As it happens every year, Google’s annual developer conference held in Mountain View is going great so far. Lots of new revelations and innovative products or services are being announced by the hour and we can’t wait to dive headfirst into the aftermath of the symposium when it’s done.
However, despite the great number of interesting announcements, there’s only one that has gotten us all hyped and excited; and that’s the Android P.
To begin with, the Android P will come with a fresh design, as a result of the Material Design 2 context. We’ll get rounder app icons, more minimalistic lines and a new dock on the bottom side, for faster access and better organization. In addition, the notification and the quick setting panels will get a few twitches here and there as well.
Then there’s the App Actions, a new feature that combines multiple currently installed apps and previous tasks, in order to suggest new tasks and apps from the ‘app drawer’. Needless to say that new security upgrades will come hand-in-hand with the Android P, which will keep apps running in the background from getting access to your camera or using your microphone, while extra containments will prevent apps from tracking your data flow.
In terms of multitasking, the new OS will come with ‘Slices API’. That will allow you to get information from an app while you’re using another app. Unfortunately, we don’t have a visual of that, but it could mean for instance that you’ll be able to check your calendar without having to quit or pause your game.
So far so good. But no new software can earn a rightful place at the top, if it doesn’t incorporate machine learning in some way, nowadays. And Android P does not disappoint on that either. Of all the things that the engineers could have done with the assistance of ML, they chose to put its use to improve battery usage, thus giving birth to the Adaptive Battery feature. Google’s Dave Burke explained at the I/O 2018 “Adaptive Battery uses on-device machine learning to figure out which apps you’ll use in the next few hours and which you won’t use until later, if at all today”. This results in a smartphone or a tablet, that knows roughly what you’ll use it next for, so it can make sure to stop, pause or quit the apps that you won’t need.
Before we get to the most surprising and yet cool-looking update, here are some honourable mentions. Screenshot editing, gesture navigation and improved built-in search engine. Those are all some neat things you’ll find useful when you get your hands on any device running with the Android P.
And now for the most radical feature of them all. Drum roll please! Google says that information they’ve been gathering for years from smartphone users and the way the use their devices, suggests that people use their phones more and more, while at the same time they complain they want to be using them less. Even in the real world, there have been documented cases of patients that were diagnosed with phone addiction and others that can’t sleep because they get stuck scrolling through their newsfeed all night.
The Mountain View tech giant wants to help on that, so they’re bringing a new feature on the P that will allow users to limit themselves in terms of time they spend on their screens. Practically, this means that you’ll be able to let your phone block you from using an app after a certain amount of time – which you will be asked to set in the first place. As weird as it may seem, it could potentially change the relationship we all have with our 5inch-ish metal cold buddies.
Last but not least, the new os will be available in beta version for 11 models: Google Pixel, Pixel 2, Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6 – whenever that gets released – and Essential PH-1. While it’s just a handful of devices, it truly shows signs of improvement for Google and the smartphone makers as well who have to start rolling out the new Android Versions a lot sooner than that.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Android P? What’s your favourite feature? Do you have the beta version? Let us know in the comments below!