The long expected Android O brought along many new settings, features, and UI tweaks that weren’t seen before. Bound to travel along with it came many of weird bugs, and of course, several unfinished areas that allow potential future development and upgrades.
One of the new options that are bound to become one of the favorite ones is the system-wide snooze. It allows you to avoid dealing with any notifications simply by pulling it to the side and tapping the “clock” icon that will show up. After tapping the icon, the notification in question will be automatically snoozed for 15 minutes. This new option will be pretty handy in busy situations, where you can’t afford to deal with the notification at the moment.
New changes also include the once again reworked top of the notification panel. The status bar is now being shown to you even when the notification panel is open, and it will include Wi-Fi, your cellular and battery status, as well as settings gear and the expand button.
Another new feature is presented, and this one allows you to block only some of the System UI notifications. Android O aims to change that by bringing you separate controls over some of the notifications like screenshots and storage. You can do this by long-pressing a notification, or by digging through the settings until you find “notification categories”.
Some of the features of Android O aren’t totally new but instead brought back from the older versions. For example, the triple-function Quick Settings buttons. This Quick Settings layout was started by Google in Lollipop but were not there in Marshmallow and Nougat. Android O is bringing it back, and in case you forgot how it works, here is a reminder: tapping on the icon does one thing, tapping on the text does another, and the third option can be accessed by long-pressing the icon.
There are new things that are already seen as bad innovations, for example, the new Ambient Display design. For those who don’t know, Ambient Display is a low-power notification mode that starts when the screen is off. When you tap on the screen, or when the new notification arrives, the screen lights up briefly to notify you, but it does so with a white-on-black UI. The new design shows much less information when a notification first comes in and even less on later viewing.
Another thing that is changed compared to previous models is the settings app that has ben completely reworked. The new white theme is being frowned upon, but chances are that this will be changed when the device is finished. On the other hand, settings for different things have been placed into logical sections.
The pain of not being able to find settings that you need has also been dealt with by enabling multiple entering points.
New additions also include permissions for installing apps from outside of Google Play Store, Google Drive powered “Backup” screen and the new very customizable navigation bar.
There are three new options for the navigation buttons, and those include “Clipboard,” “Keyboard switcher,” and “Keycode.” The “keycode” can be anything that the device can experience, so there are many options when choosing one.
Another of the extra buttons, “Clipboard”, seems to be unfinished, just like the “Keyboard switcher.” For now, “Clipboard” will house the last item you copied, and it mostly resembles the regular “Paste” button. The “Keyboard switcher” still doesn’t have a clear function, since the keyboards already have an onboard switcher button.
Another fun new thing is the lock screen customizer that allows customizing the left and right shortcuts on the bottom of the lock screen. You can choose from any app on the device, and not only that but parts of apps as well.
Since it’s still a Beta, there are a lot of new things that don’t work yet. Those include a “Binderized HAL” checkbox, that doesn’t seem to do anything, and Picture-in-Picture, that should allow you to make floating video windows while using YouTube or Google Play Services, but that one doesn’t work yet either.
Notification badges are also coming, and they will allow you to see how many notifications one app currently has in the notification panel.
As far as first previews go, this one isn’t bad at all, and we can soon expect at least three new previews. Preview 2 can be expected in May, Preview 3 launches in June and Preview 4 is due sometime in “Q3” 2017, and each of these will bring Android O closer and closer to perfection.