What Android app developers need to know about Android O Preview 4

Published on Aug 07, 2017 in Android Developers Resources
What Android app developers need to know about Android O Preview 4

In what will likely be of interest to Android developers around the world, Google has recently announced the arrival of Android O Preview 4. Providing much-needed insight into the future capabilities of the Android O Developer platform has been quite popular and well-received by the mobile app developer community, particularly amongst professional Android app developers who are ready to begin developing new titles for distribution with this cutting-edge release.

Using the Android O Developer Preview 4, app developers have been able to test their products on the Android O system prior to its official release. This is obviously a smart move by Google, as it helps ensure that the release of Android O won’t cause an unexpected (and unwanted) lag in app releases while Android app developers struggle to accommodate unexpected changes.

Exclusivity has never been a preferred strategy by Google, which is why any mobile app developer can access Preview 4 by simply enrolling their device within the current Beta Program. Whatever your interests with the platform may be, you can quickly begin exploring the new features and functionality of Android O as they apply to your own app project. At this point, it’s entirely possible for Android app developers to test the full functionality of current projects on Android O. The minds behind the Android platform have expressed their confidence that mobile app developers should have little, if any, problems migrating their projects into Android O.

That being said, if any issues do pop up, Android app developers are encouraged to resolve them and then publish their apps using the current targeting level. This will ensure that Android O users will have access to them almost immediately.

For those who don’t follow the Android operating system closely, or are perhaps switching to this mobile app development platform for the first time, it’s worth taking time to better understand what features and “perks” are available for use. After all, given the fact that app development often represents a significant investment of time and money, it’s important to thoroughly understand the tools one is working with at any given time.

With that in mind, here’s a brief survey of what Android app developers can expect to find in Preview 4, and what might be around the corner in the final version of the program which will likely be unveiled soon.


Performance and power are two areas where Android O has been designed to surpass its predecessors. According to Preview 4, Android app developers will have access to a number of new tools which will augment and enhance connectivity with phone users, including notification channels, shortcut pinning, autofill settings, and picture-in-picture viewing. Combined with a number of additional benefits, such as background app usage limitations and core refinements in app functionality, users can rest assured that their phone will be running faster for longer between recharges.

What is particularly interesting is the fact that Android app developers creating apps for Android O will be forced to adhere to a variety of new “regulations” designed to protect phone batteries from unneeded or unexpected drain. As phone apps have continued to evolve in terms of sophistication, it has become an unfortunate reality that phone batteries are unable to stay charge for long periods of time. This is less a product of poor investments in smartphone batteries, but rather an inefficient app coding paradigm which disproportionately saps battery while offering little in terms of functionality in return.

Security and privacy have also been directly addressed within this new update. As the number of cyber crimes continued to expand, Google has taken a preemptive step in order to fully safeguard their Android platform against such malicious criminals. Apps will be limited in terms of their ability to access websites via the HTTP protocol. This is particularly important in situations where hacker-developed apps automatically access suspicious websites online, where they often help transmit viruses and other malware to phones.

Regarding privacy, Android has worked diligently to help keep both the identity of a smartphone user as well as their smartphone itself a secret. By addressing particular code permissions and APIs - such as the LauncherApps API, users can rest assured that both their phone and their own identity will not be broadcast or published with thorough notification.


We would be remiss if we did not mention the various visual changes that will be found within the Android O system. Almost immediately, users will notice that the phone’s lockscreen has been tweaked ever so slightly, with changes in font size and item placement (for example, the date and time found on the lockscreen have been adapted for a more trendy, contemporary look and feel). Such changes are not only a result of continued design analysis and refinement by the Android O, but also feedback gathered from countless Android app developers from around the world. User input has always played a formative role in Android releases, and Android O is no exception to the rule. It seems fair to say that the various improvements found in this edition of the Android app developer platform are a reflection of the needs and opinions of the global community of development professionals.

Speaking of visual changes, it should also be mentioned that the Android team has finally taken the time to “fix” the now iconic “smiling” emoji, which a seemingly unending number of users consider to be more of a grimace than an expression of joy.


Perhaps more than anything, the most important news we can gain from the release of Android O Developer Preview 4 is the fact that the actual release of Android O is imminent. It will be quite interesting to observe what progress a new operating system can bring to a mobile brand which, although carrying far more users than iOS, remains less profitable on app sales. This particular conundrum has likely proven itself quite annoying to Android app developers for years, which is precisely why a new operating system is being greeted with intensive interest.

If Android O were, indeed, capable of catalyzing a new era of profitability and popularity for Google and the technicians keeping the development platform afloat, this would likely be considered a massive success for all involved.

Until Android O is finally released, however, we will have little knowledge as to what potential this release has for narrowing the gap between Android and iOS in the app sales marketplace.

If you are interested in learning more about the Android O developer platform, we highly recommend keeping taps on related blogs, as the rollout of the full operating system could occur at any time. We hope you enjoy it!

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