While we all have been waiting for the Android Oreo update on our smartphones, Google has released the first developer preview of Android P. We don’t know what P stands for but there’s plenty of time to dwell on that with the official launch scheduled on Q3 of 2018.
As this is the first Developer Preview, it is in Alpha stage and few more version updates will be published in the future.
Quick settings and Notification Bar
One of the big changes seen on Android P is the revamped quick settings menu. The icons are big and the blue colored indication of settings turned ON looks playful. The icons are clearly visible and better identifiable. Android seems to have done this to make the UI more user-friendly making it easier for the new users to cope up with Android. The quick setting tiles are now vertically scrollable instead of horizontal pagination. And applying dark wallpaper will convert the quick settings background to dark but it doesn’t affect the settings menu.
Also when you get a new text message, the notification bar will show the image of the sender. When pictures are sent in instant messaging, full picture preview is available on the notification bar if the app is optimized to do so. Not to forget smart replies are now built in. Every time you get a message notification, your notification bar will show options for pre-calculated replies. This feature was first featured in Google Allo messaging app.
Long press on the power button will not only give power and restart options but there’s a new addition to the menu, the option for the screenshot. Along with the screenshot button, Android P has introduced the Markup editor which lets the user edit screenshots by letting them draw and add texts to it. If you want to try the new Markup Editor, here’s an apk you can install.
The big and most welcome change in the preview is the new volume controls. They are now on the right-hand side placed vertically so you can easily control it using a single hand. You can also choose between the volume of different media. There’s a separate icon below the volume control to put your phone to the ringer, vibrate or silent.
As we have seen in MWC 2018 a lot of Android smartphones have adopted the notch like the iPhone X. It’s not the kind of trend that we consumers want to see. But nonetheless, they have been hugely implemented and the new Android P build is ready for the awful notches. There are three options for coping the app with various cutouts namely:
- Narrow Display Cutouts
- Tall Display Cutout
- Wide Display Cutout
Also, the quick settings color we mentioned earlier turns to green when the notch is activated. The clock now resides on the right-hand side because of the notch.
The Setting Menu has got a facelift. Instead of the dull grey and white colors – now the settings menu is full of playful colors. It certainly provides more material design vibes to it. But once you go a step deeper into the menu the same black and white menu prevails.
With the Multi-Camera API, third-party developers will be able to properly use the dual cameras that have been popularly popping up in Android devices. With this addition, apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and other messaging apps will be able to use the features like seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. Also, there are under the hood changes for optimization.
Better Neural Network Support
Neural Network API was introduced in Android 8.1 Oreo. With the increasing use of Machine Learning on apps and system itself, the new API will accelerate the Machine Learning and enhance Artificial Intelligence related tasks.
Doze mode was first introduced with the launch of Marshmallow. It has helped greatly in improving the battery and with the new update has added more improvements on the doze mode. Android P has refined Doze mode, App standby, and background limits.
Indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT
Android P has added support for the IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol also known as WiFi Round-Trip-Time (RTT). With the new addition, it enables indoor navigation.
Google mentions: “With this accuracy, you can build new experiences like in-building navigation, fine-grained location-based services such as disambiguated voice control (for example, “Turn on this light”), and location-based information (such as “Are there special offers for this product?”).”
There are a lot more improvements under the hood than that meets the eyes. Mostly Developer Previews – as the name suggests- is targeted towards developers to ready their app for the next version of Android so there are no support issues with apps when the new version is launched.