Google announces Android Oreo – what you need to know

22 Aug 2017

Oreos. Image: Pao Laroid/Shutterstock

Google finally unveils Android Oreo, complete with new security features, time-saving tricks and 69 new emoji.

Android 8.0 Oreo was described in a blog post by Sameer Samat, vice-president of product management at Google Play, as “smarter, faster and more powerful than ever”.

While the latest update is somewhat lacking in dazzling new features, Oreo still has some noteworthy additions.

Android 8.0’s key features

A new update, Notification Dots, makes it easier for you to see which app needs attention. A long tap will bring up a new menu with more details on the notification, a link to its widgets and the Android settings page for the app.

Although not technically a tech feature, emoji are dear to the hearts of many, which is why Google has redesigned Android’s library. 69 new emoji have been announced, with culturally diverse human additions as well as a zombie, a vampire and a T-Rex.

Redesigned and new Android emoji. Image: Google

Autofill is a useful new addition that means your third-party password managers such as LastPass will work smoothly without having to rely on finicky workarounds that often fail. This will make online transactions, passwords and other info more easily available, without compromising your device’s security.

If you’re the type of person that likes to multitask, you’ll enjoy the new picture-in-picture feature. Watching a YouTube video, but need to reply to an email? You can now minimise the video and continue watching while you draft your message. It’s hoped that more apps will support this feature as time goes on.

Faster and stronger

The back-end is really where the work was done for this latest update, increasing the boot speed of devices and restricting apps from draining your battery as they work away in the background.

A new security feature, Google Play Protect, will screen apps for security issues automatically. Encryption support has also been boosted, which will please those who place a high price on the safety of their data.

It’s difficult to gauge when each individual device will get the update, but Google handsets are unsurprisingly first on the list. As TechCrunch reports, if your device was enrolled in Android Beta, you’ll be happy to know you will get the update soon, but all the major companies seem to be operating on their own roll-out schedule.

Oreos. Image: Pao Laroid/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects