Some Android releases represent massive sea changes for Google’s OS, overhauling technical underpinnings or introducing new design elements. Others are content to tighten up the screws and add polish to an already well-established platform.
The new release of Android for 2017/18 — version 8.0 Oreo — fits somewhere in between those two extremes. Android itself is pretty stable at this point, so it’s natural that broad, sweeping UX and functionality changes are less likely to happen with every new version. Yet although Oreo looks and feels a lot like the previous Android Nougat, contained within are myriad feature tweaks and low-level tune-ups that make Android more mature and powerful.
With Oreo, your phone (or, let’s be honest here, your next phone) will be able to view videos in the foreground as you use other apps in the background. It’ll become easier to keep track of multiple notifications from the same app, thanks to the new notification channels and notification dots features. Smarter text entry and autofill APIs will take the tedium out of entering passwords and other sensitive info. And Google’s “Project Treble” should help phones shipping on Oreo get faster updates to Android P and beyond.