At the moment we have the latest public and stable version of Android at 8.1 commonly known as Oreo but in a few months time, Google will roll out the next version of Android and it’s the most ambitious one in its entire 10 years of existence. That’s right, besides a major OS upgrade, the next iteration of Android is also celebrating the Operating System’s 10th birthday.
But what really makes the next version of Android so important to users and how does it affect the way we use our phones in the future? For one, Android P is built-in the foundation of open standard which makes the operating system more flexible and easy to deploy. Then we have the surge of AI all over the place and of course Google is one of the first few companies to incorporate such technology into its system, long before AI the masses fully understood what AI really does in modern smartphones.
So the focus on Android P is all about usability, features and gestures. One could reference iPhone X UI in a sense, though Android users would easily disregard such notion but as what we can see from the preview build, the upcoming OS is almost half the same as the Cupertino counterpart from features to gestures which one would easily notice their resemblance.
So, with Android P, Google is introducing a new system navigation complete with new gesture controls. The three button navigation keys has been replaced with a two buttons with the new Android pill home button and the back key. The new home button in Android P now is a multi-function key with swipe gestures for different commands.
Android P continues the same material design language from its predecessors with refined interface and has been made more simplified, a redefined Quick Settings which allows users to easily take screenshots, a new volume control and minute aesthetic changes that makes Android a lot easier than ever.
With the increasing popularity of AI technologies, Android P is using the tech to make our Android devices even more smarter and learns on how we use them. Google partnered with DeepMind to build its native Adaptive Battery feature which manages and battery and maximizes them in every way possible. Likewise, Adaptive Brightness which currently is available with Android devices could finally learn from user’s screen brightness preference on a given surrounding.
App Action is also a new intuitive way how the system predicts your next action with how you use and launch your apps. With this feature, Android P can predict your next possible action, let’s say you’ve plug-in your headphone, Android will then show possible apps that users would want to run after that. And then there’s Slices another core feature powered by AI that helps you get into apps. Try searching “Lyft” in Google Search and the system will show an interactive Slice with prices and time of the trip and even book a ride.
Now that AI is pretty much a mainstay in our digital life whether we like it or not, the technology isn’t just about the technology itself and the devices that it runs into but also are one of the key players for our well-being and Google made sure that our next devices will be self-aware of our actions and time spent on our device.
With Android P, Google develop a new feature that just take care of us as users of smartphones. There’s a new Dashboard that shows home many times we’ve unlock our device, time spent on the device and the time spent on apps. App Timer sets a time limit on apps, let’s users know when they’re nearly to consume their limit and gray out apps letting users know that they’ve achieve their goal.
The Do Not Disturb feature in Android gets an overhaul and it has not just limit itself with sound notifications anymore but also visually by silencing any visual notification on the screen. Turning the phone over will also automatically turn on Do Not Disturb mode. And then we have Wind Down, this new little feature will automatically turn on Night light when it gets dark and altogether turns on Do Not Disturb and fade the screen into grayscale to let users know that it’s bedtime.
Besides these noticeable features, Android P also comes with new features underneath especially with security and privacy which become more and more of a concern nowadays.
Google released the first Android P Developer Preview to the public and they are now available to Google Pixel devices and specific devices from Google partners including: Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and the Essential PH‑1.