Android P

There’s a lot happening under the hood in Android P, so well break this into two sections, a list of our favorite features and performance review. For those wondering why the image above has a HTC One M8 with the Android P screen. We tested an ASOP build on the same.

Gesture Navigation

Google has redesigned the way you navigate the OS by introducing Gesture Navigation in Android P. Instead of three buttons set on the home screen, there is an option to use a new single home button that allows you to swipe up to view recent apps along with a UI that suggests apps you might use. Sliding too far left and right across the device would showcase recent apps and lets you quickly switch between them.

Wind Down

Many of us spend hours on our phones at night before we actually fall asleep. Wind Down will help you curb this habit by switching on Night Light and turning on the Do Not Disturb mode at your chosen bedtime.Just select the time at which you would like to go to bed, and Android P will fade the screen to grayscale to help you remember to sleep at the selected time.

App Actions

App Actions is another great feature in Android P that helps you better navigate through the day by giving smart suggestions based on your habits. It can automatically anticipate your next action based on the current action.For instance, if you connect your headphones to your smartphone, App Actions will ask if you’d like to continue listening to your favorite playlist on Spotify, thus allowing you to skip several steps in the process.Such actions show up throughout the OS such as Smart Text Selection, the Play Store, Launcher, the Google Search app and the Assistant.

Adaptive Battery & Adaptive Brightness

Google is relying more and more on AI to enrich user experience and its latest example is ‘Adaptive Battery.’ As per the company, it has partnered with DeepMind to get inputs on how to use machine learning for the best battery performance.It learns to prioritize battery power by observing apps and services you use the most, thereby helping you get the most out of your battery, and make it last for a longer time.To further improve your battery saving experience, improvements have been made to battery saver feature. Now Android Pie doesn’t wait for an app to be idle and puts an app in standby mode more aggressively. Also, background apps don’t have network access and the limits are applied to all apps–it doesn’t matter if they target Android P or not. Google is aiming at making smartphones smarter by making it learn from your habits and adapt according to your preferences.So Android 9.0 now sports a new mechanism called ‘Adaptive Brightness’ that learns your preferred levels of brightness in different surroundings.By tracking user adjusted brightness, it will automatically set the screen brightness levels for you.

Slices

‘Slices’ is one of the best Android P features which comes in handy at several places. It lets you perform basic application activities outside the app.Let’s say you search for ‘Lyft’ in Google Search. An interactive Slice appears on screen that displays price and time for a trip to work so that you can quickly book a ride.In short, Slices are fully functional UIs that can be embedded externally in other applications to provide a variety of options to the user. This feature, just like tons of other segments in Android, performs a deep analysis of your inputs and contexts to show you the best parts of the apps you use most of the time. It can surely send a chill down your spine.

Performance Upgrades

Bluetooth

Android 8.0 Oreo added the ability to connect to two different Bluetooth speakers at the same time, giving you the tools you need to give yourself homemade stereo sound. Android 9.0 Pie is going three better, with the ability to chain together up to five different Bluetooth speakers at once, essentially giving you the option to build yourself a surround sound system. Incoming calls will be sent to any one of the speakers capable of handling calls.Android 9.0 Pie now also remembers the volume at which you left each Bluetooth speaker, and will resume at that volume the next time your phone connects.Most excitingly for users of Bluetooth headphones, Android 9.0 Pie now comes with a setting that attempts to end the delay between your device and your earphones. If your earphones support Google’s new “sound delay reporting,” any lag between devices will be reported back to Android. Your phone will then offset any video content by that same amount of time, hopefully eradicating any syncing issues between the two devices.

Android Runtime Enhancements

One significant change in Android 9.0 Pie is behind the hood: Android 9.0 Pie will feature some major Android Runtime (ART) enhancements. These ART enhancements allow apps to rewrite their own execution files on the device, meaning they’ll launch faster and use less memory. Android P also gives apps expanded access to Google’s neural networks system for advanced types of machine learning, creates a more effective system for the universal autofill process introduced in Oreo, and provides substantial improvements to the underlying systems that allow apps to operate. Apps on Android P should use less memory, be more power efficient, and be faster-loading than what we see now.

Security

Then there’s all the system-level privacy and security stuff, which is a story in and of itself. Among other things, Android P will bring about more controlled access to your device’s camera, mic, and sensors; better encryption for backup data; more privacy with network connections; stronger protection from unsecure traffic; better protection of your unique device identifier; and the advent of user-facing warnings that’ll help you avoid using apps that ignore the latest (and thus most advanced and secure) systems for interacting with your data. Android 9.0 Pie features a number of new options to make your phone more secure. Perhaps the most exciting security update has to do with encryption. Android 9.0 Pie will now perform client-side encryption. Any data encryption or decryption that takes place will now happen on your phone and will require authentication from your phone (password, PIN, pattern). Since Google backs up all of your information to the cloud, this change will make it much more difficult for hackers or other prying eyes to access your information from a computer.Each time you access a network, your device shares its unique MAC address with that network. Android 9.0 Pie offers a new feature that will allow you to create randomized MAC addresses for each network you access. While Android 9.0 Pie will create a random MAC address for each network, the address will not continue to change each time you access the network.

Privacy 

Google may not have the best track record when it comes to user privacy, but the company is working to improve that. The new operating system version will restrict access to the phone’s microphone, camera, and other sensors. When an app is idle or running in the background, it will be unable to access any of the phone’s sensors (other than GPS). If an app does need to access a sensor while running in the background, it will have to show a persistent notification on your phone.

 

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