Before you snicker at the headline in disbelief, hear me out for a second: while it’s widely assumed that the next major version of Android – Android O – will be version 8.0 of the mobile operating system, it has never actually been confirmed. Take a look around every reputable online publication – nary a single, non-speculative mention of Android 8.0 will exist.
That’s because Google themselves has thus far always referred to the next version as Android O, and from previous version history it was always possible for Google to label Android O as version 7.2 (but increasingly unlikely). Thus just because Android O is without a doubt the next major Android version, with API level 26 on board, you could never prove that O, is in fact, Android 8.0.
During Google I/O 2017, several of Google’s screenshots showed the time as 8:00, which is one way the Mountain View giant likes to tease the next version number.
Google does like to play around with our speculative minds, though, especially with public screenshots/posts/builds. The 4th Android N Developer Preview put “Namey McNameFace” in the Easter Egg. Hiroshi Lockheimer has been sending cryptic messages about possible desserts that Android O and even Android P could be named after.
But finally we have some unofficial confirmation that Android O will be version number 8.0. This comes from a teardown of the last few Google Photos and Google Keep APKs that were released since June 1st. Within the Android Manifest file of the latest few Google Photos and Google Keep APKs are direct references to Android 8.0.0.
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:installLocation="auto" package="com.google.android.apps.photos" platformBuildVersionCode="26" platformBuildVersionName="8.0.0"> <manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" package="com.google.android.keep" platformBuildVersionCode="26" platformBuildVersionName="8.0.0">
platformBuildVersionCode refers to the API level that the app targets, while platformBuildVersionName is the human-readable version name that corresponds to this API level. As you can see above, the Google Photos and Google Keep apps released on June 1st both target API level 26 which is previously known to be Android O, but the version name associated with it is stated to be 8.0.0. This also occurs in the latest Google Keep APK as well.
Compare this to other Google apps that are built targeting API level 26, such as version 1.24 of the Android Pay app released on June 2nd.
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" package="com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel" platformBuildVersionCode="26" platformBuildVersionName="O">
I’ve checked the Android Manifest files of the latest updates of most other Google apps and have found few other references to Android 8.0.0 thus far. Gboard, Gmail, Google App, Google Calendar, Google Maps, etc. all either mention “O” as their platformBuildVersionName if they target API level 26, or mention “7.1.1” if targeting API level 25. Even the Gboard “dogfood” test version that was mistakenly released to users on the Play Store recently still used “O” as the platformBuildVersionName. I’m not sure why only the Google Photos and Google Keep apps have this string. It could be a mistake, or Google could be preparing to unveil this information soon. Still, this is the best piece of evidence that Android O is in fact Android 8.0.
Now all that’s left to do is speculate what dessert theme Google will base 8.0 on. Most people are guessing that it’ll be Android Oreo (and Google’s incessant teasing seems to point in that direction), but Google could surprise us all with their chosen flavor.