of time before all the applications will be transferred to the new Android version.
Having context menus on icons is a very useful feature, and we expect to see many apps make this development.
There will be more apps based on Firebase, because the platform offers a comprehensive, convenient and easy solution to many everyday problems that are faced by app developers and clients alike. The most interesting thing is that Apple doesn’t have anything similar. Therefore, we expect Apple to acquire another PaaS platform development startup.
1.Picture in Picture: using this feature, the app developer can build mobile apps that need not to pause or stop in order to open other applications.
2.Notification Badges: with the new notification system apps can display badges on the mobile device screen and users will able to get alerts.
3.Tenser Flow: the image recognition and mobile vision are easier than ever before.
I think the Font Resources feature will come out to be beneficial. The apps will now be able to utilize fonts in XML layouts in addition to defining the font families in XML
For me, the most useful is security enhancement, which is crucial to user’s personal data accessed by various apps on phone.
At the event Google I/O 2017, the company mentioned that users will have to grant permission to the app (external to Google Play) they’re using to download the APK, unlike earlier. So, the Google Play Protect will include a real-time security scanner on this next-O version that will scan apps coming from Google Play and protect users from malicious software and data theft.
ANDROID 0 AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES
2017 has brought us a range of new technology. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Machine Learning and mobile payments are gaining prominence. To understand the effect that Android O will have on the latest technology, we asked Android app developers what they thought the latest OS would benefit most.
Only mobile payments will receive tangible benefits from the new Android version since Google is very concerned with enhancing its mobile payments technology. As for the changes that have been made in Android O regarding Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Machine Learning, well there haven't been many to say the least. Tensorflow still will be used for Machine Learning, but as a library and not a built-in feature. AR and VR are still too far from widespread mobile use: it’s a hardware power problem at the moment. However, it doesn't stop creators of apps such as Pokémon Go, which can discharge your device within a couple of hours but can still capture the attention of the whole world for several months.
Google most likely will add built-in support for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Machine Learning, as Apple did with ARKit and MLKit.
We think the technology or feature which will get the big boost is Picture in PIcture, the first ones to apply this will be Facebook and Whatsapp. If you check the web version of Facebook has already implemented this feature. For example, if you start playing a video, you don’t need to stop doing other tasks on Facebook, if you scroll down, the video will keep playing and is always visible. I expect Facebook and Whatsapp to do this on Android O.
Android O doesn’t have a powerful SDK for AR, VR and Machine Learning yet. Probably these will be improved in the next couple of releases of Android.
Every technology will benefit but as per my observation, mobile payments will become easier with the auto fill option that the new OS is coming up with. It will save a lot of time and would make the platform more secure.
Android O update sounds promising for the mobile app developers, vendors and users, with new levels of security and productivity introduced.
The new feature of Android O Smart Selection relies on machine learning to recognize an address or a phone number on the screen. By double tapping the screen, a user can select a contact, and open Maps if an address is selected. Also, for app developers, Android will start supporting Kotlin programming language along with Java and C++.
The whole new OS and the new devices by Google are relying on machine learning, thus, the experts at Google are focused on weaving machine learning into core products for refining major real-world decisions. Google is constantly making efforts to push ahead its Artificial Intelligence and AR/VR gadgets- Google Lens and Google Assistant.
I believe mobile payments will get more secure with Google Play Protect not allowing spiteful viruses to enter the device and leaking the credit/debit card information.
A faster and smoother working phone with a longer battery life means a much better user experience ergo, more mobile apps users. Some people are afraid to use mobile payments as they think that it may “glitch” while paying and their money will be stuck somewhere on the Internet. Smoother working mobile devices will take this problem away.
VR and AR games/apps are incredible but what’s the fun of using them if they are draining your battery completely? With a longer battery life that problem is fixed. So as you can see it’s impossible to choose just one and we are really excited to experience the Android O improvements!
In the end, Android O seems to be a highly anticipated advancement. The mobile app developer’s primary concern seems to be the user’s experience. This comes as no surprise considering their goal to produce an app that will be used. The overall vibe seems to be clear, if Google is able to provide all that Android O is promising, this OS will definitely improve the user experience by focusing on two key issues: battery life and security. It won’t have all the features that the app developers crave, lacking Apple’s focus on AR, but then what operating system is perfect?
Linking of messages and maps, gesture-based actions and better battery life are a few of the perks of updating it to the next-generation Android O. We expect that the next-generation of smartphones and operating systems will be driving more of VR/AR/AI technologies.
Considering the next major technology shifts, most component optimization will be concentrated on camera/optics and interactivity for a fluid experience. But the only thing these smartphone giants like Apple and Google need to ensure is stringent security measures to avoid jailbreaks like it recently occurred with iOS 11 update.
We are yet to work on it to form any concrete opinión, but we sure hope that it turns out to meet what Google expected.
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