In Brief

Android Oreo begins public testing

Named after the famous chocolate biscuits, the new software will feature picture-in-picture modes, redesigned emojis and notification dots

A major update to Android smartphones and tablets is on the horizon as public beta testing starts for its new 8.0 Oreo operating system. 

The new system has a host of features, which Engadget says includes "picture-in-picture multitasking" and better battery performance. It also comes with a redesigned set of emojis, as well as "notification dots" that quickly alert users to activity on an app. 

The improved notification feature will help users "manage the volume of notifications on their devices", the BBC reports, rectifying the large amount of alerts known as "notification diarrhoea" on older versions. 

Other improvements include a smart copy-and-paste feature that the broadcaster says "highlights an entire address, telephone number or web addresses when people try to copy it."

It's not the first time Google – the parent company of Android – has tied the name of its mobile operating system to a brand of sweets.

Before Android Oreo, which is named after the biscuit company, Engadget says Google used the KitKat name through a partnership with the chocolate company Hershey. Other operating system names include Marshmallow, Donut and Ice Cream Sandwich. 

Android Oreo isn't ready for a rollout across smartphones and tablets yet, but The Verge says people on the company's Open Source Project public beta programme can now begin trialling the update. 

Those with one of Google's Pixel or Nexus devices should receive the update "soon", the website reports, while other Android owners will have to wait longer before Oreo becomes available. 

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