Android 8 “O” release date: Everything we know about Google’s newest Android OS


Android 8 “O” is the next major Android operating system to come from Google with an intended release date of late 2017. Not much is really known about Android 8 “O”, but at this year’s Google I/O developer conference the tech company lifted the lid on some of the new features we can expect in this year’s Android update.

Android 8 “O”: All the features we know so far

The focus for Android 8 “O”’s new features revolve around two distinct areas: “Fluid experiences” and “Vitals”. The idea behind Fluid Experiences is making sure your entire Android experience is, erm, fluid. Vitals is really about the bones of Android working as they should, ensuring that your phone doesn’t lock up as much or act in unexpected ways.

The first Fluid Experience that Google showed is the introduction of picture-in-picture support. Following in the footsteps of iOS’ feature of the same name, it finally allows you to keep Netflix or YouTube videos playing while you use your phone for something else – such as checking WhatsApp or scrolling through Twitter.

Autofill is also no longer restricted to Chrome or Google’s own apps – it now works with any third-party app that decides to implement it. Those fed up with fiddly text selection will also rejoice at the news of a new Smart Text Select feature. Using machine learning, Android 8 can now recognise items like place names, phone numbers and addresses, making it easier to select what you need with a single tap.

In the realm of Vitals improvements, Google Play Protect acts as a first defence against dodgy apps being installed on your phone. This new tool automatically scans apps on your phone for security threats – even scanning side-loaded software that hasn’t come from the Google Play Store.

Google is also delivering new tools to developers to help with optimising their apps for Android 8 devices. These should take the form of efficient CPU, memory and data usage alongside battery optimisations.

Another tweak coming to Android 8 “O” are improvements to Google Assistant. Not only will Assistant be able to interpret written free-text queries alongside those you speak aloud, it can also process images via Google Lens. This allows you to add contact information from a business card, or search for an object or place from a photograph. Assistant will also be able to process payment-related actions, essentially bringing it to a par with Amazon Alexa.

Google Photos is also being tweaked to allow for a wider array of sharing tools, including the ability to print and purchase photo books directly in the app. Photo book printing is only available in the US at present, but Google says more countries will be coming on board later this year.

Android 8 “O”: What will it be called?

The really important question, though, is what Google is going to name Android 8 “O”, and unfortunately, nothing regarding this question was announced at Google I/O.

If naming Android 8 “O” proves as tricky as “N”, it’s likely Google won’t bestow a name upon Android 8 until just before it launches – it may even open up the naming process to the public again.

To help all those Google bods reading this post right now (I know you definitely are!), here’s the Alphr team’s list of potential names of Android 8 “O”. Word of caution, Google, if you do use one of these names I’d like at least a 1% cut of all Android 8-based profits or a h/t in the developer notes.

Here’s what we think it could currently be:

  • Orange

  • (Terry’s Chocolate) Orange

  • Orange candy slices (you know the jelly ones your nan has at Christmas)

  • Orbit (the chewing gum)

  • Oatmeal cookies

  • Orange Soda

  • Oreo (the no-brainer, but would require a brand deal)

  • Ovaltine (can this be classed as a sweet?)

  • Oliebol (basically Dutch doughnuts)

  • Ozark Pudding (a Minnesotan delicacy, apparently)

  • Old Jamaica (it’s a Cadbury’ chocolate bar)

  • Oplal Fruits (the old name for Starburst)

  • Oh Henry! (A candy bar in the states)

  • Orelletes (A Catalonian sweet treat)

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