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Android 8.0 information revealed in Reddit AMA

Get ready to bid farewell to the (somewhat) beloved gumdrop emojis. (Source: IDG)
Get ready to bid farewell to the (somewhat) beloved gumdrop emojis. (Source: IDG)
The annual Reddit AMA by Google's Android engineering team has revealed some interesting information about the next version of Android and the future of the OS.

Android O's (version 8.0 of the ubiquitous Android open-sourced operating system) engineering team recently hosted an "ask me anything" (AMA) event on popular forum Reddit. The event, in which questions regarding Android were fielded to a team of 24 engineers, just concluded, and some of the most interesting points of discussion are as follows:

The team is working on APIs to improve windows management to increase productivity, but a desktop-like interface for Android similar to what RemixOS sought to achieve is not planned.

A popular comment asked about colorizing the navigation bar, which is usually black or drab grey. The team responded that some theming aspects are apparently not configurable due to the team's concern for image burn-in. More and more phones are using OLED displays, which are susceptible to this drawback, and the team is trying to find "a balance between visual appeal and burn-in protection".

The beloved (by some, anyway) blob emojis are gone and apparently not coming back. In Android O, they've been replaced with more standardized emojis that look just like the ones used by WhatsApp or iOS. The team doesn't consider the blob emojis ugly, but they just felt their visual style was holding them back in terms of new ways to be expressive. 

Lastly, there's signs of life in Android for tablets. Anyone who has used Android on a tablet — especially Google's Pixel — knows that the OS has a long way to go to feel like it belongs on the bigger screen instead of a phone's. The team says they are continuing to work on productivity-focused features such as keyboard shortcuts and better window management for multitasking, but they are also looking to the future to see what the natural evolution of tablets will be.

Android O is planned for release soon.


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Douglas Black, 2017-07-20 (Update: 2017-07-20)