Released in August 2017, Android Oreo 8.0 is the latest and greatest version of Google’s OS. It’s packed full of useful new features to add some extra magic to your phone, and we find out just what you can expect from this next big Android update.
Rather than listing every slight difference between Oreo and older versions, we’ve picked some of the most important and noticeable new features Android has to offer.
Fed up of your videos pausing in the background when you switch apps? Oreo’s new Picture-in-Picture or PiP mode gives you the power to undock your video and have it float on top of your screen. Have you wanted to watch a video while scrolling through your emails? Well, now you can!
So far, only certain apps support Picture-in-Picture, with Netflix only using it in the Android 8.1 update and the official YouTube app if you pay for the YouTube Red premium subscription. If you happen to be watching a YouTube video that’s embedded on a website, however, you can enjoy Picture-in-Picture by making your video fullscreen, then tapping the Home button to exit your browser. You’ll see your video hovering on your screen, where you can drag it around and drop it into a better position.
If you grow tired of endlessly writing out email addresses and passwords to sign into your favourite apps and websites, Oreo’s new Autofill feature is here to save the day. After you’ve logged in a couple of times, your phone will remember your details and offer to sign you in with just one tap! If you’ve been stuck trying to log into an app and keep mistyping the password, this feature is for you.
Search the web even quicker with Smart Text Selection. Simply tap on a word on a website or in a message to highlight it, and a related search bar appears at the bottom of the screen. Tap the bar to see related videos, search results and tasks you can perform! Tapping on an address will bring up map suggestions, and tapping on phone numbers suggests messaging and calling options.
Smart Text Selection only works in certain apps like Google Chrome for now, but we’ll see this feature working in more and more apps on your phone as time goes by.
It’s handy to know when an app has unread notifications, whether it’s your emails, social networks or even just WhatsApp.
One of the new features in Android Oreo, Notification Dots, makes your notifications even more visible! Your app icons will show a small dot in the top-right corner when an notification is waiting to be read. Long-press on the app icon to reveal a new menu, with a preview of your most recent notification as well as other options to choose from.
Sometimes, having to wait for an app to open before you can read your new messages can take up more time than you’d like. Notification Dots speeds everything up by giving you your new messages without waiting for apps to start up and sign in.
As with all previous Android releases, not every phone will get the update - and those that do might not get it straight away. ‘Pure’ Android devices like the Google Pixel and Nexus phones can already receive the Android Oreo 8.0 update, and are first in line for the Android 8.1 update we’re all waiting for.
Other manufacturers like Samsung prefer to customise Android, tailoring it to suit their phones a bit more than the one-size-fits-all approach of ‘pure’ Android does. Find out if your phone is due for an update and when to expect it by checking our list of manufacturers below.
There’s usually a minimum hardware requirement for each new version of Android, meaning your phone needs a certain amount of RAM and a fast processor before it can update itself. Android Go is Google’s attempt to bring the latest software to those phones which are normally overlooked.
Launched in May 2017, Android Oreo Go is a much more lightweight version of Android Oreo and shares most of the same features, yet is aimed at phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. The built-in apps take up much less space than the full Android Oreo versions, which makes them slower to launch but means that even phones with only a small amount of memory can run them.
We don’t know which phones are going to get an Android Oreo Go update yet, but expect to see phones running Android Go early in 2018.
Whether you’ve got the latest flagship phone or need a software update to your budget handset, Android Oreo is definitely something to look out for.