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Android P – “Do more by using less.”

Google I/O is that magical time of year where we get a first glimpse of new Google products. This year, Google is giving us a sneak peak at its latest smartphone OS, called Android P. Right now no one know about what the P stands for.

Android P is the successor to the Android Oreo and comes with more intelligent features onboard to the first batch of devices that are now eligible for the beta build. Android P outlines three basic work principles, as defined by Google – Intelligence, Simplicity, and Digital Wellbeing. Google has developed new features on the Android P to allow the users “do more by using less”.

Here are all the new features in the new version:-

Dashboard

Dashboard is a new feature that helps track the amount of time you spend on your device. With Dashboard, you can see how long you’re using your phone to send messages, stream content, surf the internet, or even make calls.

androidp-dashboard

New Animations

One of the biggest things that gives a phone its “personality,” for lack of a better term, is animations and transitions. Android P has added back in lots of more pronounced and longer animations throughout the interface, particularly in the new gesture-based multitasking interface. Apps and windows kind of zoom in and out of frame, making it feel like they’re moving around in a wider space than what’s visible in your phone’s screen.

Adaptive Battery

Android P is introducing a new app called Adaptive Battery that will take care of the battery usage by apps. In lieu of strangling the apps of the battery power or vice versa, the Adaptive Battery will read the patterns of how you use apps on your phone and chalk out an algorithm to squeeze out more power for the apps that you use most of the time, thanks to the partnership with DeepMind.

Adaptive Battery will prioritise the battery power for the apps and services that are more actively used. It will categorise the apps on the basis of their usage into active, frequent, rare, and working set.

Adaptive Battery

Smart replies for notifications

Having debuted within the Gmail app, and then a dedicated Smart Reply app, Google is bringing AI-powered reply suggestions straight into the notification area. With Android P, you will no longer have to think or write anything back to the dozens of inane messages you get – just tap a button and be done with it.

Dual camera support

Because so many phones now feature dual cameras, Android P also comes with dual camera support baked in. A new API lets apps “access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras”

Adaptive Brightness

Much like Adaptive Battery, Google is now reinventing that way you look at the phone’s screen at various times of the day. Android P brings Adaptive Brightness onboard that will learn how you set the brightness according to the surroundings and will automatically set the brightness to that level the next time same surroundings are detected by it.

This is possible because of the deeper integration of Machine Learning (ML) right into the core of the Android P.

App Actions

With Android P, the users will be able to do more on their devices without actually opening the app. Google has introduced App Actions that offers the users predictions on what they want to do next, based on the past usage patterns. With the help of Machine Learning, Google will keep a track of the activities of the user on the phone, for example making a call to a particular person at around 2 pm, or listening to music while commuting in the evening. It will then automatically suggest these actions in the app drawer as the conditions seem favorable to the user’s preferences.

Slices

Slices is a new feature that’s actually a building block for the App Actions. Slices is what the name suggests, the most used feature and activities inside a particular app will be presented as Slices to the users so that they get “even deeper look” into their favorite apps. For example, searching Lyft in Google Search will show an interactive Slice that will show the price and ETA for a trip to work, and tapping on it would eliminate the need to go through the process required to make that happen inside the app.

ML Kit

The App Actions and Slices are two smaller components of a larger system that Google has developed and embedded in Android P. Google has extensively deployed Machine Learning for that and it wants the developers to make the best use of it for their apps, as well. ML Kit is a set of cross-platform APIs that will available through Firebase to the developers on both Android and iOS platforms.

ML Kit will allow the developers to use the predefined Machine Learning call functions for their apps to make them show up in the results of the queries made by the user. ML Kit will offer developers user’s on-device APIs for text recognition, image labelling, and face detection among others.

New Gestures and Buttons

Android P is not only banking upon the suggestions and patterns, read and proposed by Machine Learning, but also making the user experience more simplistic. With Android P, the users would not need to press the traditional home, back, and menu buttons to browse through their phones. Google has introduced Gestures in the Android P to substitute the buttons for various actions such as swipe up to open the recent apps menu called Overview while doubling it opens the app drawer, swipe down to return to the home screen, and swipe left and right to switch between the recently opened apps.

  • Tap: go to home screen
  • Long press: launch Google Assistant
  • Half swipe up: go to overview screen
  • Full swipe up: go to app drawer
  • Slide to right: scroll through recent apps
  • Back button: go back (only appears inside apps)

Digital Wellbeing

Google is realising that technology is overshadowing the prospects for which it was originally conceived. People today are glued to their screens every minute, every hour, so much so that they begin to lose out on things that are a whole lot worthy to be a part of Google is helping the users maintain their ‘digital wellbeing’ by explaining how JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) is better FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), a term which is a fad on our times.

There are three ways Google is ensuring the user’s digital wellbeing – the new Do Not Disturb mode, Android Dashboard, and Wind Down mode. The three apps make sure that a user’s daily intake of apps, videos, and other content consumed on a device stays below the threshold so that the user can take time out for other things. While the new Do Not Disturb mode offers a complete no-distraction mode on your phone, the rest two are largely dependent on how you use your phone to prescribe switch off times.

Wellbeing

Enhanced privacy

Google is revamping the way Android handles background apps to better protect user privacy. Starting with Android P, apps given permission for location, the microphone, camera and network status will no longer be able to access them when idle in the background. As such, it will be harder for rogue apps to spy on users without their knowledge.

When can I get it?

If you want to try out the Android P beta, you’ll need to make sure you have a supported device. There’s a better chance that the Android P beta works with your phone than the Android O beta did a year ago, simply because Android P is on more devices. That got audible cheers from the Google IO crowd.

So far, it works with:

  • Google Pixel or Pixel 2
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Vivo X21
  • OnePlus 6
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Oppo R15 Pro
  • Essential PH-1

Downloading Android P is simple: You just need to join the Android Beta Program and elect OTA (over the air) updates. Once you’re successfully enrolled, you’ll see an update available within a few hours.

If you want to install Andriod P I strongly suggest you do not install the beta on your primary smartphone. Android P is currently in a very early beta, and there’s going to be problems and missing features. If you install Android P and decide to switch back to Android 8.0 Android, you may lose data and need to flash your device. So take care before installing the new Andriod P on your supported phone.

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