Q. When will the next version of Android be released and what might be in it?
A. Google released Android O, the “developer’s preview” of the next version, on March 21 so app developers could begin working with the future operating system. The final public release of the software and its delivery to smartphones and tablets is likely to take place this year, but a lot of work will happen in the meantime as the system is tested and refined.
Some of the new features expected in Android O include improved support for using the keyboard to navigate Android apps, better control of onscreen notifications and picture-in-picture video so people can continue to play clips while tapping into other apps. Also in the pipeline are improved audio fidelity over Bluetooth connections and support for Wi-Fi Aware technology (which allows compatible devices to connect directly to each other without a cellular data or other wireless network).
Android O will be a work in progress for several months, but Google says it will do a “deep dive on all things Android” at its annual Google I/O conference that starts May 17. These developer-oriented events are often used by companies to showcase new software on the way. Microsoft’s Build conference for Windows software creators starts on May 10, and Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference for its operating systems will take place the first week of June.
The release date and the official name of Android O will be revealed later in the year as development of the system continues. The company should also announce which hardware models will get the update. In recent years, Google has released the final versions of Android in late summer (as with Android 7.0 Nougat, on Aug. 22, 2016) and even deep into…