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Android O release date, name and features: Google officially reveals Android Oreo

August 21, 2017 11:46 PM
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Android O release date, name and features: Google officially reveals Android Oreo

Company finally announced what "Android O" stands for during New York event

Android Oreo, the eighth iteration of Google's mobile OS, has finally been officially unveiled.

The mobile operating system has a handful of new features and several optimisations on the last edition, Android 7 Nougat. Here we roundup the latest news about the latest Android operating system, as well as setting out its key features and availability.

21/08/2017: Google has finally revealed the official name of the next version of Android : Android Oreo.

The company unveiled the moniker as part of an event in New York that coincided with the solar eclipse - the first eclipse to span both coasts since 1918.

This name will probably come as no surprise to those who have followed Android through its various iterations; although some have suggested that it may be called 'Oatmeal Cookie' or 'Orange Jell-o', Oreo has been the favourite for some time.

While today is the official launch of the operating system, it isn't actually available on any devices yet. The company has said it will be coming to own-brand devices – the Pixel and Nexus ranges – shortly. There's no timescale for other Android devices as yet, but thanks to Project Treble it should be arriving to third-party devices quicker than usual.

21/08/2017: Google may have just inadvertently dropped further clues that its latest operating system will be dubbed Android Oreo.

The company released a Google+ post last Friday containing a teaser video related to the US solar eclipse, which Google is planning to use to reveal the name of its latest software update. The video's filename was GoogleOreo_Teaser_0817_noDroids (1).mp4, fuelling rumours that the latest iteration of Android will be officially titled Android Oreo.

However, it's possible that the filename was nothing more than a red herring. It was swiftly renamed to OctopusTeaser.mp4 after it was spotted by eagle-eyed observers, so it could be someone at Google attempting to mess with the legions of people trying to predict the upcoming software's name.

We'll find out what the official name of the software is this evening, which will coincide with the solar eclipse passing over the US. Google will be conducting a livestream at 7.40 BST.

14/08/2017: Android O could be getting its official release next week, according to rumours, along with the reveal of its full name.

The latest iteration of Google's mobile operating system was first debuted at Google I/O earlier this year, and has already gone through four developer previews. The final dev build was released late last month, indicating that the update should start arriving on users' phones imminently.

Many rumours have been circulating about when the official launch date will be, but according to prominent and time-tested leakster Evan Blass, Android O will start arriving on Google's Pixel devices next week.

August 21 coincides with a solar eclipse in the US, leading to speculation that the launch will be tied into the astronomical event. It fits the overall theme of the release, as an 'O' shape will be formed by the moon passing in front of the sun.

If this is true, August 21 is also likely to be when we'll finally find out Android O's full name. Google has a tradition of naming its Android releases after various treats, such as Marshmallow, Honeycomb and KitKat.

Android fans have been amusing themselves in the run-up to the official announcement by predicting what the latest version will be named after, with guesses including Oreo, orange cream and oatmeal cookie.

Oreo is currently the popular favourite, but skeptics have also pointed out that the only other time Google has named a release after a trademarked product is for Android KitKat - which was largely driven by a lack of treats beginning with the letter 'K'.

If Blass is correct, fans may not have to wait long to find out, however. As with all Google's Android updates, owners of Google's first-party Pixel devices will receive the update first, followed by older Nexus models.

25/07/2017: Google has released the fourth and final developer preview for Android O, marking the last hurdle before the software's official release later this summer.

The latest dev preview is a 'release candidate build', meaning that it's as close as developers are going to get to the finished product before the final rollout begins. This will allow developers to test their updated apps to check compatibility with Android O.

The preview will be pushed out as an over-the-air update to any eligible devices which are enrolled in the preview programme, including the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the Nexus 5X and 6P and more. The update can also be downloaded and manually flashed onto devices.

The final preview doesn't introduce any new features; instead, it focuses on improvements to stability, general bug fixes and other under-the-hood tweaks. The main goal is to ensure that when Android O arrives on users' smartphones, there are plenty of apps that can take advantage of all the shiny new features.

The stable version of the Android 26.0.0 Support Library is included with this release, as are the final APIs, which have been included since the third preview. A new version of the Android Testing Support Library is also soon to be released, which features new tools like Multiprocess Espresso, Android Test Orchestrator and others.

The newest version of Android is set to arrive with users this summer, most likely in August. The update will arrive with owners of Google's flagship Pixel phones, followed by older Nexus devices like the 5X and 6P.

Following the release of Android O, the timeframe for non-Google devices to get the latest updates should also be substantially reduced, thanks to the company's Project Treble initiative, which aims to cut out many of the steps needed for pushing out an update to users.

23/06/2017: Google hasn't officially revealed the codename for Android O, which is normally named after a tasty treat, but reports suggest it may be "Oatmeal Cookie".

One report spotted references to the dessert-themed name in Android 8.0 source code, noting frequent references to "oc-dev".

Of course, "oc" could stand for another dessert, but the find follows other sharp-eyed Google fans noticing references to "oatmeal_cookie" in slides shown off at Google IO earlier this month.

That doesn't stop the speculation around the term that usually comes alongside such an update, with many suggesting it could be called Android Oreo. Previous codenames have been Kitkat, Lollipop and Nougat, going further back to Eclair and Froyo (Frozen Yogurt), with Google setting up an Android character at its headquarters themed around the dessert of choice.

Android Oreo is generally available now (in theory, at least), having officially launched to the public on 21 August.

This wasn't, however, the first time consumers could try out the new operating system, as it was available as a public beta for some months prior to the launch.

As with all Android updates, it will roll out to devices in phases. Although the code for Android 8 was pushed out to everyone on 21 August, it's not yet ready for any devices. The company revealed, however, that it will be coming to the Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds soon, as they have already entered carrier testing. The Pixel C and Nexus Player will receive the update at the same time.

The company's new 'Project Treble' initiative (see below) should mean that fans without a Google-made device won't have to wait as long to get it as with previous versions, however.

One of the OS' key features will be a significant change to the software's underlying architecture, dubbed Project Treble. This will make it substantially easier for OEMs and device manufacturers to push the latest patches out to their products.

"One thing we've consistently heard from our device-maker partners is that updating existing devices to a new version of Android is incredibly time consuming and costly," the Android Developers Blog said. "With Project Treble, we're re-architecting Android to make it easier, faster and less costly for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android."

Project Treble will cut out some of the steps involved in the release process of Android patches, which have to be created by Google, modified by manufacturing partners and then further customised by actual device-makers before ending up on users' phones.

The change will ensure customers get the latest Android features faster, as well as being able to more quickly plug security holes. The slow speed of updates currently means that many devices can be left vulnerable for months (if not longer) while they wait for a fix to be rolled out.

Project Treble is currently included in the Android O developer preview and will be rolling out as part of the OS' general release.

Project Treble will cut out some of the steps involved in the release process of Android patches, which have to be created by Google, modified by manufacturing partners and then further customised by actual device-makers before ending up on users' phones.

The change will ensure customers get the latest Android features faster, as well as being able to more quickly plug security holes. The slow speed of updates currently means that many devices can be left vulnerable for months (if not longer) while they wait for a fix to be rolled out.

For the past several generations, Google has named its Android operating systems after desserts (sweet treats, really) and Android O is no exception.

The company revealed the "Oreo" moniker on 21 August in a post on the Android blog, which also marked the official commercial launch of Android 8 (Oreo's official name).

This is the second time the company has buddied up with a confectionary company for an Android nickname, with Android 4.4 known as "Android KitKat".

Source: itpro.co.uk

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