A week with Android Oreo: You want this

I've been running the final version of Android Oreo on my Pixel XL for a full work week, and it's better than I expected.

First, the bugs. Bluetooth ('natch) is FUBAR for a lot of people. Bluetooth is always FUBAR anytime it gets updated, and expect it to stay that way for a couple of minor updates. I haven't had it flake out while using my LG Watch Sport (God, what a stupid name) and I don't use Bluetooth headphones nor does my old truck have Bluetooth in any way, shape or form. But a lot of other people have, and Google is doing ... something. It will get sorted out eventually.

Bugs are part of any major software release and Oreo has a couple.

Reports on battery life are all over the place, which is also expected. Initially, mine was horribad, but I reset my phone to fix another issue where notification dots weren't working and other UI glitches were driving me crazy and now it's great with the exact same apps being used the exact same way. Who knows 🤷. We see this every single time a phone is updated and the answer is always the same: factory reset. That sucks, but not doing it and having shitty battery life sucks more.

On to those interface glitches I was having. I wasn't able to see any Picture in Picture "windows", notification dots weren't appearing and I was getting blank space in the notification shade. Following the advice of an acquaintance who happens to work at a place named Google I reset my phone, and when I set it back up I didn't let it pull my saved data from Google's cloud. That fixed it. We (meaning he, because I just nodded and did as I was told) think it had something to do with me having so many active Android devices all backing up data, and things just got intermingled and broken. No matter what the issue, the reset fixed it and fixed my broken battery life.

One day we'll be able to fix things without resorting to a factory reset. Today is not that day.

That was Monday afternoon, and since then I can't find anything to complain about. I'm a little disappointed because having complaints and bugs to write about is a lot easier than not having them. I'm using Project Fi on my XL, which was running the beta and updated automagically Monday when everyone else on the beta got their update. There are no network issues to report, the volume works in calls and Wi-Fi isn't dropping out — three things that have been day one issues with other updates for many.

All things considered, this is really nice update. Even Google Daydream seems to work well, and I was sure I'd be able to write a few hundred words about how it was broken in Oreo. Instead, I'm going to gush over the best thing that has ever been delivered by the Android team: Notification Channels.

You need to look no further than the official Twitter app for Android to fall in love with Notification Channels. Twitter is a spammy app. It lets me know when someone is talking to me, but it also wastes my time to tell me when Andrew or Daniel are talking about soccer, or that 19 people I know liked a post where people were fighting about President Trump. I'm glad that Andrew and Daniel enjoy a game of Fußball and that people are passionate when it comes to the government. But if I wanted to know about it, I would open the Twitter app and read it myself.

I've fallen in love with Oreo's Notification Channels.

That's exactly what Notification Channels was designed to do: help me fine-tune an app so I can see the things I want to see and ignore the rest. When an app incorporates it, like Twitter does with the latest version, it's awesome. I'm sure many will appreciate other features like Picture in Picture or icon badges. But Notification Channels is my one thing.

If you've been running Oreo, what's your one thing? There has to be something you love or hate enough to single out and here is your chance to bang keyboards and make words about it.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.