If you were still waiting to get an Android N phone, it will come as a surprise to you that the next version of the OS, the Android O Beta is already on its way. In fact, people may get to experience the Beta version of the OS before the end of May. The developer preview of the Android O Beta version is already out, according to some reports. There are two theories on when the new version will be formally released. One section believes Google is keen to release the Android O with the Pixel 2 smartphone, while others feel the full details will be revealed during the developers’ conference to be held later this month.

Speculations on what the ‘O’ will ultimately turn out to be

There’s always some excitement built around the naming of the OS versions. Google usually collects suggestions from different quarters before finalising the name. There was this interesting interaction during Google CEO Sundar Pitchai’s last visit to India. In one of his interactions with some students, he was asked why Indian sweets’ names can’t be given to the Android versions. He replied they were open to it if the name sounds good enough.

It does not appear as if any Indian name is under consideration right now. Again, a section of the tech media seems to think it’s going to be Android Oreo, though in the same breath it added that Google might give its strong California connection its due and call it Android Orange. Nothing is confirmed yet and one has to stick to the letter ‘O’ only, for the time being.

Developer preview of the OS’ beta version available for download

If you are a developer and know how to go about it, then the Beta version of the Android O can be accessed. It is not recommended for others since the entire data in your phone may get wiped away and you will also face warranty issues with your phone company for downloading software not authorised by them.

Improvements of interest to look for in the Android O

Limit background use of apps to improve battery life: This was attempted in the Android Nougat also and is being further improved. Certain apps which consume more battery power when left in the background might now find their running limited beyond a point to save on power.

PiP Feature: The Android O OS may bring in a picture-in-picture feature where you may be able to continue watching your favourite video while doing some other serious activity at the same time.

Improved audio performance: Japanese giant Sony has gifted to Google, its LDAC codec and this is going to help Google bring improvements in the Bluetooth protocol A2DP. Further, a new native API, AAudio is also being introduced through the new OS and all these are going to make the overall audio delivery much better across all platforms.

Besides these, there are many other features, like Autofill options, better keyboard navigation, adaptive icons and separate notification channels proposed in the latest version of the OS. Google will naturally want the developers to download the preview version and provide feedback on all these changes and improvements and only then release the beta version.

While it is not clear when the beta version of the Android O will be out, what seems to be clear right now is that the first set of devices to be permitted to run on the Android 8 OS will be the phones and devices that run the OS out of the box and not run any skin over it as most phone makers tend to do.

So it will be Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C devices. These may be followed by the Moto series phones since they also run on pureplay Android alone.

The timelines for the various releases though are very early to predict.