Google has detailed a list of features that its new Android O operating system will boast and while there’s not much ground being broken, the operating system does improve on many Android quirks.

The battery life of a device running O has been improved. A report by The Verge reveals that this is done by limiting the resources an app running in the background would use.

For instance if you have Uber running and then open Twitter to catch up on memes, rather than Uber using the GPS to get your location, the operating system will tell it your last location. Once Uber is in the foreground however it would be able to use any resources it requires.

As for the quirks, Google has said that Android O will feature something called smart text selection. This quality of life improvement makes it easier for a user to select text so if for instance you want to copy a mobile number and tap the the text Android O will determine that all you want is that number and copy it. No more fiddling with tiny cursors, yay!

Those that chose iOS over Android may recognise this next feature – notification dots. Now apps that have notifications will feature a dot. Sadly unlike in iOS which displays the number of notifications within an app Android O will simply display a dot and a user will have to open the app to find out more.

What is cool about notification dots however is that users can long press on the app and interact with the notification.

Watching me, watching you

Android O will introduce picture-in-picture which allows YouTube Red users to carry on watching a video while they do other things.

We hope that this feature will be extended to include all YouTube users at some stage.

Finally, Android O will also boast a security enhancement in the form of Google Play Protect. This feature will scan a user’s apps to make sure they haven’t compromised the security of the device. What is unclear is whether this feature will also scan apps which have been side-loaded and how it will treat them.

So while Android O doesn’t exactly feature anything ground breaking it does appear as if Google is trying its best to improve the operating system for users.

The OS proper is expected to be released later this year but if you want to test out the beta and own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel or Pixel XL you can sign-up for the beta here.


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.