Android 8.0 Oreo (codenamed Android O during development) is the eighth major version of the Android mobile operating system. It was first released as an alpha quality developer preview on March 21, 2017.
The second developer preview was released on May 17, 2017, and it is considered beta quality and the third developer preview was released on June 8, 2017 and finalizes the API. On July 24, 2017, a fourth developer preview was released which includes the final system behaviors and the latest bug fixes and optimizations. It was released to the public on August 21, 2017.
Google unveiled a statue of the dessert-themed update at 14th Street Park in Manhattan, close to the original Nabisco factory that created the first Oreo.
On March 21, 2017, Google released the first developer preview of Android “O”, available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and both Pixel smartphones. The second, considered beta quality, was released May 17, 2017. The third DP was released on June 8, 2017. The fourth and final beta release was released on July 24, 2017.
DP3 finalized the release’s API to API level 26, changed the camera UI, reverted the Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity levels in the status bar back to Wi-Fi left, added themed notifications, added a battery animation in Settings: Battery, a new icon and darker background for the Clock app, and a teardrop icon shape for apps.
On August 18, 2017, Google launched an eclipse-themed teaser website, stating the release date and name unveiling of Android 8.0 Oreo as August 21, coinciding with the solar eclipse in the US. The name ultimately turned out to be “Oreo”, as a partnership between Google and Nabisco, the producers of the world-famous cookie. Factory images were made available for compatible Nexus and Pixel devices later that day.
In android 8.0 oreo the Notifications can be snoozed, and batched into topic-based groups known as “channels”. Android 8.0 Oreo contains integrated support for picture-in-picture modes. Adding a custom ringtone, alarm or notification sound is simplified. The “Settings” app features a new design, with a white theme and deeper categorization of different settings. Android TV features a new launcher. Google claims faster startup times from a powered-off state, and improved battery life by minimizing background activity for infrequently used apps.
Android 8.0 Oreo adds support for Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN) for Wi-Fi based on Wi-Fi Aware, wide color gamuts in apps, an API for autofillers, multiprocess and Google Safe Browsing support for WebViews, an API to allow system-level integration for VoIP apps, and launching activities on remote displays. Android Runtime (ART) features performance improvements and better cache handling. Android 8.0 Oreo contains additional limits on apps’ background activities in order to improve battery life. Apps can specify “adaptive icons” for differently-shaped containers specified by themes, such as circles, squares, and squircles.
Android Oreo supports new emoji that were included in the Unicode 10 standard. A new emoji font was also introduced, which notably redesigns its face figures to use a traditional circular shape, as opposed to the “blob” design that was introduced on Android “KitKat”.
The underlying architecture of Android was revised so that low-level, vendor-specific code for supporting a device’s hardware is separated from the Android OS framework using a hardware abstraction layer known as the “vendor interface”. Vendor interfaces must be made forward compatible with future versions of Android; theoretically, OEMs would only need to perform their necessary modifications to the OS framework and bundled apps to update a device to a future version of Android, while maintaining the same vendor interface. The “seamless updates” concept introduced in Android 7.0 is updated to download update files directly to the system partition, rather than requiring them to be downloaded to the user partition first, thus reducing storage space requirements for system updates.
The operating system will offer a tailored distribution for low-end devices known as Android Go, which will be used on all devices with 1 GB of RAM or less. These devices will ship with platform optimizations designed to reduce mobile data usage (including enabling Data Saver mode by default), and a special suite of Google Mobile Services designed to be less resource- and bandwidth-intensive (such as YouTube Go). Google Play Store will also highlight lightweight apps suited for these devices.