At the annual Google I/O event, the tech giant has officially unveiled their upcoming Android P update. The event gave us a peak on what new features the new update brings — plus other details about its release and what not.
Now, I know some of you might not be too excited about this news considering that a lot of Android devices still doesn’t have Android Oreo. Or worse, some devices are still running on older versions like Marshmallow and Nougat.
We can talk about Android’s fragmentation all day — but that’s not what we are here for. And besides, the company is actually trying to solve that issue with Project Treble.
So this time, let’s just focus on what the upcoming Android P update has in store for us. In fact, there are actually tons of new things that Google is preparing for us. Today, we listed the top 5 best new features of Android P.
In its developer preview version, it was revealed that Android P is designed to work well with devices that have screen notches. The company has announced a “Display Cutout API” so developers can design their interface to look good with the trendy display notch.
But other than that iPhone X-esque feature, Google also took some inspiration on Apple’s iOS with the new gesture navigation feature. The Multi-task, home-button, and back button are almost gone, as they are now combined on a single button.
The implementation works just like the one on the iPhone X. You can swipe up slowly to launch the recent apps, swipe from left to right to switch between them, or swipe all the way up to access the app drawer.
The back button is still there, but it will only spawn when it’s needed, especially when you’re within an app.
Just like everyone in the industry today, Google will also take full advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their new Android P update. In fact, we can spot that technology at work in their new App Actions feature.
This one is actually nifty. Android P can provide suggestions based on your current action as it anticipates your next one. For example, it will automatically pull out your last Spotify playlist once you plug in your headphones.
And if you search for a movie via Google Search, Android P will bring up different ticketing apps, or the YouTube app where you can watch the trailer. The App Actions suggestions will pop up in different places like the Play Store, Google Search, and Assistant, Smart Text Selection, and straight from the home screen itself.
This next one is just like App Actions. Slices also provide you suggestions based on your current actions. However, this time, it goes deeper as it can show the specific feature from a specific app that you might want to use next.
Google showed an example via a ride-hailing app called Lyft. When you search the app on Google Search, it will automatically show you an option to hail a ride going home, work, or anywhere else you want to go.
The suggestion also shows the travel distance and the price without having to dig in inside the app. You can just tap on the suggestion, and you will be sent directly to that particular part of the app.
Adaptive Battery and Brightness
Google is also using AI to hopefully improve the battery performance of Android P devices. With AI, the software can figure out which apps you use the most, and completely disable the ones that you won’t be using for the next few hours.
In addition, Google will utilize AI for their improved Adaptive Brightness feature. Currently, adaptive brightness will decide how bright it wants the screen panel would be depending on the surrounding.
But with this improved feature, Android P will learn how you manually adjust the screen brightness in different scenarios which it will use in the future.
This last one looks really interesting. With Digital Wellbeing, Android wants you to be aware of your smartphone usage — so you know if you had too much and will hopefully force you to balance both your online and offline life.
There are many features that are included in this feature. First, there’s the Dashboard. This will list the amount of time you spent on your device, how many times you’ve unlocked it, and even the time spent on different apps.
Google also added App Timer, which allows you to set time limits on apps so you don’t go overboard. The new Do Not Disturb mode completely silences the phone, even the random pop-ups on the screen.
And lastly, we have the Wind Down feature. This feature will set the screen n into grayscale mode, turns on the Night Light and the Do Not Disturb Mode so you can finally rest and have a “me” time.
The Android P beta is now available on the Google Pixel, plus other Project Treble-enabled devices such as the Nokia 7 Plus, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Sony Xperia XZ2, OPPO R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and the Essential Phone.