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Android O’s first developer preview now available to download

Updated Mar 21st, 2017 1:39PM EDT
Android O Developer Preview
Image: Ng Han Guan/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Following weeks of rumors and anticipation, the first developer preview for Android 8.0 (aka Android O) has arrived. On Tuesday, Google shared the latest version of its mobile operating system with developers, allowing them to explore some of the additions and changes that will be featured in the update.

As always, Google plans to go in depth on its latest version of Android at Google I/O in May, but for now, we have a host of interesting features to discuss from the first developer preview. Many of these features aren’t consumer-facing, but rather work behind-the-scenes to make Android a better mobile platform.

For example, the first bullet point on Google’s Android Developers Blog is about background limits. According to VP of Engineering Dave Burke, Android O “puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance” by limiting what apps can do in the background. This way, apps won’t take such a heavy toll on the battery life and performance of your device when they aren’t active.

Additionally, Google will introduce notification channels in Android O, allowing developers to group notifications together in ways not previously possible. For example, the developer of a messaging app “might setup separate notification channels for each conversation group created by a user.”

Those are the highlights, but other additions include platform support for autofill, picture-in-picture (PIP) mode, adaptive launcher icons, support for multiple displays and more, all of which you can see here.

You can download the factory image for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus Player from Google’s developer portal right now, but keep in mind that these previews are not intended to be used by regular consumers. If you aren’t a developer, but still want to check out the latest features of Android O for yourself, wait for it to reach the Android Beta Program in the coming weeks.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.