8 new features Android Oreo will bring to your phone

Google's about to change the way your phone works again. Here's what to expect

The age of Nougat is over. Google has officially unveiled the next version of Android - the super (sweet) Oreo, for smartphones, tablets and the rest.

Oreo isn't just meant for developers looking to improve their apps any more. After months in beta, you'll soon be able to download the full version to an array of Google's own devices, including the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player.

Now that Oreo isn't far away, it's worth finding out what to expect when it arrives in a few weeks time.

A lot of the enhancements might seem relatively minor, but they could collectively go a long way to helping your Android do more, act smarter, and last longer. Here's what to expect.

1) Better battery life

Google's Doze mode in Android Marshmallow and Nougat helped preserve precious battery life by keeping your phone in a lowered power state when in your pocket, but now Oreo promises to do even more to prevent apps from wasting your charge.

Oreo will limit what apps can do when they're idling in the background of your phone, which means cutting off broadcasts, background services, and location updates. Developers may need to find ways to ensure that their current apps can still function with these new automatic restrictions, but the end result should be more efficient, longer-lasting devices.

We should see a bit more speed around Oreo, as well, as the Android runtime is said to be twice as fast in some benchmark tests.

2) More notification controls

Thanks to a new feature called notification channels, you'll be able to customize certain kinds of categories of notifications from apps – that way, you can block some less-useful notifications and ensure that only the essential ones pull you out of your daily routine. This could be handy with filtering notifications from certain conversations in messaging apps, for example.

Oreo also lets developers change the background colour of a notification, useful when there's a critical alert, and can display more content in the collapsed form. You'll also be able to silence some notifications and have them return later, while developers can have timed notifications cancel themselves out.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, notification dots will now appear above apps that you need to check in on. Anyone who's owned an iPhone will be very much familiar with this routine, but it's still a much-appreciated feature for Android users.

3) Picture-in-picture mode

Oreo will provide a native picture-in-picture framework for video apps, allowing users to continue watching footage in a small window while navigating elsewhere.

This will be handy for continuing to watch, say, a YouTube clip or Netflix TV episode while reading email, summoning an Uber car, or navigating around the OS. Granted, the window will be absolutely tiny on your average smartphone, but it's still better than having to stop and start every time you need to do something else on the screen.

Sure, we've seen this kind of thing before on Samsung Galaxy Note phones, but those are basically dead now. What's old is new again.

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