Here’s a recap of what’s coming in Android O, as the OS reaches 2 billion active devices

During its IO keynote today, Google reiterated the main new features coming in the Android O release later this year, but also unveiled a couple of new things. Do note that most of what follows has initially been announced back in March when the first Developer Preview of Android O became available. Speaking of pre-release software, the Android O Beta Program is now live if you’re interested in giving the new version a spin (and happen to own one of six supported Nexus and Pixel devices).

Android O comes with the recently detailed Project Treble, which means some of its base has been modularized so that updates will hopefully come faster for devices that aren’t supported directly by Google.

Battery life is a focus in this release, and improvements in this regard will come through new automatic limits imposed onto what apps can do in the background – if said apps target Android O.

The copy and paste workflow has been improved when dealing with names of places and addresses as well as phone numbers, with the addition of Smart Text Selection. Before you had to manually select an address if you then wanted to look it up, but in O double tapping on any of the words in the address will result in the entire thing being automagically selected without any other input needed from you. From there it’s easy to jump to Google Maps to see directions to that place. The same process works for names of businesses too. And when you double tap any part of a phone number, that instantly becomes callable.

For security, a new feature called Google Play Protect will be surfaced in the Play Store. This is basically the same Google engine that has automatically scanned your apps for malicious behavior, but now it will be much more visible to end-users. You’ll see information about when the last scan was performed, and will get an option to start a manual scan at any time. The Find my device feature will also live under the Play Protect umbrella starting in Android O

With the new Autofill API, interesting use cases will be made possible. Say you have your Twitter credentials stored in Chrome. Then you install the Twitter app, and when you want to sign in the username and password will be autofilled by the OS based on the existing data. Of course this will also be used by third parties, most notably password managers, to make signing into stuff a breeze.

Notification Channels mean developers will define categories for notification content, and you’ll choose to “subscribe” only to the channels you’re interested in. Additionally, notifications will be snooze-able in Android O. Picture-in-Picture Mode for videos will take what happens in the YouTube app when you start playing a video and then hit Back to the OS level. So the video will stay with you while you do other things on your device.

If you like those app badges in iOS that let you know you have, say, unread emails – well then you’re going to love Android O. Yes, such Notification Dots will be automatically applied to your apps’ icons, but there’s an unexplained twist: there will be no number in the badge. The badge itself (a dot, basically) will show up, and that’s it. The hue of the badge will be automatically generated using the colors used in every app’s icon. To get a preview of what the dot is about, you long press the app’s icon.

Under the hood enhancements are everywhere in Android O, starting with the claimed twice as fast boot time, and improved app performance – all with no changes required from developers.

Android has reached 2 billion monthly active devices, less than three years after hitting the 1 billion milestone. And with Android O, Google is making its mobile operating system more secure, modular, battery-friendly, and feature-filled than it’s ever been.

First look HTC U11 hands-on

Introduction

Just when we thought HTC was through with this generation’s flagship announcement in the form of the U Ultra, the Taiwanese manufacturer decided it would squeeze one more release in. But before we get to explain the terrible pun we just made, let us introduce the HTC U11 – the company’s true 2017 flagship offer.

HTC U11 hands-on review

Yes, it seems HTC is far from done with its new “liquid design” concept. In fact, it is now clear that the U Play and U Ultra were merely international ambassadors to the company’s new style. According to HTC, we have at least three of four evolutions of it to look forward to, all presumably under the “U” moniker.

HTC U11 at a glance

  • Body: Glass back with a “liquid surface”, IP67 waterproofing.
  • Screen: 5.5″ Super LCD5 with 1,440 x 2,560px resolution and Gorilla Glass 5.
  • Chipset: 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835 running Android 7.1 Nougat with HTC Sense and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (where supported).
  • Camera: 12MP UltraPixel 3, UltraSpeed Autofocus, f/1.7, OIS, DualLED flash, RAW capture.
  • Video: 4K video recording with 3D Audio, Hi-Res audio, Acoustic Focus ; 1080p @ 120fps slow-mo.
  • Selfie: 16MP with Live Make-up; 1080p video recording
  • Memory: 4GB RAM (64GB version) and 6GB RAM (128GB version), microSD slot.
  • Connectivity: 1Gbps LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, Optional DualSIm model, USB-C port with USB 3.1 and DisplayPort support, no 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, GPS, GLONASSS, Beidou support.
  • Battery: 3,000mAh, QuickCharge 3.0.
  • Audio: Active Noise Cancellation with supplied headphones, BoomSound stereo speakers, 3D Audio recording with 4 mics, High-res audio support.
  • Sensors: Edge squeeze sensor, fingerprint sensor.

But, without getting ahead of ourselves, let us first meet the new U11 flagship offer. The one intended to pick up where the HTC 10 left off, albeit with a few important twists on style and functionality.

 

LG Stylo 3 Plus launched with 5.7-inch display, Android Nougat

LG has launched a new smartphone in the US. Dubbed Stylo 3 Plus, the device is powered by Snapdragon 435 SoC with octa-core 1.4GHz processor, and sports a 5.7-inch full HD display. RAM is 2GB, while internal memory is 32GB.

The Stylo 3 Plus is available from T-Mobile (both online and offline). As for price, the carrier is selling the device for $9 down and $9 a month on Equipment Installment Plan. Alternatively, you can grab it for $0 upfront and $10 a month with JUMP! on Demand.

The phone will be available for purchase from MetroPCS sometime next month.