Google has made Android 8.0 Oreo official with an abbreviated live stream in New York—really, there wasn’t even a speech. Still, most of the features are available for testing right now thanks to the developer preview. If you haven’t had the time to play around with the dev preview, you might be wondering what this Oreo update is all about. Here are the three most important things coming to your phone in Android 8.0.
Android 8.0 will change the way it treats background processes, which could mean some apps work differently. However, it also means much better battery life (we hope). Before Android Oreo, developers could create apps that listen for a broad range of system broadcasts. When such a broadcast occurs (like a change in connectivity) a dozen or more apps might wake up and negatively impact system performance. That won’t happen anymore—developers must use more specific receivers and the job scheduler, which ensures apps in the background wake up more efficiently to get things done.
In addition, Android 8.0 correctly identifies apps that are running background services and are not connected to what you’re doing on the phone. So, a music app playing music in the background isn’t affected, but maybe Snapchat doesn’t need to be refreshing your feed in the background. Oreo is smart enough to idle these apps. They use less power and are only allowed to wake up occasionally to start services. The result of all this is better battery life.
Remembering long passwords is hard, but it’s also necessary to stay safe online. Password manager apps exist on Android, but they’re clunky and use a number of weird workarounds to help you copy and fill in your account details. That’s a thing of the past in Android 8.0. In this update, apps can register as autofill providers with the system to seamlessly log you in.
After picking your autofill provider in the language and input settings, Android will request login details from that app whenever you need them. The system can also verify with a fingerprint or secure unlock method before loading any account data. All the top password managers are on board with this feature including Dashlane, LastPass, and 1Password. App updates will be needed, but it shouldn’t be too long.
Watching video on your phone or tablet can be a great time, but what if you want to watch video while doing something else? Android 8.0 finally makes that a reality with picture-in-picture mode. This was originally developed as part of Nougat, but only on Android TV devices. Now, it’s on phones and tablets, too.
The app needs to have support for PiP video, but a number already do, including Chrome, YouTube, and VLC. To access the floating video player, start a video in full-screen mode and tap the home button. The video shrinks down to a window and continues playing. You can move, pause, restore, or close the video.
This is just a sample of what’s coming in Android 8.0 Oreo. Nexus and Pixel devices should have the update in a matter of days, but everyone else will need to wait at least a couple months.