Ok Google: What's New in Android Oreo?

Google announces Android Oreo with refined notifications, better battery life, updated emojis and ‘the biggest change to the foundations of Android to date’.

Google has opened the packet on version 8.0 of its Android operating system for mobile devices. Oreo succeeds Nougat and Marshmallow, and follows a long-line of candy-themed Android releases.

Timed to coincide with the passing solar eclipse in the US – and prior to the announcement of the next raft of Android smartphones from the likes of Samsung and Sony – Oreo brings dozens of enhancements to Google’s mobile experience, yet those expecting a cookie jar filled with colourful new features may be disappointed.

Nevertheless, under the covers is what Google calls ‘the biggest change to the foundations of Android to date’, promising more users will be able to enjoy Oreo sooner, safer and for longer.

What’s New in Oreo?

Headline features in Android Oreo include better battery life, improved usability, and measures to reduce so-called ‘notification diarrhoea’:

  • In-app autofill: already a common feature in web browsers, logins to popular apps can now be automatically populated too.
  • Notifications: Discrete dots appear on the corner of app icons to reveal the presence of a notification from that app. A long/force press on the icon reveals actionable notifications. Long overdue. Also new is notification snoozing and notification categories.
  • Picture-in-picture: continue watching a YouTube video while checking email, or check your calendar while on a video chat.
  • Background limits attempt to hobble battery hogs by imposing restrictions on infrequently used apps.
  • Emoji makeover: over 60 new emoji, with many more redesigned to look more like other platforms’ implementations. Bye bye, blobs.
  • 2 x boot speed: anything that improves time-to-productivity must be good, but given that most of us tend simply to lock our phones between uses rather than switch them off, the benefit here is minor.
  • Smart copy and paste attempts to bring a little more intelligence to the traditionally tricky activity, selecting entire addresses or phone number and suggesting appropriate activities for selected text such as calling, emailing or opening a map.

Oreo Rollout

Google Android Oreo

Image: Google

Google has submitted Android Oreo to mobile networks and manufacturers for certification and testing. At this point, it’s up to them when they choose to push Oreo out via an over the air (OTA) update. Many hope it will be soon, but history might suggest patience is required.

However, Google hopes its new modular architecture, also delivered in Oreo may speed this process. Project Treble, announced prior to the Google I/O developer conference this year, attempts to make rolling out Android easier, faster and less costly.

A new ‘vendor interface’ now sits between the device-specific vendor implementation code and the Android OS framework code, reducing the amount of code that needs to be reworked when a device is updated to a new version of Android.

It’s a great idea in theory, but time will tell how much of a real-world difference the change makes to the speed at which existing handsets get shiny new Android releases.

How to Download Android Oreo Straight Away

However, eager beavers hungry for some next-gen Android action can precipitate their Oreo feast by registering their handsets with the Android O Beta programme.

Visit the Beta portal, sign in with the Google account to which your compatible handset is registered, agree to the conditions and you’re good to go.

Google’s own pixel phone is one of a handful of devices that are ready to roll with Oreo right now.

The full list is:

  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus Player
  • Pixel
  • Pixel XL

Within a couple of minutes of registering our Google Pixel XL, the System Updates menu revealed that the Oreo 8.0.0 release was ready to install.

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Should Amazon be doing more to ensure high availability for its EC2 customers?
With the global distribution of Amazon it should be easy to only offer services which have an instand failover to another location.
If you have customers that require High Availability and are paying a premium for it, they should be able to depend on the provider to deliver on the SLA
They offer high compute power and scalability which can translate into massive revenue however the achilles heel has been the uptime lately. This keeps up and Netflix, Dropbox, Box, etc. will be taking their business elsewhere.
Here's the problem which this article does not address. Companies like Netflix tout (I would call 'preach') about their resilience or "Highly Available Architecture at Netflix" (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dekV3Oq7pH8 ) but as soon as there is a problem, they blame AWS rather than take responsibility for the app architecture they developed. The hypocrisy is the problem, not 'cloud vs data center'. This is compounded when cloud experts white wash the hypocrisy.
All data centers are as robust as their weakest link which is human resources and poor procedures. We are colocating our Data Center to a hosting provider and we manage our own equipment up to the Internet connection. We have uptime way better than AWS.
This kind of service needs to be perfect, not 99.9%.
It should encourage users to sue multiple availability zones and multi region solutions by changing the pricing structure.
As more and more of the web come to depend on this paid service, it only logically follows that more should be done to ensure availability.
high visibility
Downtime is unacceptable when paying for a vendor solution.
good uptime for cloud
Availability, although expected as part of the cloud "silver bullet" is rightfully in the solution architects hands not the infrastructure providers hands. Geographic diversity in addition to provider diversity is the correct way to deal with availability. EC2 is already more resilient than a single hardware component found in a physical infrastructure, therefore they are meeting the requirement of exceeding a physical solution.
It is a big control gap that developer have access to a production environment, this a significan out of control that need to be audit more often, so AWS needs to show that those controls are in place.
If there no 100% availability many customers will go for their own centers just to keep their business needs up whenever they need that. New and really highly available, scaling out systems allow that, while keeping price as low as possible.
Customers should get more from a service than what they can do on their own.
Transparent distribution between regions should be architecturally inherent. Failover should be immediate and transparent. Backup should be distributed too.
If cloud technology is to be considered as a viable option for enterprise computing then outages must be on a much less frequent basis.
I believe that the 23 hour outage on Christmas Eve was over the top. Most businesses will understand an hour or two here and there but a full day of downtime unacceptable.