Android Oreo release date, compatibility and features

We fully expect this list of features to grow as Google proceeds with Oreo updates in the next year. As such, we'll be adding them below. Here's what we know so far.

Picture in Picture mode within Android Oreo allows you to watch YouTube and use other apps.

Picture in Picture (PiP) mode

The split-window mode introduced in Android Nougat is a helpful means for multitasking with most apps, but not all apps. 

Picture in picture (PiP) takes this a step further by allowing you to miniaturize a YouTube video feed or a video call on Hangouts or Duo into the corner of your screen so you can carry on with other tasks simultaneously.

This is one of those "I didn't know I needed this until I tried it" features and one that makes multitasking far less of a compromise than split-window mode. We're excited to see how this feature develops throughout the life of Oreo and beyond.

Faster boot times

The Android Oreo update claims to speed up the boot time of your phone.

Speedy boot times are usually associated with a step-up in hardware, but Android Oreo will supposedly bring this benefit to all phones that run the software.

While currently limited to the Pixel lineup, the improvement is certainly noticeable and impressive.

This is a minor feature as most of us keep our phones powered on indefinitely. But for those times when a reboot is necessary, this feature makes it all the less painful.

Restricted background activities

Battery will hopefully be better once you have the Android Oreo update.

This is a power-saving feature that de-prioritizes app functions running in the background, which in turn means that your battery is going to possibly last much longer than it currently does on Android Nougat.

Paired with likely improvements to the Doze function that intelligently saves battery during down-time, it’s feasible that Android Oreo could help squeeze an extra handful of hours out of your phone. 

Contextual press-to-hold options

In an e-mail trying to copy an address so that you can paste it into Google Maps? No more, says Android Oreo. 

By using machine learning, the OS can now recognize which app is best for the string of characters you're working with. Another example included being able to highlight a phone number and pop right into the dialer.

Adaptive icons

As the name suggests, Google has introduced strict design guidelines for developers to adhere to that will help to create a unified visual style across more apps.

In addition, these new app icons will animate based on user interaction and...have you seen the animation demo? Look up. It looks awesome.

It seems that Google hasn't rolled out these nifty icons yet, but hopefully we can look forward to them coming in the next update of Android 8.

Boosted audio performance

Android Oreo now offers native support for LDAC, Sony's hi-res Bluetooth audio codec.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the first Android phone to come installed with Bluetooth 5, a technology that will widen the bandwidth and raise the speed limit in the wireless pipeline for your content to travel through and thus, enhance the quality of audio content sent wirelessly between your phone and headphones.

And while many devices will follow suit, audio quality on Android is going to get yet another boost thanks to Android Oreo’s native support for LDAC, Sony’s hi-res Bluetooth audio codec.

In the developer options, we’re already seeing tons of options for tweaking the bitrate for audio and we expect more advancements to come down the line. This one could be a big deal, especially for those holding out on buying into the best wireless headphones.

This is all good news, especially since the Google Pixel 2 doesn't have a headphone jack.

Notification dots

Notification dots are new to the stock Android Oreo update.

An oldie that's been knocking around for years on iOS and some third-party launchers, this brings an at-a-glance notification bubble to app icons on the homescreen as a native Android feature.

Unlike iOS, Android Oreo doesn't tell you how many pending alerts you have within a given app, but knowing where to direct your attention at the very least is a good thing.

New emoji

Here are the new emoji designs for Android 8.

Google is finally replacing the gumdrop emoji style from older versions of Android and is now making rounder face icons for Android Oreo. 

There are also new emoji in the form of starstruck, throwing up, fairy, mermaid, giraffe, wizard and even more options.

Easter egg

It wouldn't be a new version of Android without a new easter egg mini-game to try out. Oddly enough, Oreo also comes with Android Nougat's odd cat-feeding mini game.

But onto Oreo, clicking and holding on the OS' logo takes us to a mysterious, empty screen with nothing but an octopus on it. This mini-game is pretty basic and not really much of a game at all. 

You can pull the octopus around the screen, watching as its legs flop all over the place. And...that's it. This game was here before we learnt about Android 8's sweet based name, so it may be set to change now we know it's called Oreo. But then again, maybe not.

Other Android Oreo features

Google is pushing a number of features with the Android Oreo update that we've already seen, but it means we'll likely see more of each feature in the future. 

Android Instant Apps - a way you can use apps without installing them and instead using your web browser - is getting a push with Android 8, so expect to see more developers support this soon.

Google is also including an autofill option within Android 8, so it'll be faster to sign into some of your favorite apps.

There are new accessibility features including simple audio controls and quick access from the navigation bar for features such as magnification and Select to Speak.

Plus, there are even more features such as new downloadable fonts,  background location limits, notification snoozing, a new Wi-Fi assistant feature, a support window called Tooltips and notification categories so you have more control over what you see.

We'll be expanding this feature whenever Google introduces new features, as well as when new smartphones get ready for the Android Oreo update.