Android O: Our Experience

Android O Introduction

May 17th, 2017, 10 PM IST: Sundar Pichai kicked off the Google I/O 2017 Keynote introducing the many advancements Google has achieved over the year since its last Keynote. The Google Compute Engine, google.ai, Google Lens are one of those things that will give you the “future is here” vibe.

Along with these, Google introduced the public Beta of Android O. The developer preview of the same was released a couple of months back.

Anyone with a Pixel device, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P or Nexus Player can enroll for the beta at android.com/beta and try the new flavor of Android. Though it must be noted that these betas have bugs and are not yet fully optimized for the best performance and in some extreme and unlikely cases might leave the device unusable.

Having installed the Android O-beta on my Nexus 5X, here’s my experience and opinions:

The beta was a 1046.9 MB update which installed in an impressively short amount of time. The initial boot, however, was a little longer than the regular ones. After the boot, before we see the home screen, we are greeted by a dialog box saying that it is running a beta version of Android and has an option to provide feedback.

Let’s discuss what’s visibly new in this beta:

  • The UI color scheme has seen a moderate overhaul.

  • The layouts of the notification bar and quick settings are slightly different.

  • New emojis: no more blob emojis. Now we have round ones.

  • The settings menu has been revamped and restructured.

  • Battery usage and storage come with more graphics.

  • The app cache cleaner has been removed. While the cache can be cleaned for individual apps, one can no longer do that for all the apps at one stroke in a few clicks like it was possible in the previous versions of Android.

  • WiFi icon in the notification bar is always visible, even when not connected to a network. (Can be seen in above screenshots)

Note: The picture in picture feature much talked about does not work yet on this beta.

Battery life:

The Nexus 5X on this new OS churned around 5 hours 30 minutes of screen on time at 50% brightness with LTE enabled at all times after around 2 hours of video playback on Netflix, an hour of music and some light internet browsing. This looks impressive as of now.

Though at lower battery percentage, the battery drain was very steep, with about 2~3% battery draining in a matter of seconds.

Some bugs that have irritated me to no end:

  • A mysterious blue line on the screen during boot appears out of nowhere and disappears within seconds.
  • Play Music is turned on every time Bluetooth is used.
  • The phone does not recognize video playback on Netflix, as the screen fade before timeout seems to set in and if the screen is not kept active by interacting with it for the first few times. The screen even locks while the video is playing, pausing the video midway.
  • The Photos app icon replaced by Android bot icon after the recent update. What’s up with that, Google?
  • On May 18 (19th in India), Google pushed out a small 38.8 MB update (Build number: OPP2.170420.019) for the Nexus 5X, possibly to patch some bugs but it inevitably ends up in an error message on the boot screen.

Note: On May 19th (20th in India), a full sized update was pushed out with the same build number as mentioned in above point (1047 MB) and it installed on the phone without any hiccups. Though this build made no visible changes to the phone OS here in India, it has made the phone slightly smoother than before.

 

As of now, Android O is working smooth considering it is a beta version, though not as fast as it did on Nougat.

(It seemed a little better after wiping the cache partition from recovery, but that could just be the placebo effect talking.)

These are all for now.

We shall keep you posted as future updates are rolled out. Stay tuned to TechSyndrome.