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Software Android Google Operating Systems Hardware Technology

Slashdot Asks: What Are Your Favorite Android Oreo Features? (thehackernews.com) 277

Yesterday, Android O officially became Android Oreo and started rolling out to Pixel and Nexus devices. While there are many new features available in the new OS, we thought we'd ask you: what are your favorite Android Oreo features? The Hacker News highlights eleven of the new features "that make Android even better" in their report: 1. No More 'Install From Unknown Sources' Setting: Prior to Android Oreo, third-party app installation requires users to enable just one setting by turning on "Install from unknown sources" -- doesn't matter from where the user has downloaded an APK file, i.e. from a browser, Bluetooth, transferred from a computer via USB or downloaded using another app. Android 8.0 Oreo has completely changed the way this feature works, bringing a much smarter and safer system called "Install other apps," in which a user has to manually permit 3rd-party app installation from different sources.
2. Autofill API Framework: Android 8.0 Oreo brings a built-in secure AutoFill API that allows users-chosen password manager to store different types of sensitive data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, phone numbers, and addresses -- and works throughout the entire system.
3. Picture-in-Picture: With Android Oreo, you can view a YouTube video while reading through a report in Word or be chatting on WhatsApp on your Android device -- thanks to Picture-in-Picture (PIP) feature.
4. Google Play Protect: Play Protect helps in detecting and removing harmful applications with more than 50 billion apps scanned every day.
5. Wi-Fi Aware (Neighborhood Aware Networking -- NAN): Android Oreo has added support for a new connectivity feature called Wi-Fi Aware, also known as Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN), which allows apps and devices to automatically find, connect to, and share data with each other directly without any internet access point or cellular data.
6. Android Instant Apps: With Android 8.0 Oreo, you can now access a range of Instant Apps without downloading them.
7. Battery-Saving Background Limits: Google has blocked apps from reacting to "implicit broadcasts" and carrying out certain tasks when they are running in the background in an effort to enhance the battery life of Android device. Besides this, Android Oreo will also limit some background services and location updates when an app is not in use.
8. AI-based Smart Text Selection: Android Oreo brings the 'Smart Text Selection' feature, which uses Google's machine learning to detect when something like physical addresses, email addresses, names or phone numbers is selected, then automatically suggests the relevant information on other apps.
9. Notification Dots (Limit notifications): Oreo introduces Notification Dots that offers you to manage each app individually with "fine-grained control," allowing you to control how many notifications you see and how they come through.
10. Find my Device: Google has introduced a new feature, called Find my Device, which is a similar feature to Apple's Find my iPhone and allows people to locate, lock and wipe their Android devices in the event when they go missing or get stolen.
11. New Emoji and Downloadable Fonts: Android Oreo introduces 60 new emoji and a redesign of the current "blob" characters. The update also offers new color support to app developers and the ability to change or animate the shape of icons in their apps.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashdot Asks: What Are Your Favorite Android Oreo Features?

Comments Filter:
  • Find My Device? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:35PM (#55067789)

    My Nexus 6P running stock (rooted) 7.1.2 already has a "Find Device" app from Google which can remotely locate, ring, lock, and wipe the device. I believe it used to be called Device Manager. Why is this listed as a new feature?

  • by FrankHaynes ( 467244 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:35PM (#55067791)

    I'd be happy with a feature where the phone makes a phone call and both parties actually sound intelligible. High quality, even!

    Cause Pepperidge Fahm remembahs!

    • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
      dont buy crappy phones?
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      It's not only the network that is to blame here.
      The race towards thinner phones mean that they get smaller speakers - that are often undersized for the sound they are supposed to produce. Those are often overdriven, using DSP algorithms that keep them on the brink of vibrating out of control. Besides that, there are also DSP algorithms against feedback (from speaker back into mic).

      It is better to use a handsfree headset anyway. The jury is still not out on the issue of health effects of microwave radiation

    • Why bother with that? I understand that due to the evolutionary history the device is still called a "phone", but in general the "phone" app on the device is one of the less used features for most people.

      It's kinda like the "radio" in my car. Yeah - it's still called that, but it's probably been years since I actually tuned into a station.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:36PM (#55067803)

    Android Instant Apps: With Android 8.0 Oreo, you can now access a range of Instant Apps without downloading them.

    How the fuck do you run a program without downloading it? Or is this some marketing bullshit where "downloading" has a different meaning than "installing"?

    • It runs in the browser/webkit.

      Everything old is new again.

    • Re:Come again? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:49PM (#55067841)

      How the fuck do you run a program without downloading it? Or is this some marketing bullshit where "downloading" has a different meaning than "installing"?

      Like many things, XKCD [xkcd.com] explains how (and predicts the feature/product a few years in advance.

    • by sd4f ( 1891894 )
      Just about everything google has done has been with an intent of keeping users online so that they can be data mined and served ads. There may be a few reasons as to why this 'Instant Apps' is happening, I can only suspect, but possibly DRM is one issue, gaining control of what data gets collected in favour of alternative companies who don't own the platform (facebook, microsoft, snapchat, etc...), another maybe preventing things such as adblockers from working. After all, this will probably force google to
    • Answer: thehackernews is misquoting. The official site says "without installation": Android Instant Apps [android.com]

      An evolution in app sharing and discovery, Android Instant Apps allows Android users to run your apps instantly, without installation.

      • So this is "run from the .apk file" ? Presumably the advantage is this can be on any storage without faffing with remembering to install it on external SD card with all the issues that can cause... unless of course this suffers the same issues.
    • It's bullshit. Of course you download it. But you only download a tiny sliver, because the only thing this shit is ever used for is ads.

      Ever play a F2P game and have an option to watch an ad for gems/gold/whatever? But the ad is an interactive mini demo of a game? That's all this is, and that's all it ever will be.

    • How the fuck do you run a program without downloading it? Or is this some marketing bullshit where "downloading" has a different meaning than "installing"?

      I'm imaging something much like the way you can use a virtual machine without being anywhere near the hardware running it.

      Not like server side processing is anything new. It's just spitting out the result in some new elegant way.

    • How the fuck do you run a program without downloading it? Or is this some marketing bullshit where "downloading" has a different meaning than "installing"?

      We can stream HD video FFS. Is it so unimaginable to stream a program's code and data on the fly?

    • You don't download or install a full app. Instead, they send you just the code needed to run the feature [android.com] you want to try out.

      E.g. If you want to try out the new fart app, you can just try out the new fart sounds, without all the other features of the app like PoopcamTM, Fart GalleryTM, Fart-outTM message app, FratfartTM map plugins for tracking parties based on the data on number of people gathered in one place after 7 PM local time...

      Then, after you're done with it, code you tried out gets deleted from you

    • because it's a hosted application, rather than one that locally stores all the hundreds of little-used frameworks that some lazy ass developer wired together to make 95% of their "app"?

    • They're websites, just with the browser functionality (url bar, back button, etc) hidden, and some deeper access to device functions.

      I think it's actually exactly what Apple had in mind with the first iPhone, before the store and everything.

  • by FrankHaynes ( 467244 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:41PM (#55067817)

    That's gonna be interesting watching a 96x54 pixel YouTube video while you read your report 3 words at a time.

  • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:51PM (#55067849)

    There's no feature that makes me feel like I need Android O.

    • That's probably good, because the odds are you would need to buy a new device to get it anyway. The track record on most manufacturers / carriers delivering major (and even minor) updates for legacy devices is staggeringly poor.

  • 10. Find my Device: Google has introduced a new feature, called Find my Device, which is a similar feature to Apple's Find my iPhone and allows people to locate, lock and wipe their Android devices in the event when they go missing or get stolen.

    How is this new? It's been available for years.

    • I'm wondering if this is controllable from the OS itself in a clear way. From what I've seen (or rather not seen) there's no settings on the device to control the Google's "Where is my phone" function.

      Even now the only function I can find to control this is Samsung specific. They rolled their own version of this for some reason.

      • Settings -> Security & Location -> Find My Device, has separate toggles for "Remotely locate this device", and "Allow remote lock and erase".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @10:55PM (#55067871)

    WiFi-aware, now even the malware can spread from device to device without internet.

    I'm sorry, but this is something that should be default-off.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @11:09PM (#55067917)

    If it detects any messages that deviate from Approved Google Thought, it will automatically email child porn to your contacts list as punishment for wrong-think.

    • by c-A-d ( 77980 )

      Neat how the ACs come out and accuse you of being a nazi for criticising google. No actual though involved, they just vomit up antifa talking points. They're good duckspeakers.

      • And you are doing just the same by assuming that they are from antifa. There are plenty of others groups that label people as nazis to shut them up.

  • It's open, that's basically it. There is a constant trail of pain that follows the iPhone, every year or so there's another story that reminds why a closed system is problematic.
  • Is dhcp6 client still missing?

  • The best feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nathaniel Arbizu ( 5060823 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2017 @11:26PM (#55067961)
    would be finding Oreo on a sub $400 phone. I am done paying $600+ for a phone that stops getting updates after 3 months.
    • Same thing for me. My Google Pixel XL is the last 'high-end' phone I bought. I just need a phone I can make calls (duh!), read my emails, send SMS, browser the web, take some random photos (don't need 999 megapixels resolution!), ... THAT's IT. Don't need 4K resolution on a 5.7" screen! Don't need 3D [insert whatever here]. ... My next phone will cost me less than 300/400$ for sure.

      • Same thing for me. My Google Pixel XL is the last 'high-end' phone I bought. I just need a phone I can make calls (duh!), read my emails, send SMS, browser the web, take some random photos (don't need 999 megapixels resolution!), ... THAT's IT. Don't need 4K resolution on a 5.7" screen! Don't need 3D [insert whatever here]. ... My next phone will cost me less than 300/400$ for sure.

        Yeah, the mid-range is pretty solid at this point, I have a Moto Z Play and I don't want for anything. Anyway, your Pixel will get next year's big update too and will satisfactorily do that job for atleast a couple of years. By which point your requirements might be in budget territory... Yay competition.

    • I have three ZTE Zmax Pro's for my kids. They were $175, with decent screens, memory, power, and USB Type-C. Great buy. Zero problems...

    • would be finding Oreo on a sub $400 phone. I am done paying $600+ for a phone that stops getting updates after 3 months.

      Nexus 5x? Plus probably all that are listed here (eventually):

      http://www.pocket-lint.com/new... [pocket-lint.com]

  • by jimbo ( 1370 )

    I have a Samsung phone you insensitive clod. I won't get Oreo for another eight months.

    Actually it's an S6, there's divided opinions on whether it'll get the update at all. I hope it will, I expect to keep it another 2-3 years to match the lifespan of my old iPhone.

    • I have an S6 and am still stuck on Marshmallow. I am in Australia, the phone splash when I turn it on says Optus and my carrier is Virgin. I am hoping if/when I eventually get Oreo it will dramatically improve the upgrade times for future Android versions. I wonder if the upgrade path now will be to skip Nougat and go directly to Oreo.
    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      iPhones don't break down or become unusable once they don't get updates anymore. They easily last for 7 years or more.

  • Yeah, these features are great and all, but I'm still waiting for fine-grained **permission control**.
    Why can I not block apps from doing particular things?

    iPhones have this. Shouldn't even be an issue.

  • I've had this ability for a long time now. I picked up a Bluetooth key-chain dongle from T-mobile, it only only started working properly at version 6.

    I can press the Key-chain dongle and find my phone, or use the phone to find my keys (with GPS location). It's very kool.

    Dongle ran just under $30, and requires Motorola Connect (play store).

  • KingRoot https://forum.xda-developers.c... [xda-developers.com]
    No spam, not a pirate site.

  • Treble \ Updates (Score:5, Informative)

    by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @12:23AM (#55068089) Homepage Journal

    The most important feature doesn't seem to be mentioned: Treble.

    https://source.android.com/devices/architecture/treble

    This could be crucial in fixing a lot of the drivers/userspace/abi development issues by creating stable interfaces for manufacture hardware (instead of each vendor patching the fuck out of the kernel with their shitty drivers and tons of binary blobs). It could bring us closer to easily being able to put ASOP right on any phone, just like installing Windows fresh on a new laptop. ..but more than likely Google and the vendors will still fuck this up somehow and we'll end up with this mess:

    http://penguindreams.org/blog/android-fragmentation/

    • Problem is this will never make it into the Mainstream kernel. The Linux Kernel devs have opposed a stable driver ABI for decades now. The chipset manufacturers have happily setteled in and provide only binary blobs with ABI adaptions for a certain timeframe, and everybody is happy except for the screwed customers.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Problem is this will never make it into the Mainstream kernel. The Linux Kernel devs have opposed a stable driver ABI for decades now. The chipset manufacturers have happily setteled in and provide only binary blobs with ABI adaptions for a certain timeframe, and everybody is happy except for the screwed customers.

        Considering there is more than two billion [macrumors.com] active Android devices I doubt Google cares much, when you take away all the desktop device drivers, architectures and other bits of Linux that aren't that relevant for Android how many core changes are there? And if they dedicate one cent per device to maintaining a fork, that's $20 million.

      • Re:Treble \ Updates (Score:5, Informative)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @12:12PM (#55070615) Homepage Journal

        Problem is this will never make it into the Mainstream kernel.

        Treble has nothing to do with the kernel.

        (Disclosure/disclaimer: I'm a Google Android engineer. I own two hardware abstraction layers in Android, meaning I define their requirements, write the specifications, create the interfaces, write the client code in the Android system that uses them, write the reference implementations and work with vendors to validate their implementations. So.... I know this shit :-). On the other hand, I'm not part of the Treble team, don't participate in long-term OS-level planning, and what I'm giving you is my worm's-eye view of the goals. You can trust the stuff I tell you about how it works. Take my comments about long-term goals and ecosystem effects with a pound of salt.)

        Android has a set of Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) interfaces that mediate between the Android system services and the kernel. Traditionally, this layer has been fuzzy. Google has always created and published the HAL interfaces in AOSP, and written client software that uses them, but device makers have been free to modify all of it. They add new HALs, modify the existing HALs and change the code above the HAL interface to use their changes. Android has long had the Compliance Test Suite (CTS) that validates that the app-visible behavior is consistent across devices, so that apps will run everywhere, but everything below that has been mutable.

        Treble is about making the HAL interface solid and closing it off to modification by device makers. Treble introduced a new HAL communications infrastructure that uses a modified form of Binder (Android's long-used IPC mechanism) for communications between system components and HALs. It also adds a Vendor Test Suite (VTS) that device makers will have to pass to be able to call their devices "Android", and VTS runs directly against the HAL interface. This ensures that vendors can't change the hardware interfaces. They can still create their own HALs, but they cannot add to, subtract from, or modify the semantics of the methods of the standard HALs.

        Treble also creates a hard separation between the /system and /vendor partitions, and sets a firm requirement that nothing in /vendor can depend on anything in /system. All of the HAL implementations live in /vendor, and all of Android lives in /system. The kernel isn't in either, of course, and stuff in /vendor can and does depend on kernel version-specific features... but /system does not and cannot directly depend on kernel features.

        This means that once the Treble vision is fully realized (and it's going to be a process; this is a huge change which may take device makers a couple of years to get fully up to speed on), it will be possible to flash a standard AOSP build onto any device with an unlockable bootloader, with confidence that it will be able to use the HALs in /vendor correctly. In theory, the device maker should even be able to continue updating /vendor and the kernel even though the system is AOSP. Any custom HALs provided by the device maker will not be loaded or used by a vanilla AOSP build, of course.

        What's even better is that this and some other changes to verified boot infrastructure move us toward a world where it will be feasible for device makers to turn updating of /system over to Google. Not that they'll have to, but especially for smaller players it will be hugely attractive to be able to push the burden of managing updates off on Google. They'll still be responsible for maintaining /vendor and the boot image (kernel), of course. There's still a lot more work to be done before that can actually happen (i.e. the work in Oreo isn't enough), and the carriers are going to have to figure out how they're going to handle their testing processes, but Treble makes it possible.

  • Least favorite feature? The shell. I don't care for chocolate.

    Oh... *that* Oreo. I don't know, because this is the first I heard of Android Oreo, and I don't care because who knows when (and if) it will ever be pushed to my HTC 10...

  • Translation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @12:40AM (#55068139)
    1. 1. Made it more difficult to install apps that aren't from Google.
    2. 2. A centralised place for hackers to get all your data.
    3. 3. A tiny video you can't actually see blocking the text you are trying to read
    4. 4. Google able to remove any app they don't like that you have installed
    5. 5. Automatic connections to unknown hackers' access points
    6. 7. Web 2.0 like it was 1999
    7. 8. Making it more difficult to automate your phone on your own terms
    8. 9. More spying on what you are doing
    9. 10. More annoying things you have to configure for every app
    10. 11. More spying on where you are going
    11. 12. The only feature that everyone has been waiting for .... MORE EMOJIS!!!!!!!!
  • by Trogre ( 513942 )

    No More 'Install From Unknown Sources' Setting

    F-Droid still works though, right?

    • You can still install from unknown sources, only now the system manages that in a more fine-grained way. Read: https://www.androidcentral.com... [androidcentral.com]

  • An upgrade for my 2 year old phone to Android N,

    O will never be available for any of the 6 or so android devices I currently own. So there's that.

  • by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @03:01AM (#55068421) Homepage

    Wi-Fi Aware (Neighborhood Aware Networking -- NAN): Android Oreo has added support for a new connectivity feature called Wi-Fi Aware, also known as Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN), which allows apps and devices to automatically find, connect to, and share data with each other directly without any internet access point or cellular data.

    This sounds really creepy. And ripe for misuse.

  • ... by the name.

    What were they thinking?

    But what do I know?

    Signed:

        - a honky from Detroit (south of 8 Mile Road... like, as in... actual Detroit)

    • by jtara ( 133429 )

      P.S. There is no such place as "South Detroit". It's called "Windsor, Ontario". That still bugs me. Steve Perry admits he didn't have a clue. It "sounded good".

      So did Oreo....

  • I'm a bit worried that no.7 will break apps that do useful things in the background, such as Tasker and similar automation apps. I also wonder how it will impact apps that do geofencing.

    If I recall, there are changes that app developers need to make to continue to work in the background, and it could be some time before apps catch up.

    Overall I'm not comfortable with the move to greater restriction. I use Android instead of iOS precisely because it has greater flexibility.

    • Not sure if this has been fixed for Strava yet, but ever since upgrading to 7 if it's running while 'battery save' mode is on, it doesn't work and the GPS is shut off (unless the screen is on.) Wonder if this is one of these 'features' in effect..? Would like to see an option where I can exclude apps from battery saver mode..

      (Strava is a popular free app that tracks cycling, running, etc.. Usually you just turn it on, and do your activity, save it when finished, track your total distance, etc.)

  • by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @06:05AM (#55068751)

    I see absolutely nothing exciting in that list. Not even Treble, nor the new "updates without taking any space" feature seems anything cutting-edge for my own uses, but might be good for developing countries where most phones have 2-16gb of storage, and maybe half that available for user-space.

    As a developer, the only thing that gets me excited is third-party In-Call Screen APIs finally being made available, after 2 major OS versions started showing documentation for it but never actually allowing anything. And the only thing that ticks my nerves is android ID going down the drain.

    Actually, add that 3rd-party incall screen as a user-feature too - it will be a glorious time when we have a store-bound caller replacement app that can solve the lack of features of the standard and OEM-customized launchers, and also nullify the learning curve of changing between Android flavors.

  • When will Android allow for the 100% + loudness increase? People who are partially deaf have a hard enough time with the ear pieces... but also the increasingly loud environment can override bluetooth earpieces. To combat that, ever increasing hardware is purchased and Rooting overrides some of the locks by Samsung, etc.

    However, Allow android to overdrive the hardware would fix a lot of issues. Let the consumer, ME, make the choice.

    VLC really is nice in Windows because it does somehow overdrive the sound

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @07:05AM (#55068921)

    Because it hasn't been rolled out to my phone yet. Just like with 1.5 Billion other android users on the planet. Ask this question in 4-5 months again.

  • Feature complete? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fred6666 ( 4718031 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @08:12AM (#55069137)

    I know an OS is never "done", but I stopped caring about new features from Android updates long ago. It seems it's already doing everything I need it to do, and new features are either marginal improvements or features I just won't use.

  • "10. Find my Device: Google has introduced a new feature, called Find my Device, which is a similar feature to Apple's Find my iPhone and allows people to locate, lock and wipe their Android devices in the event when they go missing or get stolen."

    I've been using this for years....perhaps they mean a user interface update for it.

  • I like the look of the Autofill API. Using Lastpass on Android always felt a little slow, iffy, and like they hacked together a solution that "technically" works but is not officially sanctioned (nothing against the engineers, it's just that you do the best you can with what you got). I can imagine the current code being some sort of pre-amble to detect the type of activity that is on the top of the stack and dispatching to the appropriate hack du jour.

  • I'm sure my Moto X Play will be updated to 8.0 any day now.

    Aaaaaany day now.

    Fuck you, Motorola.

Passwords are implemented as a result of insecurity.

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