Android O promises big improvements for boot time, app performance, and device battery life

Today, at its I/O developer conference, Google revealed that over two billion monthly active phones and tablets are now running Android. The company also announced a new optimized SKU of the OS, known as Android Go, for low-cost devices with the most modest specs, including as little as 512MB of RAM.

Google also launched its Android O Beta Program today, opening up the preview of its next major OS update to more users. Among the many new features in Android O, Google said today that users can expect improved performance while using their devices, through a range of OS optimizations.

"The single most visible change in O is boot time," Google's Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson said. "On Pixel, for example, you'll find in most cases that your boot time is now twice as fast."

She added that Google has "made all apps faster by default", adding:

We did this through extensive changes to our runtime. This is really cool stuff, like concurrent compacting garbage collection and code locality - but all you really need to know is that your apps will run faster and smoother.

"Take Google Sheets," she continued. "Aggregate performance over a bunch of common actions is now over two times as fast, and that's all from the OS; there are no changes to the app."

Cuthbertson noted that apps can still have a huge impact on overall performance. Google found that "some apps were running in the background, and they were consuming tons of system resources, especially draining battery."

As a result, Android O will feature new 'wise limits' to background location and execution for apps. "These boundaries put sensible limits on usage," Cuthbertson said. "They're protecting battery life, and freeing up memory."

These improvements are part of broader changes to get the 'vitals' right in Android O, but Google has lined up a much broader range of enhancements to the OS - both for end-users, and for developers.

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