Android O details begin trickling in, with notification syncing, badges reportedly on tap

With just about two months to go until Google I/O, the Android 8.0 rumor mill is just about ready to start churning at full speed. And right on cue, 9to5Google has the first report, with just enough juicy tidbits to whet our appetite for more.

Each version of Android seems to bring changes to notifications—most recently, Nougat delivered direct replies and bundling—and it looks like Android O will continue to tweak the system. But 9to5Google’s tipsters didn’t supply any specifics as to what will be new or different, though it infers from a separate Andromeda rumor that will involve syncing across devices, which would certainly be a welcome change.

The site has also been told that Google will be adding app icon badges for active notifications. There are already a few launchers and manufacturer-specific skins that offer badges, but for some reason Google has resisted them in the pure version of Android. Also, the site reports that Google is considering bringing picture-in-picture mode to Android O, like Apple added for the iPad in iOS 9. Presumably this would be limited to tablets, but with phone screens getting bigger and bigger, that might not necessarily be the case.

Another feature reportedly on tap for Android O is smart text selection. Earlier this month, VentureBeat described a feature called Copy Less that would be smart enough to remember the last thing you were doing without actually needing to mess around with text handles. For example, as the site explains, if you leave an Android Messages conversation to look up the address of something, Android O would automatically store the address from Chrome onto the clipboard, ready to paste it when you return to your conversation. The same rumor said that Google was looking to add the ability to recognize contextual items like addresses inside texts as well.

Further rumored enhancements for Android O include a Google Assistant-integrated toolbar widget, live icons (like the Calendar icon on the Pixel), low-power background apps, improvements to the MedaRecorder API, and “tons of enterprise stuff.”

Google will presumably announce the next version of Android at its keynote presentation to kick off Google I/O, being held at the Shoreline Amphitheater from May 17-19.

’O’ really: While there isn’t a ton of detail here, there is just enough in this report to get us excited about the next version of Android, which we have to assume will be called Oreo. Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of all things Android, has already teased such a pairing on Twitter, and earlier this year, the search giant and cookie purveyor partnered on the Oreo Space Dunk mobile VR experience. But whatever it’s called, we can’t wait to see it.

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