Just this past Monday, Android Oreo was released to the world. What should app marketers know about the latest and greatest update of Google’s operating system?
If you’re ready to make an impact on your users with some of the new features from Android Oreo, you’re probably going to have to wait a pretty long time. As is the case with every Android release, adoption will be low at the start. Adoption of the previous operating system, Android Nougat, is still only at 10% of all devices even though it was released a year ago. The latest version of Nougat is at around 1%. Oreo is currently available on Pixels and some Nexus devices, and Google has promised support from many of the other major manufacturers by the end of the year.
This is where app marketers should pay attention.
Notifications starting in Android Oreo require a specified channel to be set with the notification. In the interface, a user sees these channels as “categories”.
These channels are intended to represent various categories of notifications that an app could send.
Here’s an example:
A travel app has a couple different types of notifications: promotions, and reservation updates for a booking. The travel app could then register a “promotions” channel and an “updates” channel. Therefore, a user could opt-out of the promotions channel if they no longer want to receive them, but still get updates that are relevant during a trip. Many apps already have this behavior within their application.
Notifications in Oreo include some other updates. You can now set a timeout on notifications, and users can snooze notifications to take a look at later. There are some styling updates, such as background colors and support for historic messages as a part of a conversation. The update also includes dots (also known as badges) on the homescreen, but you can’t set the number of the badge like iOS and the UI is fairly muted, so app marketers may not find it to be as big of an engagement driver for Android users as they do for iOS users.
In Android Nougat, we saw that Google was starting to crack down on how apps asked for underlying operating system permissions, like enabling location services and using the camera. In Android Oreo, Google is continuing down this road, although to a lesser extent, and mostly for performance reasons.
Since the operating system is a little bit more restrictive of how location updates happen in the background, we expect to see fewer location updates. This means apps that rely on continuously tracking their users’ locations will no longer have as accurate data and might not be able to engage with their users as well as before.
Android Oreo is placing additional restrictions not only on location updates, but also on how applications use background services in general. This means that apps that rely heavily on using the background state to provide updates regularly may need to revisit how their apps work within the Android Oreo environment.
There are a bunch of other changes around the new operating system from adaptive icons to picture-in-picture mode that developers can take advantage of. See a full list of the changes here.
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