Android 8.0: New Features and the Checklist for App Update

It’s been 9 years and 26 versions ago when we met Android OS for the first time. Since then, we’ve got much improvement for our mobile devices and tasted lots of sweets together: lollipops, jelly beans, cupcakes, etc. What do you think about Oreo? The eighth Android version is officially here with a good bunch of new features worth to be known.

Besides, owners of Android products want to update their apps to the fresh Oreo version – and TecSynt has a piece of knowledge to share. The latest news about Android innovations is here for you.

Navigation
Android 8.0 and Its New Features
Android O on Mobile Devices: How Much Is Left to Wait
Moving to Android 8.0: Update Your Application
Checking compatibility with Android O
Updating Your App and Implementing Android O Features
The Synthesis Checklist of All Update Actions

Android 8.0 and Its New Features

Android is serious about adding some sweeter taste to the good old cookie known all over the world. The public faced Android 8.0 first on August 21 this year, and since then, we’ve got much to talk about.

There are quite a lot of new features concerning not only the platform in general but also each app on the Android market. So, if you want to apply at least some of the new Android characteristics and treat your customers with a new experience, app update is the first thing you need to consider.

1. Boot Time Is Twice Faster

Boot time is the time needed by a device for a proper operation after it’s turned on. Our daily job requires us to be really fast no matter what we do. Android developers know that a huge number of our tasks are hidden in the mobile phone –you can be twice faster with an Oreo cookie in the smartphone.

2. Autofill

From now on, Android users can get to their accounts much faster with autofill. This feature is optional, but if you do trust your device with some pieces of your private data, you’ll be happy to get rid of boring typing and save few spare seconds.

Android 8.0 Autofill

3. The New Picture-in-Picture Mode

They say multitasking could be rather damaging – but not for Android smartphones! The Picture-in-Picture mode allows users to watch videos and work on any other tasks simultaneously. For this moment, you can check this mode with VLC and YouTube if you have YouTube Red subscription.

The New Picture-in-Picture Mode

4. Notification Dots and Previews

Thanks to notification dots on the app’s icon, you’ll know there’s something for you to check out. And if you want to read messages faster, just use a long tap on the icon and see the list of notifications without visiting the app. To delete any message, just swipe it from the screen.

Notification Dots and Previews Notification Dots and Previews

5. Android Instant Apps

Or just “installation is not required”. Literally, you can access Android apps from the Internet browser. All the interface details are still in place, so products look exactly the same as the installed version.

Android Instant Apps

6. Rescue Party

Solving security issues is a huge matter in the mobile world. Android Oreo suggests killing the biggest bugs with the Rescue Party feature. It will make attempts to cope with bootloops or app crashes that may happen while you use your phone.

7. Battery Saving

Keeping smartphones “full of life” is a big issue for mobile platforms, and Android has started working on it thoroughly since Marshmallow and its Doze Mode. With Oreo, we have Background Execution Limits, which means Android will keep an eye on the apps running in the background – they won’t drain your battery.

Plus, location updates will be requested several times in an hour – not all the time you use the device. This restriction applies to all Android apps – no matter if they’re updated to the 8th version or not.

8. More Emoji (as a Bonus)

More Emoji

Don’t forget to have some fun even if you deal with security and battery-saving issues. Android developers give more opportunities to express your emotions with mobile emoji – actually, there are over 60 new pics to mess around when messaging.

This is far from all the new traits of the Android platform – it seems like Oreo cookies have led a revolution for mobile users. Now, it’s about time to put it right into your smartphone, but when exactly will it happen?

Read also: Tutorial: How to Send Push Notifications to Android Device

Android O on Mobile Devices: How Much Is Left to Wait

There are some lucky ones who don’t have to wait any longer. By this, we mean owners of Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel C, also Nexus 5X, 6P, and Player. Google authorities assure us that most manufacturers will get the update till the end of this year:

“Hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo”

We also have some confirmations on certain models of smartphones that will get Android 8.0 sooner than others according to the statements of manufacturers.

Manufacturer

Model

Approximate date of OS update

Samsung

Galaxy S8
Galaxy S8 Plus
Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7 Edge

January-February 2018

LG

G5
G6
V10
V30 (Oreo is preinstalled)

October-November 2017

Sony

Xperia X
Xperia X Performance
Xperia XZ
Xperia X Compact
Xperia XZ Premium
Xperia XZs
Xperia XA1
Xperia XA1 Ultra
Xperia Touch
Xperia XA1 Plus

November-December 2017

Motorola

Moto Z2 Force
Moto Z2 Play
Moto Z Force
Moto Z
Moto Z Play
Moto X4
Moto G5S Plus
Moto G5 Plus
Moto G5

October-November 2017

HTC

HTC 10
HTC One M9

December 2017-January 2018

Huawei

Honor 8 Pro
6X

December 2017-January 2018

Therefore, app creators have some time to adjust to the new Android’s in- and outside appearance and to provide a safe app transition from Android Nougat to the later Oreo version.

Read also: How to Convert Website to Android App in 2017

Moving to Android 8.0: Update Your Application

If you’re an app owner with a product using the 6th or 7th Android version, you’ve probably noticed some renovations in the new Oreo operating system. Plus, you might be interested in app upgrading so that your app would be welcomed on the flagships running Android. Let’s learn more about how much it takes to migrate to Android 8.0 without fuss and mess.

Checking Compatibility with Android O

Testing compatibility goes first, and the whole upgrade process can’t exist without it. Hence, this first stage is preparation to the app update using targetSdkVersion.

Developers need to be sure that the application is completely ready to meet new changes in the platform. The thing is such changes may somehow affect your product, that’s why it should be adjusted to the 8th version first.

1. Get Android 8.0

There are two ways to start working with the latest version: either using a compatible device (Pixel or Nexus) or using the Android Emulator. The Android 8.0 system image can be downloaded from Android Studio 3.0.

2. Conduct Tests for Compatibility

Such kind of testing involves the same testing actions necessary for app release preparations. But app owners and developers must keep in mind that platform innovations can lead to serious circumstances for the product: changes in behavior or app crashes.

Here are some examples of changes to consider:

  • Apps now may check device location less frequently than before.
  • net.hostname is no longer supported.
  • The send(DatagramPacket) method throws a new exception called SocketException.
  • If the AbstractCollection is empty, a NullPointerException is thrown.
  • The same goes for Currency.getDisplayName – if it’s empty, we’ve got a proper NullPointerException.

If you want to read more on this subject, check the full list of Behavior Changes.

Updating Your App and Implementing Android O Features

On this stage, developers work with targetSdkVersion, which allows providing a complete support of the latest Android updates.

1. Get the SDK of Android Oreo

Again, everything begins at Android Studio. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s highly recommended to use the latest 3.0 version – with its help, specialists may work with more complex features (for example, adaptive icons). It’s also fine to use Android Studio 2.3.3 if there is no need in the whole package of features yet.

2. Update Build Configuration

Here, developers will need the latest revisions of the following:

  • compileSdkVersion
  • buildToolsVersion
  • targetSdkVersion
  • the Support Library version

3. Put Away Broadcast Receivers

No disaster will happen if developers won’t take care of broadcast receivers in your app, but they just don’t have any effect on Android 8.0. It happens because of limitations in the new version. And if a receiver is registered for implicit broadcast intents, then it’s better to remove it.

Of course, here comes a “but” – there are always some exceptions to the rule. In the list of Implicit Broadcast Exceptions, you will find those broadcasts that work perfectly even with Oreo. As for explicit intents, they will continue to work the same as before.

4. Conduct Tests for the Android 8.0 App

It’s time for another testing after the primary preparations. We used targetSdkVersion, and there are some more changes that should be taken into account. Just like at the beginning, these changes may affect your product in different ways even if now you’re not going to take advantage of all Oreo’s features.

These are the basic changes developers should be aware of:

  • In terms of privacy, Android (with API level 26) doesn’t support some of the older properties.
  • The data in native libraries shouldn’t be executable. And as for the code, it shouldn’t be writable.
  • Technicians have to implement at least one notification channel to send messages to users.
  • The Collections.sort() method throws a ConcurrentModificationException in List Implementations.

These changes are far from the end of the list; all of them are gathered in the Behavior Changes document mentioned above.

The Synthesis Checklist of All Update Actions

Compatibility with Android O

  1. Get Android 8.0 on a device or an emulator.
  2. Review the document of Behavior Changes and find what’s most important for the product.
  3. Test your app on Android O and check every aspect of the app’s flow.
  4. Make any changes that affect the app after tests.
  5. Upload and publish a new app version.

Updating Your App and Implementing Android O Features

  1. Get Android 8.0 on a device or an emulator; update targetSdkVersion and other necessary builds.
  2. Review the document of Behavior Changes and decide how to support the most vulnerable parts of the app.
  3. Make all of the required changes for Android 8.0 apps.
  4. Implement new features and APIs from the new version.
  5. Test the work that has been made on Android O including changing old features and using the new ones.
  6. Make final updates and tests.
  7. Upload and publish a new app version.

A thorough testing of all the changes is impossible without qualified specialists in mobile development. First, the whole structure and workflow of your application will be checked, including code and architecture. Then, there are a number of decisions should be made to adopt the product to the new platform changes. And finally, if you go further, your app must be properly set-up to meet new Android features.

Read also: How to Build a Mobile App in 7 Easy Steps

Android Oreo: What We Know Now

A year has passed since we treated ourselves with Nougat version created by Android. The treat has changed, and we’ve got lots of new features in the recipe of Oreo cookies now. For instance, we’ve got autofill in Android phones, improved security, and battery-saving features, the picture-in-picture mode for higher productivity, previews of app notifications, etc.

Android Oreo

The most of the smartphone flagships will hopefully get all of these improvements until the end of this year or at the beginning of the next one. And for now, app owners and developers have some time to adopt app products to Android 8.0 modifications. TecSynt’s team is ready to offer its experience and provide your app with a pleasant transition to Oreo universe.

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