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May 25, 2017

The Dawn of Android Oh

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

Just this past week, the Google I/O event teased Android O. That’s the letter O and not a zero. The Oth version of Android doesn’t yet have a candy name, though most people assume it will be Android Oreo.

No one knows the Android version number, either. A new release of the Android OS doesn’t necessarily imply a new version number. For example, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, and Kitkat were versions 4.0, 4.1 through 4.3, and 4.4, respectively. Not that any of this matters.

Your mobile gizmo might actually see regular updates after the Android O release. Normally an update is rare, because in addition to updating the OS the manufacturer must update their software as well. With Android O, Google has modified the architecture to allow manufacturer modifications to hold through an OS update. However that works, the result is that updates may appear more broadly than before.

Even so, don’t expect to see Android O on any new gizmos soon. It’s released to the developer community first and then, sometime in the fall, you might see some Android O mobile devices or some existing devices might get an update, especially the Pixel devices. This delay is nothing to worry about; it’s been a year since Android Nougat was released and currently only about 7 percent of Android gizmos run that OS. The majority run Android Marshmallow, which is nearing two-years old.

The release of Android O marks a level of maturity of the Android operating system. It’s becoming stable, which is good for all users. It’s also offering some detailed features that advanced users might enjoy, as well as addressing common issues thanks to user feedback. For example, one new feature is “Find my Phone,” which is sort-of available with earlier versions of Android, but is now official with Android O.

Android O also continues to integrate phone and tablet features. This is probably due to the shifting mobile market. As I’ve written about before, tablets are losing popularity as users recognize that they truly need the power and flexibility of a laptop, not a tablet. The surging sales of the Microsoft Surface laptop, as well as other 2-in-1 laptops, proves that the portable computer marketplace is still vibrant.

Smartphones remain the dominant mobile player for Android O. Still, beyond a few basic services, few users exploit the full capabilities of their Android devices. Many of my readers email me about features mentioned in my books that they would never otherwise know about. (It’s good to feel worthy.)

As usual, I’ll be writing about the features in the next release of my Android For Dummies books. Stay tuned for further details.

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