Android O is going to have unread badges. Having native support for unread count badges was going to be awesome… or so I thought. What Google actually did with unread badges blew me away. (Hint: It’s all about the notifications.)

When Android O first was released as a developer preview, one of the big features that got me extremely excited was the support for “unread badges.” Up until now I’d been using Nova Launcher’s “Tesla Unread” for unread count badges, as I really liked what iOS did with their red numbered dots.

When the Android O beta previews began shipping, the unread badges finally appeared… but they were all wrong. They didn’t give an unread count; they were only a little dots that appeared only when there was a notification from that app. Once you swiped away the notification, even if it was accidental, the dot would disappear. It also didn’t give you a count of unreads. They were just… dots.

“What was Google thinking?!” I thought.

It was only recently that I realized that this implementation of unread badges is pure genius. We’ve all seen iOS devices where there the unread count on, say, an email app is in the hundreds, if not thousands. And in reality, that isn’t unusual. With iOS’s (and Tesla Unread’s) current badge implementation, the sheer number of unread emails or text messages can be quite overwhelming or discouraging. For this reason, “Notification Dots” are superior, in my opinion.

Here’s the logic behind them: Notification Dots are colorful, unobtrusive little indicators that appear on the icon of the app when said app has a notification. Only when long-pressing that app icon do you get not only launcher shortcuts, but also the notifications directly under. This allows the user to see just that app’s notifications, and even clear notifications from the icon’s long-press menu.

Notification Dots are unobtrusive and uncomplicated. Honestly, after using them for a few days, I can’t live without them. Although this is a rather short article, I wanted to throw out my thoughts about Android O’s new Notification Dots. They are rather awesome if you give them a chance.

In a few days, I’ll be publishing a review on a root-free launcher that has Google Now AND Notification Dot support here on Android Circle. Keep your eyes peeled!