I have been using the Samsung Galaxy S9 for almost a month now, and the device’s Android 8.0 (Oreo) operating system has changed the way I use a smartphone.
From the greatly-improved notification system to the picture-in-picture support, the latest version of Android makes the device easy to use and offers great new features.
Android 8.0 also adds a host of new functions, which improve functionality while offering a cleaner interface.
One of the biggest changes in Android 8.0 is the refinement of notification banners and the improved home screen features.
Notification banners pushed by background apps such as Weather are no longer intrusive, full-size notifications – and instead are listed in slim tabs below standard notifications.
You can also snooze notifications, causing them to disappear for a certain period.
Notification banners can also show custom colours, with the Google Play Music banner featuring a cutout of the current song’s album art.
The home screen menu is now rotatable, according to orientation, and is much easier to navigate.
Accessing the App drawer is also super-easy, with users swiping up anywhere on the screen, while a hold-press on the home screen will access the customisation menu.
Users can also access notifications on their home screen app icons and subsequently take action.
The picture-in-picture (PIP) feature delivered by Android is great, and allows activities to launch in a special multi-window mode.
The mode moves an app into the bottom-right corner of the screen while it continues running.
This is useful for video playback and calls, and adds additional multi-tasking functionality.
Multi-window mode was originally introcued in Android Nougat and is retained in the latest version of the operating system.
The new PIP mode is only compatible with certain applications, however.
Performance and battery
Android 8.0 also makes several improvements to performance and battery life, thanks to its optimisation functionality.
Google claims that Android 8.0 boots twice as fast on the Pixel smartphone than the previous version of Android, thanks to its more optimised architecture.
The increased control over background apps, processes, and power usage can also result in improved battery life.
This is accomplished by new background execution limits implemented in Android 8.0, which reduce the amount of battery background apps use on your device.
The Settings menu is also easier to navigate and smaller than previous versions of Android, with more advanced options appearing in drop-down menus.
Android 8.0 on Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy S9’s unique aspect ratio pairs well with Android Oreo, which now supports numerous native screen resolutions.
Samsung’s flavour of Android 8.0 is implemented relatively seamlessly, with most features serving to enhance the experience of the operating system.
A great example of this is the Edge menu, which is accessible by a swipe from the side of the device and offers shortcuts to app pairs, contacts, and screenshot tools.
Once I grew accustomed to the feature, I began to rely on it for quick access to important contacts.
The same is true for Android’s picture-in-picture mode.
Whether it’s reading messages while having Maps navigation open, or browsing Reddit while a Facebook video plays in the corner of the screen, PIP makes multi-tasking much easier.
The overall interface overhaul delivered by Android 8.0 has made navigating the Galaxy S9 simple and easy, while enabling even more features within the operating system.
In addition to the features listed above, Android 8.0 also includes the following:
- Google Play Protect – A feature which improves app installation security.
- Autofill – Remembers user login details and fills in stored details in apps and forms.
- Android Instant Apps – Users can access apps from their browser without the need to install them.
- New emoji – Over 60 new emoji are available in Android Oreo.
- Printing support – Android Oreo works with all Mopria-certified printers.
Linkable files – Share files across the Internet via web links.
Native C/C++ API for high-performance audio – API function for high-performance audio including Native C/C++ audio API.
Wi-Fi Assistant – Auto-connects you to high-quality open Wi-Fi and secures your connection with a VPN back to Google.