As we know since the last of couple years, Google reveals a new Android OS preview every year in March, So here we are in the march of 2018 enlightened by a new version of Android with some exciting new features to talk about.
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It goes without saying that the Android P would be a big update with major visual changes. The feature set also includes support for atypical displays, such as the ones with the notch. The Developer Options section now has a setting to simulate cutout displays.
The other change users may see: a tweaked look for the Quick Settings panel and notification drawer with rounded corners.
The new look for notifications also includes a redesigned messaging app: they will be able to include recent lines from conversations if you want to reply inline right inside the notification. Apps will also be able to include “Smart replies” (maybe provided by Google), images, and stickers directly in the notification.
Here are a few of the notable changes for developers (As Provided by Google)
- “Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle.” If an app is in the background and not active, they won’t be able to access your microphone. This is a huge bummer for Facebook-is-listening-to-you conspiracy theorists.
- Built-in support for more video and image codecs, including HDR VP9 Profile 2 and HEIF (heic), with the latter bringing Android more in line with how iOS does things. Google also promises more information “later this year” on “enhancing and refactoring the media APIs to make them easier to develop and integrate with.”
- A multi-camera API so an Android app can individually request the data from more than one camera sensor at once. So for phones that have two cameras on the back, there will be a standard way for apps to more granularly control them
- Support for Wi-Fi RTT (Round-Trip-Time), which allows apps to get indoor positioning data down to a meter or two. It works by measuring the distance to various Wi-Fi access points.
- Better Autofill, which should make it easier for password managers to enter your password for you so you aren’t constantly doing a switch-apps-and-copy-and-switch-apps-and-paste dance.
- Improved performance for ART and apps written in Kotlin.
- Changes to the bits that control power efficiency in Android, including Doze, Standby, and Background Limits. The Job Scheduler also is getting smarter about understanding the device’s network state and batching apps network requests together. Apps that want to fetch data in the background will need to be tested against all of that.
- Google is also warning developers that Android P is going to start throwing up warning boxes at users when they install apps that “targets a platform earlier than Android 4.2.” Basically, if you’re not using a recent SDK for your app, Google will make you feel bad by making your users distrust your app a little. It’s also going to expect that apps submitted to the Google Play store target Android Oreo in November and, in 2019, that they support 64-bit hardware.
- Google is also going to start “a gradual process to restrict access to selected non-SDK interfaces.” That’s code for “use the public APIs that we have created for Android or maybe someday your app won’t work” (not an actual quote). The company is taking this one slowly and is encouraging developers to reach out if their app isn’t covered.
How to download Android P Developer Preview?
As always, Android P DP1 is available for Google devices including Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. You can download and manually flash the compatible build for your device using this link.
Don’t forget the fact that these builds are intended for developer testing. And therefore, they might be unstable. So, it would be wise to install them on a spare device.
Full official release: Expected to be rolled out this fall
Even though we fully expect more details in May and a release this fall. Expecting this time’s update on your average phone won’t be a good idea because this time Google has changed a lot of different things and internal working features that won’t be supported by older devices, But it’s impossible to know until that we see that happen.