After the widespread popularity of Android 8.0, Google has just released the first developer preview of its next operating system, Android P; the name is still not finalized though. Google is expected to launch the stable release of Android P in May at its upcoming I/O 2018. This, not just any other new version of Android as it includes deep changes Google has made to Android are going to make the upgrade situation much better this time. Though you will want to install this upgrade on your smartphone soonest, the device you are using will largely determine when you get Android P.
The present preview is mainly focused on changes that will affect developers and doesn’t talk about the user-facing changes. As it is still in its very early stages of testing, we are going to discuss the standout new features of this developer’s build to give you an idea of what you can expect to see on your phone when the OS eventually reaches it.
- Button for taking screenshots in the power menu and volume button on sides: Android P offers an additional screenshot button apart from the power button which could be pressed for long for the same purpose. The volume slider that used to be horizontally placed on the top of the screen has also been made vertical and shifted to the side.
- Display notch is now supported: Android P supports an iPhone X-style “notch” or display cutout for cameras and sensors. This simulates the notch digitally. By supporting the display notch, Google has brought up native OS support for screens having small cut-out area. With the clock displayed on the left and connectivity icons moved to the right, the notch is blacked out and just shows the readiness of the operating system for notch based screens.
- Data is positioned indoor for mapping: Indoor mapping support and round-trip time of Wi-Fi that is focused on a meter or two help in measuring the distance of all Wi-Fi access points.
- Notifications and replies are revamped: The notifications and pop-ups will offer more details and integrate the smart reply feature. You can check the previous images and messages in a conversation directly from the notification drawer, without even opening the app, and send replies from there itself. These replies are also saved as drafts in the appropriate app in case you inadvertently close the notification.
- Security and privacy improvements: As most Android apps need access to camera, gallery, WiFi, SMS, mic, etc. this can bring privacy and security risks along. Android P will strengthen the foundation of Android by boosting security and privacy, thereby increasing performance and power efficiency. Android P will do this by restricting access to a mic, camera, and all sensors from apps by setting them in their default, idle mode. Thus, the path of data transmission between the app maker and the device will be blocked. Moreover, Android P will integrate all apps to the in-house fingerprint scanner to ensure less frauds.
You can also lock your device by the push of a button now with the all-new lockdown feature of Android P. Users will get a notification on the smartphone screen whenever any app tries to access the gallery, sensors, camera, microphone, etc.
- Multiple cameras will be supported simultaneously: As dual camera phones are trending, Google has provided an API for developers in Android P that allows multiple cameras to operate simultaneously. This new API makes apps access streams from two or more physical cameras at the same time and synchronizes them. This helps the user create innovative features lacking in single cameras, such as stereo vision, seamless zoom, and bokeh.
- Ameliorated ambient display and pixel launcher: The battery status will now be visible at the bottom of the screen along with the clock and other notifications because of the ambient display coupled with Google Search Widget attached to a microphone button.
- Tweaked low battery mode and battery life: Background synchronization is decreased, and the vibrator is disabled in Android P when the battery is below normal in order to save battery. In order to save battery life, Android P refines Doze, App Standby, and Background limits.
- Refined quick settings: While taking screenshots has become faster with the screenshot button, editing screenshots within the notification section allow you to crop, format, and write on the screenshot using a new markup tool. Thus, quick access to these settings has loosened completely to quick settings.
- Control of media output: In Android P, proper media control has replaced Bluetooth settings or cast button in a music app. A new volume control pops up when Volume rocker is pressed. All available connected devices can be found by clicking the media button.
- Visual upgrade: The aesthetic appeal has been enhanced by the use of rounded corners, soft colors, and chronologically arranged icons on task menu. The background has been made more translucent by redesigning the dock to beautifully exhibit applications and microphone icons.
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This developer preview of Android P is not stable, and many features may change in the final stable version as this version is made purely for testing by developers. So, regular phone users are not advised to install the Android P developer version on their mobiles. With the launch of Android P, warning signals may be thrown at users who are using a platform earlier than 4.2. and gradually the access to selected non-SDK interfaces may be restricted.