At this year’s Google Developers Conference, the world was introduced to a preview of the upcoming mobile operating system, Android P. The naming convention as usual follows the alphabetical order even as what ‘P’ stands for remains uncertain but we are glad that what Android P offers has not been kept away from us any longer.
At the heart of its operations are Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning aimed at helping the mobile device understand its user better. Now that we know what P’s heart does, we can meet the features that come with it, the most recent ones in particular.
There seems to be quite a lot of improvement on the Android 8.1 Oreo and a couple of additions too. I have managed to whittle all that down to a few new features that I will discuss in details here and a list of the rest thereafter. So, Viola here they are;
Rounded corners & Navigation Bar
Most likely than not when you turn on your Android P-powered device for the first time, you should notice that Google has made sharp edges go away, which ultimately means a big welcome to rounded corners and it’s not just the home screen. It’s a perfect fit now that most smartphone OEMs have switched to rounded corners for their latest devices or think of a round peg in a round hole, get it?
The next change which is also very important is the navigation bar which favors a pill-shaped icon in place of the navigation buttons that we have become accustomed to. It definitely would not take long to get accustomed to this as well as love it. Just as you guessed, the pill shaped icon does everything from navigation(left, up, right and down) to launching Google Assistant when you press and hold it.
A Tap takes you to the Home Screen, a Full swipe up leads to the App Drawer , an Half swipe to Overview and a press and hold action to the right takes you through all of the Recent apps. In my opinion, the changes to the navigation bar are cool plus they are customizable as well, you can switch to your preferred color and background.
Dashboard & Wind Down
Maybe these are the most exciting features for me, you will know why in the following lines. The Dashboard and Wind Down have just been recently added and could be very important in restraining smartphone addiction; not that it’s a really bad thing. Now that’s why am so excited about these features, I can’t wait for Android P to roll out.
The Dashboard feature helps to keep track of how long you use on your device indicating each application and the ‘Time spent per app’. We have seen this before with the battery but the excitement doesn’t end there.
Certain apps, perhaps thinking they know what you need, can advice you take a screen break(Better not happen with Netflix) and you also have the option of setting time limits for applications meaning once the time limit is exhausted, you are restricted access to it. The Wind Down Mode will come in handy as you get to let Google Assistant know your Bedtime and watch the phone screen get all grayed out while the device switches to Do Not Disturb.
Adaptive Brightness & Optimizations
What Adaptive Brightness does is to determine your favored screen brightness and adjust this with respect to lightning conditions based on the data it has already collected thanks to AI. That has however not taken your free will, you can always reach for that brightness slider when you feel the need to; another data to collect there.
Artificial Intelligence offers much needed help in battery optimization and applications as well making sure your smartphone understands you enough to suggest applications you might need to use at a specific time or cutting off applications you don’t seem to be using but are sapping battery power.
Death Of Auto-rotate
Read again Jay-Z fans. I typed ‘Death of Auto-rotate’ not ‘Death of Auto-tune’. Google knows how frustrated we sometimes get when we do not want our smartphone screen to change orientation but it does, after rotating of course.
The Rotation confirmation feature is introduced to put an end to that. You will now get a pop-up to the right of the home button asking you to confirm if the app should change orientation or not when you rotate the smartphone. I am a fan of this one, goodbye to Auto-rotate.
Other additions and improvements are listed below;
- Slices, Actions, ML Kit
- New Gestures; Hold Power and Volume Up buttons to stop ringing, Flip phone over to activate Silent Mode
- Indoor positioning with Google Maps
- Multi-camera support
- Cutout support
- Improved notifications; Reply notifications with Google’s “MessagingStyle”
- Screenshot button amidst power options
- Clock appears left of notification bar
- HEIF support
- Android Runtime Enhancements
- Improved security and privacy.
Now I know what you are about to ask so let me answer your questions.
Is Android P Available And Where?
Android P is available but only as Beta version, the full version is speculated to roll out in August this year. The Beta version is available for download only on Essential Phone PH-1, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Nokia 7 Plus, OnePlus 6, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S.
To get your device updated to Android P, you are required to enroll in the Android Beta Program and then continue with the download and installation process after finding your device.