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Android O Developer Preview Alpha and Android NDK r14 Released, How to Install Guide

Android, first launched in 2008, on Tuesday reached to another interation, wjtb the launch of a first developer preview of mobile operating system dubbed as “Android O”.

Unlike the Android 7.1.2 Nougat beta, for which Google promised five Developer Preview builds before a final release, O will only have four. Today’s, factory image of “O”, is released as an alpha build, while the next developer releases will happen over the next several months with a deep dive on all things on Android at Google I/O in May.

Android O brings along a number of new features and APIs:

Background limits building up on Nougat, O puts more focus on improving battery life and device’s interactive performance with “additional automatic limits on apps functionality in background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”

Notification channels, are new app-defined categories for notification content— giving users an ability to block or change behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.

Android O Notification channelsAndroid O control app notification categories
Android O: 1. Notification channels 2. Control app notification categories

Autofill APIs let users select an autofill app that store and secures data such as addresses, user names, and passwords. For apps that want to handle autofill, “we’re adding new APIs to implement an Autofill service,” wrties Android team.

Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, alongwith other new windowing features such as “a new app overlay window for apps to use instead of system alert window,” and “multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.”

Font resources are now fully supported in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML — declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.

Adaptive icons display in a variety of shapes across different device models. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and uses them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

Wide-gamut color for apps can be display by enabling a flag in manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).

Android O also now supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC codec, and new Wi-Fi features like Wi-Fi Aware [previously Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN)]—which enable devices to discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point.

The Telecom framework is extending ConnectionService APIs to enable third party calling apps integrate with System UI and operate seamlessly with other audio apps.

Keyboard navigation introduces more reliable, predictable model for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that aids both developers and end users.

AAudio API for Pro Audio is designed specifically for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio.

WebView enhancements including enabling of multiprocess mode by default, and an API for app to handle errors and crashes. Further, users can now opt in app’s WebView objects to verify URLs through Google Safe Browsing.

Java 8 Language APIs and runtime optimizations with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.

The O Developer Preview includes an updated SDK with system images for testing on the official Android Emulator on the following supported devices:

  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus Player
  • Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C.

There’s also an emulator for testing Android Wear 2.0 on Android O.

Latest Android Studio 2.4 canary version help to get started with Android O. Also, released today is an alpha version of 26.0.0 support library, that adds a number of new APIs and increases the minSdkversion to 14.

Android Native Development Kit (NDK) r14, available in the SDK manager via Android Studio include the following:

  • Updated all the platform headers to unified headers (covered in detail below)
  • LTO with Clang now works on Darwin and Linux
  • libc++ has been updated. You can now use thread_local for statics with non-trivial destructors (Clang only)
  • RenderScript is back!

You can download and set up the O preview SDK from inside Android Studio, then use Android O’s XML font resources and autosizing TextView in the Layout Editor. See here for manual download and flash.

See the steps below to install Android O Developer Preview:

  1. Make sure, your device isn’t enrolled in Android Beta Program. Because, enrolled devices when flashed with Android O, will roll back to Android 7.1.2 Nougat beta with next OTA.
  2. Download and install Android Studio and Android O Developer Preview image from the links .
  3. Note: You should be able to do this using the command-line tools as well, which are available from the same page.
  4. Assuming, Studio is installed with default settings, launch the SDK Manager, by right-clicking on ‘SDK Manager’ and click ‘Run as administrator’.
  5. Next, make sure to check ‘Android SDK Platform-tools’, and Google USB Driver to begin intalling.
  6. Now, go to Settings -> About phone and tap the Build number for “seven times” to unlock ‘Developer’ options in Settings.
  7. Next, go to ‘Developer options’, and turn on ‘OEM unlocking’ and ‘USB debugging.’
  8. Now, connect the phone to PC via USB.
  9. Go to SDK Manager/platform-tools folder, and while holding shift, right-click on it, select ‘Open a command window here’.
  10. Now, right-in ‘platform-tools’ folder, extract Android O image ZIP.
  11. Next, open the elevated command prompt, and type ‘adb devices’, you should see device attached listing.
  12. Now, type ‘adb reboot bootloader’ to enter into fastboot mode.
  13. Type ‘fastboot oem unlock’ to unlock the bootloader. You might have to confirm this from the device.
  14. Next, thpe ‘flash-all’ to intall the package on the device. If at this point, you encounter an error, extract the O ZIP file again, and manually enter the following commands:
  15. fastboot erase bootloader
  16. fastboot erase system
  17. fastboot erase vendor
  18. fastboot erase cache
  19. fastboot erase recovery
  20. fastboot erase boot
  21. fastboot erase userdata
  22. fastboot flash bootloader
  23. fastboot flash system system.img
  24. fastboot flash vendor vendor.img
  25. fastboot flash cache cache.img
  26. fastboot flash recovery receovery.img
  27. fastboot flash boot boot.img
  28. That’s it.
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