Here’s everything we know so far about Android P – Google’s next operating system.
After months of speculation, Android P is finally here. Well, to be clear, developer previews of Google’s newest mobile operating system are available to download.
From an iPhone X-style notch, to performance improvements, these files have already revealed glimpses at a myriad new features we can expect on Android P and the latest of these reveals more about how the phones running the next-level software will handle sound.
According to code spotted in the developer preview files, by Android Police, Android P will feature smart volume controls that remember the settings of each Bluetooth device connected to your phone or tablet. This will mean music coming from a speaker will play at a certain level compared to how it sounds on your phone. Granted it’s a minor feature, and one that we doubt many of us have considered, but it could prove useful.
Called ‘Implement Bluetooth device volume memory’, we’re expecting the feature to make its debut at the launch of Andoird P at the Google IO 2018 in early May.
So. what else are we expecting from Android P? On this page we’ll run through the standout new features in the developers’ build and, because it’s still in its earliest stages of testing, what you can expect to see when the OS eventually reaches your phone.
If you want to be among the first to get your hands on Android P, you can sign up to be an Android beta tester. You can also compare the new Android P features with those added in Android Oreo. However, before you download any early version of the software, Google has warned these builds are liable to breaking, so you should only install it if you know what you’re doing, and never on your day-to-day phone.
Android P release date
The developer version of Android P was released in March, so we still expect to see the full stable version appear some time in August. Although Google has promised to tackle fragmentation, where different manufacturers roll out updates at different times, when you get Android P will still largely depend on which device you have. Unfortunately this means only Pixel users are likely to see Android P the day it’s released by Google.
Android P name: Still no news on a moniker
Google is slowly making its way down the dessert-themed alphabet, and the name of the next sweet, tasty Android OS, known until now as Android P, may have already leaked. According to a report from Android Open Source Project, Android P might be called Android Pi, according to the Android Open Source Project.
However, there’s still no official confirmation of the name and the last time we were confident about an Android name, when “Key Lime Pie” was “leaked” internally, it ended up being called KitKat. Still, this doesn’t mean the company won’t opt for something pie-related, seeing as Google has never used the word pie in an Android OS name in the past.
Android P features
Android P: The notch is confirmed
As first predicted by Bloomberg, Google has confirmed Android P will support an iPhone X-style “notch” or display cutout.
We saw a number of new Android phones, including the Asus ZenFone 5Z, at MWC featuring cut outs. More recently, it was seen on the average Huawei P20 and the fanstastic Huawei P20 Pro handsets. At this stage it seems Google is catering to these third-party manufacturers rather than necessarily planning an iPhone-X style notch for its own Pixel devices.
Personally, I’d also like to think that Google is better than copying an Apple feature that’s more about style than function.
Android P: iPhone X-style gestures
A screenshot from the most recent Android update, posted in the Android Developers Blog and discovered by 9to5Google, recently added further weight to the notch claims first reported on last month.
The shot appears to show a revamped navigation bar featuring a thinner, “pill-shaped” home button, similar to that seen on the iPhone X, with the recent apps option missing. This, accompanied by reports from a source familiar with the plans, suggests you’ll be able to access multitasking features on Android P by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, a la iPhone X.
Android P: Better notifications
Elsewhere, Android P features new, improved messaging notifications. More specifically, you’ll be able to see images you’ve been sent and previous messages in a conversation directly from the notification draw, and you can also send photos and stickers without needing to open an app. Among other refinements, replies you send from the notification drawer will also be saved as drafts in the appropriate app should you inadvertently close the notification. Like everything on this page, any of these refinements could be lost or change in due course, as successive developer versions of Android P are released.
Android P: 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”, explains the Android developers blog.
“On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision”, explains the blog. “We’re looking forward to seeing your new and exciting creations as Android P devices supporting multiple cameras reach the market in the year ahead.”
Android P: Security, privacy and performance improvements
Along with a host of other back-end refinements, which you can read about on the Android Developers Blog, Google has announced that Android P will strengthen Android’s foundations, “continuing our long-term investment to make Android the best platform for developers”. With this in mind, there are boosts to security, privacy, performance and power efficiency. In particular, “Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all…sensors from apps that are idle,” to ensure better privacy, explains Google.
Android P: Dropping support for certain handsets
One of the standout revelations from recent developer releases was that Google is officially ending major OS support for its older models, namely the Nexus 5X, Google Nexus 6P and Pixel C tablet.
The 2015 products were only meant to be supported for two years, so this change comes as no surprise, but it will irk some loyal fans. As a result, Android 8.1 was the last supported major OS. Google will support security updates for these handsets until November 2018 and then you’re on your own.