If you give a dev a cookie: Android 8.0 Oreo launches with great fanfare
Android 8.0 Oreo is here! What does this mean for developers? We take a closer look at this delicious new offering from everyone’s favorite mobile operating system.
Google launched the latest release of their popular Android mobile operating system yesterday. Timed to match the total solar eclipse sweeping across the US, it was somewhat overshadowed by the excitement of yesterday’s astronomical extravaganza. But never fear; the sun has returned and so we turn our attention to Android 8.0 Oreo!
What’s new in Android 8.0 Oreo?
Lots! This is the next update after last year’s Nougat. If you’ve got a Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X or Pixel C, you should be able to get this update as a part of a rolling schedule. (Or, you can check for the update in the settings menu!)
New features include things like Picture in Picture mode, faster boot times, and restricted background activities to boost battery life. Users can control their push notifications, so their phones won’t buzz every twenty seconds.
Just for devs!
Given how important the Android system is for mobile app developers, it’s no surprise Google has improved things for developers. Android Oreo is stuffed with new capabilities to help developers build better, more efficient apps.
Hopefully, you’ve already tested your apps against this new version. Google’s put out a very helpful video explaining how developers can make use of some of new features so that early adopters enjoy their experience.
Here Dave Burke, VP of Engineering at Google, explains a few of Android Oreo’s new capabilities, in no particular order:
- Autosizing textview: Use autosizing TextView to automatically fill a TextView with text, regardless of the amount. You can create an array of preset text sizes, or set min and max sizes with a step granularity, and the text will grow and shrink to fill the available TextView space.
- Fonts in XML: Fonts are now a fully supported resource type. You can now use fonts in XML layouts and define font families in XML.
- Downloadable fonts and emoji: With downloadable fonts you can load fonts from a shared provider instead of including them in your APK. The provider and support library manage the download of fonts and shares them across apps. The same implementation also supports downloadable emoji, so you can get updated emoji without being limited to the emoji built into the device.
- Adaptive icons:You can now create adaptive icons that the system displays in different shapes, based on a mask selected by a device manufacturer. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and uses them in the launcher, shortcuts, settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.
- Shortcut pinning: App shortcuts and homescreen widgets are great for engaging users and now you can let users add and pin shortcuts and widgets to the launcher from within your app. There’s also a new option to add a specialized activity to help users create shortcuts. The activity is complete with custom options and confirmation.
- Wide-gamut color for apps: Imaging apps can now take full advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps enable a flag in their manifest files (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).
- WebView enhancements:In Android Oreo, we’ve enabled WebView multiprocess mode by default and added an API to let your app handle errors and crashes. You can also opt in your app’s WebView objects to verify URLs through Google Safe Browsing.
- Java 8 Language APIs and runtime optimizations: Android now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the new java.time API. In addition, the Android Runtime is faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.
All in all, Android Oreo is a tasty treat for everyone to enjoy! This refined snack is a crowd pleaser and I for one will be updating, if only to get my hands on some of those new emoji. Head on over to the developers section for Android Oreo for a snack!