Android O brings the ability to route your phone’s ringing through your Bluetooth headset, headphones, or speaker. Up until now, Bluetooth users have had to deal with having their device on vibrate and hoping that they notice the device going off, use the default Bluetooth ringtone built into a Bluetooth device, or deal with having their phone ring out loud despite the Bluetooth device it’s hooked to streaming music, videos, or the like. The new feature, called Bluetooth In-Band Ringtone, has been in Android’s codebase since April, but only in various non-active and partial forms. Users have been requesting it for about 8 years now, and a Googler did comment on the issue, saying that the feature would be present in a future version of Android. For the time being, the setting that toggles this feature is buried in the developer settings, and is not on by default.
While Android has been improving its handling of Bluetooth in many ways, the platform is notorious for being behind the curve on basic smartphone capabilities at times, and Bluetooth has been no exception. Bluetooth In-Band Ringtone support has been available in iOS for some time now, and is defined in the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile. The implementation of the feature on Android is strictly opt-in only for now, which means that most users won’t actually end up using the feature, though it may be on by default in the final version of Android O.
This is one of a number of new user-facing features that are rolling out with Android O, and will make the Android platform just a bit more customizable, natural, and easy to use. The newest version of Android is still in developer preview status for now, though the final developer preview for Android O has officially shipped out. The final version of Android O is likely quite close at hand as well, expected to drop some time in mid to late August. The update was delayed for Pixel XL owners, at least, and perhaps for other devices, so there is no exact release date yet. The name of the newest version of Android is also still a mystery.