There are tons of new native features on Android Oreo and today I’m going to share my top 5 features that I actually find useful, and notice in day-to-day usage. I’m not a big fan of downloading third party apps for basic functionality, aside from being weary about stuff that could be harmful. I make the exception with apps like Android Auto and Pokémon because those are legit and unfortunately just not available on the South African Play Store.
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I did attempt to download Oreo on a Samsung S8 but failed at that attempt (side load) and didn’t bother following up on all options, but now that I’m playing with the S9+ I can enjoy the new features.
Here are my top 5:
One of the issues I had on the Samsung S8 was the narrow keyboard; I kept hitting the wrong keys and I was really slow in doing basic things like composing anything really. Android Oreo lets me resize the on-screen keyboard to make it larger, smaller, narrower or just invert the colours. I’ve kept it normal colours for now but on the largest size possible to ensure I’m not hitting the wrong key. It helps that the S9+ has a larger display too.
I love that Autofill is on Android Oreo. The first time I opened Netflix, it remembered my password via Chrome and logged me in automatically. I can’t stress enough how I love this feature on Android (I’ve been using iCloud Keychain on iOS forever) and I really hate typing passwords. Biometrics also help a great deal. If you tell me I’m getting old, I won’t argue. It works on the S9+ with Samsung’s Smart Lock.
This is sort of like “3D Touch” on the iPhone where you long press a supported app and it lets you launch directly into specific menu options. For example, if you want to tweet something quickly, just long press Twitter, and type on “New Tweet”. Same for “New Message” or “Search” etc. This is dependent on individual app support, which I don’t see on Instagram but I would assume it’s coming since it’s already on iOS. And also Android Oreo is still rolling out.
You can now take granular control of your notifications. Let’s look at Twitter, previously it was very limited. In Oreo, you can pick and choose on a deeper level, especially if you’re always getting spammy replies and tags (cough).
Of course I was going to bring up emojis. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can see how often I them. Android Oreo finally has new emojis, but also updated the way it looks. I appreciate it especially since I use both iOS and Android and I’m always posting stuff on my food account, which I cannot see on my Android (like the dumplings or chopsticks emoji – so excited that it’s finally visible on Samsung!). Also if you’re on Samsung, go check out the dancing girl in the red dress – she finally looks legit! There were also a bunch of emojis that displayed totally incorrect on Android most noticeable online and in Whatsapp groups, and you had to wonder why some reactions where somewhat inappropriate or didn’t make sense. Roll on Oreo.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org