There was a time when smartphone users couldn't imagine using anything but Apple's iPhone. After all, the iPhone transformed cellphones from wireless phones into the multimedia devices we use all day for surfing the web, posting photos on social media, buying products, booking vacations, texting, emailing and making calls.
Yet Google's Android is now more popular worldwide than Apple's iPhone. In fact, well over 1 billion smartphones and tablets use the Android operating system.
Which is why each new version of Android is big news. People want to know about all the bells and whistles that make its arrival highly anticipated and fun.
So, while Google is still rolling out Android Nougat, the buzz is all about the next version. O, like its predecessors, will be named after a sugary treat like Marshmallow. (Any guesses what O will be named? Tell us in comments.)
So, what will be Android O's best features? We love these five (and keeping reading for a Bonus feature that will help extend your smartphone's battery life).
Note: Android O is currently available for developers. A beta version for everyone else will come out this summer, followed by the official O release this fall.
Let's face it, smartphones have changed our lives. Instantly, we can see a message from anyone, anywhere in the world. That includes notifications from apps, too.
Think about all the Facebook notifications you get throughout the day. So and so "just posted a new photo on Facebook." It's not just Facebook, either. Almost every app you have on your Android phone is alerting you to news and updates.
These notifications can be informative. They can also be irritating when they distract you from more important matters.
With Android O, you can snooze notifications for 15 minutes, a half-hour or an hour. When you get a notification, just swipe it right. You'll be able to snooze the notification. Then, after that time period, your notification pops back up, hopefully when you can pay attention to it.
2. Picture in Picture
Are you a multi-tasker? If you're doing one thing, say messaging a friend, but you want to do a second thing like watching a video, now you can. With Android O, you'll have two apps open, visible and usable at the same time.
Note: Developers' versions of operating systems, like O, introduce many new functions. Then, developers create apps to work with those functions. So, look for a lot of development in picture-in-picture when O formally comes out.
How can you not love this feature?
Have you ever noticed that, when you're on your computer, you could start filling out passwords and suddenly it's filled in? If you're using Google Chrome and some other browsers, that autofill feature can save you a lot of time.
With Android O, you can autofill information, including passwords from your password manager. Now, that's a feature anyone can love.
4. Wi-Fi Aware
This functionality is already available on some smartphones, but it's new to Android. Your smartphone or tablet will connect with nearby Android devices. So, you can share content, like music. And it does it, even if you're on different networks, and without an internet connection.
5. Battery Saver
Is there anything more frustrating than a dead battery? Is there anything more unsettling than driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood when your battery is about to die?
Google is taking steps with O to help extend your battery's life. A new feature strengthens background execution limits on apps you have open, even if they're running in the background. For instance, if a program you're not using is constantly updating your geographic location, it's draining your battery.
Background execution limits will now greatly reduce how often those programs can automatically update.
Bonus: Battery Menu
We've been giving you tips to extend your smartphone's battery life for years. One simple trick, for instance, is turning down the brightness of your display. Another is going into airplane mode, so you can't surf the web, which drains your battery.
Android O is going to help you monitor your battery life better. Its new battery menu moves up battery saver, so it's easier to find. Plus, you'll now be able to see exactly what percentage of your battery's juice is used by your bright screen and surfing.
Android O has plenty of other new features that you'll find useful. Keep reading Komando.com for updates and more Android tips.