All About Android 8.0 Oreo

The details on version 8 (aka Oreo) of the Android operating system

Android oreo
Android

Version 8.0 of the Android operating system, also known as Oreo, was released in 2017. Here’s a list of all the important features in Oreo.

Improved Battery Control

Android 8 improves management of your smartphone or tablet battery so you can get more life out of your device. This version does this by limiting two features that run in the background: the number of processes apps perform and the frequency of location updates.

If you want to see the effect of Android 8's power-saving features on your device, or you want to control your battery usage more closely, the battery settings menu gives you powerful information including:

  • How your power drain corresponds with your device usage.
  • A list of the apps that require the most battery power.
  • How many individual apps are draining your battery, both when the app is open and when it’s running in the background.

Oreo Offers Wi-Fi Awareness

The new Wi-Fi Awareness feature in Android Oreo recognizes that another Android device has a Wi-Fi connection and will create an ad hoc Wi-Fi network on your smartphone or tablet. This feature allows your device to connect with another Android device that doesn’t use the same data carrier as yours.

Malware Protection: The Vitals App

Android Oreo doesn’t require you to download a separate app for malware protection (unless you want to). The new Vitals app comes pre-installed with Oreo and you can access it at any time to learn what malware Vitals has been tracking and destroying.

Great Bluetooth Audio Support

Android Oreo comes with support for high-quality, wireless Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and speakers. If the wireless audio device requires your smartphone or tablet to use the Sony LDAC or AptX technologies, and you’re running version 8, then you’re good to go.

Notification Channels to Priorize Info

Android 8 categorizes app notifications you receive into channels.

This version prioritizes your notifications into one of four channels, from most to least important:

  • Major: These are notifications that need your attention right away. For example, if you’re playing music on your smartphone or tablet, then you need to have the music controls available within a notification.
  • People-to-People: These notifications are messages from others via messaging and social networking apps.
  • By the Way: These are less important notifications that you may want to look at when you get a chance, such as a weather advisory.
  • General: These are all the notifications that don’t fit into the three channels above.

An app may have different channels for its different notifications. For example, a traffic app will likely categorize a traffic accident in your area as a Major notification, but will place a slowdown happening 50 miles from your current location in the By the Way channel.

Version 8 displays notifications in the Major channels at the top of the notification list, and these notifications may take up to three lines on the screen. General channel notifications appear in one line of gray text that says you have more notifications; you can view them by tapping on that line within the list.

Not all apps offer notifications, but if you want them, then look in the app description (or contact the developer) within the Google Play Store or your preferred third-party Android app store.

Notification Dots

If you’ve ever used an iPhone or iPad, you’ve probably seen the little notification buttons or dots next to an app icon or folder. These dots include a number and tell you that you need to open the app to do something. For example, a red dot that contains the number 4 next to the Apple App Store icon tells you that you need to install four app updates in the that app.

Android has had notification dots for a while.

Now Android 8 duplicates iPhone and iPad dot functionality by allowing you to tap and hold on the app icon or folder that contains the dot, and then you can view more information or perform more actions.

Notification Snoozing

Android Oreo also gives you more control over what you see in your Notifications screen by letting you “snooze” your notifications. That is, you can hide notifications for a specific amount of time. When the time elapses, you’ll see the notification on your screen again. It’s easy to snooze a notification:

  1. Tap and hold on the notification entry in the list, and then swipe right or left.
  2. Tap the clock icon.
  3. In the menu that appears, choose when you’d like the notification to reappear: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour from now.

If you decide that you don’t want to snooze the notification after all, tap Cancel in the menu.

Note that if you have an ongoing notification, such as one where you remind yourself to take medicine at a certain time, then you won’t be able to snooze a notification.

And Change Notification Settings, Too

Within the Settings screen in Oreo, you can view the app channels within the app’s information screen. Here’s how you get there:

  1. Tap Apps on the Home screen.
  2. In the Apps screen, tap Settings.
  3. In the Settings screen, tap Apps and Notifications.
  4. Swipe up and down in the apps list until you find the app you want.
  5. Tap the app name in the list.

Within the app information screen, you have greater control over how you receive notifications by choosing from one of five notification types:

  • No sound or visual interruption
  • Show silently (the alert appears on the screen without any sound or vibration from your device)
  • Make sound
  • Make sound and pop on screen
  • Let the app decide

Picture-in-Picture

Android Oreo now offers picture-in-picture mode. If you’re familiar with how picture-in-picture works in televisions, the concept is the same: You can view your primary app on the entire screen and a secondary app in a small popup window in the lower part of the screen. For example, you can still view people in your Google Hangouts chat within the popup window as you read email on the rest of the screen.

You can only use picture-in-picture functionality if it’s a feature of the app you’re using. Here’s how to view the list of apps that can use picture-in-picture:

  1. In the Home screen, tap Apps.
  2. Tap Settings in the Apps screen.
  3. In the Settings screen, tap Apps & Notifications.
  4. Tap Advanced.
  5. Tap Special App Access.
  6. Tap Picture-in-Picture.

Within the Picture-in-Picture screen, turn picture-in-picture off and on for an app by moving the slider to the right of the app name to the left and right, respectively.

Android Version 8 Offers More Safety Features

In the past, Google has recommended against using any app store other than the Google Play Store. These days, Google knows that users like to use third-party app stores and they also realize that apps in the Google Play Store may contain malware. So, Android Oreo now scans every app you install from the Google Play Store or any other app store.

Android Oreo also employs many other new safety features:

  • The Google Chrome browser app now includes the Safe Browsing feature that constantly checks websites you visit for malware.
  • If you want to use Developer features in Android Oreo, you need to enable it using a PIN or passcode.
  • Apps now need your permission to use your lock screen.
  • If you need to change your password in an app, you no longer need administrative permission to do so.
  • App developers can no longer use Android ID, which is the software that uniquely identifies your device, to track its users.

Tons of Incremental Improvements

There are numerous small updates in Android Oreo that improves your daily experience with both Oreo and your device. Here are the most significant ones:

  • Google Assistant: Oreo now gives app developers the ability to access Google Assistant directly within the app by long-pressing the Home button, instead of making you go back to the Home screen and then long-press the Home button.
  • Smart text selection: Oreo recognizes such things as names, phone numbers, and website addresses when you select text in an app, such as in a memo or a webpage. For example, when you select a phone number, the selection menu that appears above the app not only includes the standard copy and paste options, but also contains a link to the Phone app so you can call that number.
  • Add a ringtone: You can add a custom ringtone using any sound file by opening the list of ringtones within the Settings app and then tapping the Add Ringtone button at the bottom of the list.
  • Smarter Autofill: Oreo remembers login IDs and passwords as well as other data you previously entered in forms, so you’ll save time logging in and filling out forms.
  • New Camera app features: In Oreo’s updated Camera app, you can double-tap on the screen to zoom in by 50 percent, and zoom back out by double-tapping on the screen again. There are also new icons next to the shutter button that make it easier to switch between taking photos and shooting videos.
  • Rounder emoji: The gumdrop-style (or, if you prefer, blob-style) emoji have been replaced with rounder face styles. What’s more, Oreo comes with 70 new emojis as well as skin tones for human emojis.