Eleven takeaways from Google’s Android O Q&A

Almost dozen employees from Google’s Android crew held a Reddit AMA these days and invited questions about the next important Android to replace, model 8.0. Android O is slated to be launched — at the least on Google’s personal hardware — inside the subsequent couple months and focuses frequently in your phone’s “vitals” like battery existence and notifications. User-facing capabilities will consist of picture-in-picture aid on phones, notification badges, adaptive icons, and greater. Today’s Q&A consultation changed into heavy on engineering and API dialogue; it became truly meant to revolve around the internal workings of Android, but the team revealed some tidbits that ordinary users can also locate thrilling.

No, we still don’t have a call.

Is it Oreo? Oatmeal cookie? Who knows. Android’s engineering crew stated that O’s final branding will be introduced “later this summer season.” More specifically, it’s expected that Android 8.Zero will be released sometime in August. “There are so many snacks to pick from,” the team wrote.

Bluetooth audio at the Pixel must get an awful lot better in Android O.

Many proprietors of the Pixel and Pixel XL — myself protected — have complained about the Bluetooth audio overall performance on Google’s smartphones. There are regularly dropouts while listening via a few wireless headphones or through a vehicle’s audio system. Google’s engineers appear to be aware that matters aren’t remarkable, as they promise a significant improvement in Android O. “Our testing indicates that BT audio reliability is appreciably higher vs N,” wrote Tim Murray. ”We desire you notice the same type of upgrades.” Me too, Google. Me too.

But even the Pixel gained get each new Android O function.

Android O lets device makers if they so pick, supply customers greater manage over the color balance of their smartphone’s show. Unfortunately, closing year’s Pixel and Pixel XL won’t be capable of this granular great-tuning that might help ideal a display’s white stability. “Color control will now not be available on Pixel 2016,” explained Romain Guy. “It’s a device-specific function that calls for calibration of the display at the manufacturing unit floor, it is hence non-compulsory and can not truly be unfashionable-fitted on older devices.” Oh properly.

 

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Here’s Google’s more technical reason behind why the Blobmoji is going away:

“Over the last few years, Unicode has expanded the variety of emoji extensively and created new classes of emoji. In parallel new messaging use instances have emerged (ie: larger emoji used as stickers). The contemporary design gadget did no longer lend itself well to helping the increasing emoji set and those new use instances, so we wanted a sizeable visual refresh.”

Yes, the notification coloration is in reality purported to be white.

One of the most important early surprises of the Android O beta changed into a much lighter notification shade. Instead of sticking with the dark gray slide-down brief settings location that it’s utilized in current years, Google basically inverted things and became the heritage white and icons black. Some wondered whether or not it changed into a glitch or only a brief alternate at some stage in the beta, but it sounds like the Android engineers have settled on it.

“The overall aim was to align the lighter notification floor with short settings. As an outcome, we did transfer the default theme of quick settings and made it more steady.” So the common sense is that on the grounds that notifications have a light history, the short settings section must be comparable. This in reality simplest influences devices that run inventory or close to-inventory Android. As continually, different Android OEMs (Samsung, LG, and so on.) are loose to pores and skin away and use their very own desired topics.

Letting you follow custom shade themes to Android isn’t as easy because it sounds.

Perhaps you observed you’ve were given better flavor than Google’s designers and engineers and would love to use your personal color scheme on your telephone’s menus. It sounds simple sufficient in concept, however, Alan Viverette points out a number of the challenges that stopped Google from giving customers pretty that level of customization energy:

TL;DR Theming is not hard. Reliable and consistent theming are hard.

There are technical and logistical problems with theming. The technical side is largely solved in O with RRO help (thanks, Sony!); however, we nonetheless don’t have solid APIs for describing what can be themed or ok methods to affirm that current applications nicely help to the theme.

You may don’t forget a dark theme making quick appearances in previous releases — considering we already had a darkish Material theme, we didn’t just worry about APIs to explain the themeable houses; but, we have been not able to convert every existing app (ex. Calendar, Photos, different bundled and middle apps — even Settings became a challenge) to assist darkish Material theme and verify that it was nicely supported.

If you had, say, a shiny purple Hello Kitty theme that’s no longer a simple brightness inversion, you run into even extra complex instances of ensuring minimum comparison degrees for accessibility, selecting affordable secondary and tertiary colorings, etc.

Same goes for converting the color of the navigation bar.

Why can’t you as a minimum trade some thing simple just like the color of Android’s navigation bar (where the returned, home and recent buttons are) to your liking? It’s feasible on the Galaxy S8, but not on the Pixel or different inventory Android phones. “We are trying to find a balance between visible attraction and burn-in protection,” wrote Google’s Selim Cinek. “We initially considered colorizing the navigation bar the use of the same color as the popularity bar, but it did draw an excessive amount of attention to it, distracting from the content.”

“Using a gray would be the most secure manner to improve this, however that user revels in it as an alternative questionable.” (Samsung lets you change the navbar to gray, so perhaps that’s a diffused layout burn?) “We’re constantly evaluating how we can enhance the situation but and thank you for the concept,” brought Cinek.

The Android team continues to be trying to determine out the way to do pull software program right.

As the iPad nears a primary software revamp with iOS 11, the Android crew is staying mom on its own future plans for pill devices. Traditionally, Android slates haven’t in comparison very favorably to Apple’s pill — especially in terms of the sheer range of native pill apps available for each platform. Google’s Mike Cleron appears much less targeted on that and greater on identifying how the form issue should evolve next, writing the following on Reddit:

Honestly, I don’t assume pills is a space where we are able to meaningfully speak approximately “of the entirety.” It’s extra about figuring out what the next driver of innovation may be for this shape element. We are continuing to put money into productivity use instances (keyboard-driven UI, multi window, and so on) however additionally — in conjunction with masses of other oldsters in the industry — operating on what the next evolution of drugs ought to be. For Android, there are some thrilling overlaps with capsules given the growing fulfillment of Chromebooks and the current addition of the capability to run Android apps on Chrome OS. We are working to make the Android developer stories for each shape factors (capsules, Chromebooks) identical.
But they’re paying attention to the brand new iPad Pro’s ProMotion.

The buttery clean scrolling offered by way of Apple’s cutting-edge pill and its adaptive refresh price have stuck the attention of purchasers — and engineers at the Android group. Some agencies have already attempted similar thoughts with their personal Android hardware, cited Google’s Romain Guy, however, Google is in reality aware about the advantages, too:

Sharp has been shipping Android telephones with adaptive refresh prices considering the fact that 2016 (at the least in Japan). I’ve been disappointed with my 60 Hz telephones considering the fact that I’ve played with one of these Sharp phones 🙂 Adaptive refresh costs and a hundred and twenty Hz rendering is some thing we’ve been considering for years (it’s terrific for 24fps video playback!).
Android O won’t be a prime replace for smart watches.

Don’t assume Android eight.Zero to noticeably change a whole lot approximately your Android Wear smartwatch. “Android O will normally be a technical upgrade for Android Wear,” wrote Hoi Lam. “For instance, Wear will get history limits a good way to help keep battery with O and users can anticipate more controls over notifications via notification channels. In addition, we’ve got introduced new gear for developers to assist enforce complications and construct watch pleasant UIs.”

The Android AMA crew referred to that Android Wear 2.Zero added with it some technical modifications that permit Google to update a few components of the software without requiring a complete-fledged OS update, so the enterprise can trade matters in an extra nimble way.

Project Treble become the hardest part of Android O’s improvement.

With version 8.Zero of the working system, Google is making a foundational change to Android that it calls Project Treble. Treble is (in theory) presupposed to assist speed up software updates and lead them to less pricey and extensive for tool manufacturers. But constructing Project Treble was possibly the most important assignment that the Android crew faced whilst creating O. “Creating that interface become very deep surgery on Android,” wrote Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson. “Invasive, complex engineering that took a vast quantity of attempt to get right – media, photographs, vicinity, a lot.