Google aims to maximize battery life with Android O

Google released a developer preview of Android O, which seeks to maximize battery life by limiting app activity in the background.

Google released the developer preview of its next version of Android.

Android O, as it is called—the platform will eventually be branded with the name of a sweet—will succeed Nougat, which was officially released in August. The updated version promises to maximize battery life by placing automatic limits on app activity in the background, Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post.

“These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery,” according to Burke. “Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them. Check out the documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for details.”

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Android O also adds notification channels, which Burke described as “new app-defined categories for notification content.” The channels enable developers to give users more control over different kinds of notifications, blocking or changing each channel individually rather than managing all the app’s notifications as one.

Other new features include autofill APIs, support for picture-in-picture displays and adaptive icons that can be displayed in different shapes to help developers integrate them better with the device’s user interface. Android O supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codes such as LDAC, providing improved sound quality, and Google said it has improved keyboard navigation in response to increased usage of Google Play apps on Chrome OS devices and other larger form factors.

While the preview version of Android O is available online, Burke cautioned developers that the platform is still a work in process.

“The usual caveats apply: it’s early days, there are more features coming, and there’s still plenty of stabilization and performance work ahead of us,” he wrote. “Over the course of the next several months, we’ll be releasing updated developer previews, and we’ll be doing a deep dive on all things Android at Google I/O in May.”

Android-powered phones claimed 81.7% of the market, up from 80.7% during the same period a year prior, Gartner said last month. Apple’s operating system ran on 17.9% of new smartphones sold during the quarter, up a tick from 17.7% the previous year.

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