Following the footsteps of 2016, Google has decided to release the first developer preview of Android O fairly early on in the year. Today, Google announced that Android O's first developer preview is available for developers to start using and messing around with today. While Google has not yet confirmed that this is Android 8.0, it does seem fairly likely. Considering Google has jumped up a full version each year recently, going from Android 5.0 to Android 6.0 and Android 7.0 last year.
As was the case with the Android N preview last year, Google isn't announcing everything that is new in this version of Android just yet. But the main focus of Android O is battery life. This is something that seems to be common among new Android releases in the past few years, so this is really no surprise. To do this, Google is going to be aggressively managing what apps are able to do in the background. And keeping some apps from constantly waking up your device when its not needed, allowing the device to stay in deep sleep (which is what helps prolong standby time, and in-turn provides better battery life.
Google is also introducing "Notification Channels" in Android O. These are new "app-defined categories for notification content". Users will be able to change the behavior of each channel individually, and developers can give users better control over which notifications appear in their notification shade. Making it easier to deal with the countless notifications in your notification shade. There are also some changes to the visual aspect of notifications in Android O, making it easier for users to see and deal with notifications that are grouped together from the same app.
There's also adaptive icons coming to Android O. This is going to help developers better integrate with the device's user interface. Basically, this allows your app to display a different shape for the icon, on different devices. Some devices, like the Pixels sport rounded icons. And now with adaptive icons, you'll be able to automatically have an icon that fits in with the other apps installed on the Pixel smartphone. It'll also work well with smartphones that have heavy skins like those from Samsung, LG, Huawei and others. This will appear in the launcher, shortcuts, settings and anywhere else that the icon appears throughout the system.
That's not all that is new in Android O, and this is really just the beginning, but those are the big new features and changes. The first developer preview is available for download right now from the Android Developer website. Those that have the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL are able to install the developer preview. Remember that this is not a daily driver, so you won't want to install this on your main device, and if you aren't a developer, you are warned to stay away for now. As this is the first developer preview and there will be plenty of bugs, performance issues and more.