Google Announces Android O with Impressive Battery Life

If there’s one thing that smartphone users always complain about, it’s the battery life of their phones. Google thinks it may have found the solution to a much better battery with its brand new Android O.

Android O, the upgrade from the Android N, is still in the testing stage. However, developers have confirmed that we’ll see some big upgrades compared to the previous model, specifically in regards to efficiency.

New Software Brings a Better Battery

Androids, in particular, have always had a problem with battery life. It’s not uncommon for cell phone users to carry a second battery to avoid the hassle of hunting for outlets. Android O is working to remove this problem.

A better battery with each smartphone model is nothing new. Most smartphones get a slightly better battery every time they come out with a new model. But Android O’s impressive new battery life is actually due to a software upgrade called Background Limits that’s designed to improve the battery through app use. It will reportedly reduce the use of apps running in the background so that the battery can last a little longer.

“The goal is to make apps, both old and new, less taxing on your battery by making the limits more transparent for developers,” reports Techradar. “If it works well in the final release, this is one of those features that could be big for supported devices.”

Software Could Interfere with Apps

As for the actual workings of this new software, Android’s VP of Engineering, David Burke, says there are some key changes it will make. “We've put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”

Basically, it means that your apps probably won’t refresh while the app isn’t open or apps that don’t need location services will automatically be turned off. Broadcasts also won’t be engaged until the app is opened rather than downloading in the background.

Some have expressed concern that Background Limits will impact the way some apps work. It’s possible that some apps won’t work properly with Background Limits on, but it’s something that app developers will have to take into consideration when making updates for Android. Technology always advances, and when major developers like Android make a change that could affect apps, independent app developers almost always adjust accordingly.

Improved Notification System

Along with a better battery life, the Android O announced a new and improved notification system. It’s not too much of a change to the typical notification system, but it now comes with the option to organize notifications into app-defined categories or channels.

It’s designed to give users more organized control over what crosses their screens. There are also new visuals and grouping so that consumers can better see what’s going on with each channel.

It will essentially categorize notifications into multiple like-minded groups. Notifications from retailers will go into one channel while more personalized notifications from email and social media will go into another.

With the categorization, you can move things around and customize the channels however you like. You can also stop notifications more efficiently and find ways to customize app behavior so that it better fits your interests. The ability to adjust individual notifications is also available.

There’s also the exciting feature of snoozing notifications so that you can view them at a later time. That way, you don’t forget about something when you’re too busy to look at your phone.

Other Features Announced

The extended battery life and unique notifications system are the two most unique changes to the O system, but there were a variety of other updates to expect with this new phone. Among the newest changes to the typical Android system include:

  • Autofill APIs
  • Picture in Picture (PIP) displays
  • Font resources in XML
  • Adaptive Icons (apps displayed in the shape and color of your choice)
  • Improved connectivity
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Audio API for Pro Audio
  • WebView enhancements
  • Java 8 Language APIs
  • Partner platform contributions

You can read more about each of these features on Android’s developer website. Ultimately, each upgrade is designed to make the Android phone faster and easier to use.

These early announcements have been slightly vague, but Android promises further clarity and new announcements in the future.

“Over the course of the next several months, we'll be releasing updated developer previews, and we'll be doing a deep dive on all things Android at Google I/O in May,” Burke said. “In the meantime, we'd love your feedback on trying out new features, and of course testing your apps on the new OS.”

If you’d like to be part of the testing, you can download Android O on your phone now, but know that the software is unfinished and will likely come with glitches.