Google has announced that users can download the right now. 

The next version of its operating system will officially launch around October, but consumers can get a taste of the platform’s newest features early. As it’s still just a test version, some of those features might not work as they’re supposed to.

It will succeed Nougat, which was released late last year, and will introduce brand new functionality to Android smartphones and tablets.

Gadgets and tech news in pictures Gadgets and tech news in pictures

Google has focused on two main areas it calls Fluid Experiences and Vitals.

Vitals is the less exciting of the two categories, but is extremely important.

Google says Android O is designed to keep your phone healthy, maximising performance and battery life, speeding up start-up time and keeping it secure.

A clever new feature for extending battery life is ‘wise limits’, which will restrict the activity of apps running in the background.

Fluid Experiences, meanwhile, should make your device more enjoyable to use.

One of Android O’s most useful new features is Picture-in-picture mode for improved multi-tasking. It’s easier to use than split-screen, and will allow you to continue watching clips fro the likes of YouTube and Netflix while using another app without having to hit pause.

A miniature video window will appear on top of something like Gmail or Maps, and you can swipe it away when you’re done.

Another great new feature is Smart Text Selection, which uses on-device machine-learning to guess what text you want to copy in one app and make it available to paste in another.

For instance, if you were looking at a restaurant in Chrome and subsequently opened Maps, the keyboard would offer up its address as a suggestion.

There’s also Notification Dots, previously known as app badges, which let you see your notifications without opening any apps. Just long-press something like Instagram to see your latest Like or follower, right on the home screen.

Autofill for Android, meanwhile, lets you fill in forms quickly, on apps such as Twitter. It’s just like the Autofill tool on Chrome, and takes the pan out of setting up a new phone or tablet.

Android O is yet to receive an official name, though that’s likely to be revealed later in the year.


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