With almost everyone in the world having cell phones and smartphones, innovation isn’t just taking place in the physical models but in the software too. The operating system or the O.S. is the heart of any smartphone. The more powerful the operating system, the more a smartphone can do it in terms of functionality and features. Till now there have been two major companies controlling the operating systems in phones and they are Apple and Google. While Apple limits the use of iOS to only their products, Google caters to almost every other major smartphone brand. The sheer flexibility and open source nature of Google’s Android has made it a favorite amongst millions of users all over the world. Today, the tech giant is getting ready to release their latest operating system – Android 9.0 (or) Android P.
Here is what we know so far about the upcoming Android P.
What We Know So Far
- Google announces the next version of an Android operating system named Android P on March 7th, 2018.
- The first developer preview of Android P was launched on the same day as above.
- The second preview was opened on May 8th, 2018.
- Public Beta for Android P went live after the Google I/O 2018 developer conference.
The Ones That Came Before
We can’t really talk about the future without understanding the past. Throughout the history of Google, they have always gravitated more towards the cleaner and nicer things in life when it comes to naming their Android versions. Here are the ones that have come before the current Android Oreo (Android 8.0).
- Version 1.6 – Android Donut
- Version 2.0 – Android Eclair
- Version 2.2 – Android Froyo
- Version 2.3 – Android Gingerbread
- Version 3.0 – Android Honeycomb
- Version 4.0 – Android Ice Cream Sandwich
- Version 4.1 – Android Jelly Bean
- Version 4.4 – Android KitKat
- Version 5.0 – Android Lollipop
- Version 6.0 – Android Marshmallow
- Version 7.0 – Android Nougat
- Version 8.0 – Android Oreo
What Does The ‘P’ Stand For?
Google is expected to announce the official name of their next OS by the coming summer. Until then, we will be hearing a lot of speculations regarding the “P” of the Android P. The last version was “Oreo” and before that, we have had “Marshmallow”, “Cupcake” and plenty more. Some believe that it could mean “peppermint” which is a really cool name for the new operating system. It could also be Popsicle, as hinted in the image shared below. Another favorite is “Pineapple” but the reason for that speculation is somewhat rooted in reality. We all know Google likes to tease us by leaving Easter eggs in all of their products. This year a pineapple cake was used in an online puzzle based on Google’s Street View while teasing this year’s I/O location.
Android P Compatibility
So far Android P has been found to be compatible with:
Features of Android P
Ever since the Android P was released for public beta, we have been able to find various new features being brought forth with the upcoming version. So far, everything has been great as tons of new functionality and features have been spotted. As more betas open, we will be discovering more information on important issues such as bugs, issues, and functional capabilities. Here are some of the features discovered so far.
User Interface (UI) Experience:
Navigation Bar Functionality
One of the biggest changes coming to the way the user interacts with the user interface is with the navigation bar. Android P has implemented gestures that can allow you to use the “home” screen to access your recent apps. The traditional home button design will be replaced with a small “pill” shaped icon at the bottom. By swiping up towards the top of the screen, you can see and access all your currently open apps.
Navigation Bar Customization
Another cool feature regarding the navigation bar is customization. With Navbar apps, you will soon be able to customize the color of your navigation bar and the background color according to your personal preference. What’s cool is the option to select the color from running apps so you can match your user interface with the colored theme of the app you are using at that point of time.
Android P will also introduce brand new gestures for better navigation and control. Soon you will be able to silence your phone by simply turning it over. As of this moment, only a few phones have the capability but soon every phone with Android P will be able to enjoy this and many more unique and convenient gesture functionalities. You can see some of the new options in this image.
Notifications is a huge part of the overall user experience when it comes to smartphones. They have a very thin line between great convenience and outright annoyingness. Google is planning to make their implementation a little better. One way they are planning this is with message/chat notifications. When you get one of these, you will soon be able to reply to the sender without opening the app. You will be provided with preset reply options and the ability to send images and stickers right from the notifications menu.
Locked Screen Rotation
Currently, you do have an option to lock the screen rotation functionality in every smartphone. However, the Android P will be providing a whole new way of stopping accidental screen rotations. You will get a screen rotation lock icon at the bottom of the screen which you can tap to switch orientation.
One of the most exciting things coming up with the Android P is the new inclusive emojis. Who doesn’t use emojis in their day to day conversations these days? The new O.S. brings well over 100 new emojis to help spice up our daily messages and express yourselves in new and better ways. You can check out some of the new ones at Emojipedia.
With the Android P, your volume slider will be placed on the right side of the screen right next to the volume buttons. However, that is not the only change. By pressing the volume buttons, you will be able to adjust the media volume instead of just the ringer volume. The ringer volume can be turned on and off by toggling a digital button that appears on the interface.
Clearer, Colorful and Sharper Visuals
While the visual design aspect may undergo a few tweaks before the official release, everything looks amazing in the Android P. The text looks crisp, the menus have more color in them and even the animations feel smooth and interactive.
Some noticeable design changes include seeing your app notification icons pile up right next to the time clock at the top left part of the screen. The menus also have more rounded edges rather than straight up rectangular shapes.
Another brilliant addition is the fact that the battery percentage will now be displayed at the bottom of the phone even if you have locked it. No longer do you have to unlock the phone just to see how much charge you got left.
Tech Behind Android P
This is one extremely cool feature to have as it automatically adjusts the brightness of your phone according to your surroundings. It does so by using A.I. to understand your screen brightness preferences and the conditions under which you usually change them. Once it has understood what you like, it will make the necessary changes whenever similar lighting conditions are experienced.
This feature helps you keep track of the amount of time spent on your device. This may seem like a redundant feature but it’s actually a great thing to have. With each passing day, people are spending more and more time on their smartphones without realizing the amount of stress being caused to their body and mind. Having a feature like this can alert you when you start spending too much time on your phone. It also allows you to set screen time limits on apps should you require it.
This feature allows developers to use its API to create shortcuts within Android by using contextual suggestions. So if you are searching for a cab in an app, soon there will be a way to book it without even opening the app. By utilizing the AI, developers will be able to suggest options for you right when you search for them.
App actions is designed to predict your future actions and present you with options to help you navigate through your phone shortcuts more easily. It utilizes A.I. to keep track of the various apps you use and present contextual suggestions based on that information.
Indoor Google Maps
Google maps is easily one of the most used navigation apps in the world today. However, as of now, when you are indoors, it can get a bit dicey. All that is changing with the Android P. With the new O.S., there will be a better and more precise positioning capability in Google Maps that will allow you to successfully navigate to your desired destination even if you are inside a giant mall. This will be done by utilizing Wi-Fi Round Trip Time or RTT that will allow better indoor positioning in navigation based apps. It is important to note that this technology isn’t just for navigation apps but a slew of other functionalities as well. When coupled with voice activation apps, the more precise positioning can allow you to communicate better for turning off certain lights in your home or asking your digital assistant about any particular product you see in the real world. The possibilities are endless.
This is a new feature coming with the Android P that utilizes a gesture to turn your phone screen off. Every time you tilt your phone face down on a surface, this feature will automatically shut off your screen, silence it and even hold off notifications. However, you will have the option to custom allow contacts so that only their messages come with alerts in this mode. This is part of Google’s “Digital Wellbeing” initiative which strives to remind people about balancing real life, health, and technology usage.
Performance and Security
Better Battery Life
With the Android P, you will soon be able to maximize your phone’s battery life due to the numerous changes the new O.S will bring with it. Aside from all the “under the hood” changes made, Android P will be changing the way phones open apps. The adaptive battery feature will collect information of app usage on your phone and learn how to best optimize battery usage for it. Also, currently your battery saver option pops up only when you are at 15-30 percent of your battery life. With Android P, you will be able to use the same option when your phone reaches 70 percent or less for maximum optimization of your battery life.
Android P will also be enhancing its ART (Android Runtime) which will allow apps to be launched faster while using significantly less memory. This will definitely improve the performance of your smartphone in spades.
Safer and Secure
Google always updates its security with every Android version update but with the Android P, Google is bringing the big guns. Out of the numerous security updates coming with the new O.S., the one that is most significant is the client-side encryption. Unlike before, any data encryption or decryption will now occur on the smartphone through password, PIN or pattern authentication. Why is this better? That’s because Google always backs up your information in the cloud and hackers and bad actors won’t be able to get access to it easily. Another security feature is the change being brought to the sharing of your unique MAC address while accessing a network. With the Android P, a random MAC address will now be created for each network you access. Other notable security updates are encrypted network traffic on applications, user notifications that pop up when your app uses an old API and a new UI for fingerprint authentication.
While security has been one of Google’s best achievements, privacy, sadly hasn’t been one. But all that might change with the Android P. The new O.S. will have better control access to various features of the smartphone such as your camera, microphone and even sensors. If your phone is in an idle state, it won’t be able to access any of the above features, except GPS. If a third party app does require access to any such features, you will receive a notification informing you about it.
Biometric authentication has pretty much replaced the old password-based authentication due to the convenience and security it brings. Authentication mechanisms can be classified into knowledge, possession and biometric mechanisms. Passwords and PINs are knowledge mechanisms whereas security keys, fingerprint and iris scanners are possession and biometric mechanisms respectively. Biometric authentication is becoming more popular because you don’t have to remember any complicated passwords or keep a security key with you at all times. Android P will be strengthening up the biometric authentication model by restricting weaker methods and by giving developers a common platform for integrating biometric authentication in their apps. By setting the standard, Google can now control the security of your information stored on the phone.
Want to Download the Beta?
Before you head over to the designated website to download the Beta version, you need to check if your phone will be compatible with Android P. We have provided information regarding compatible phones at the top of this article. If you own phones from any of the brands mentioned there, you will be able to successfully run Android P. To download it, you will need to first sign up for the Beta at Android beta Program. You can also check the OS compatibility there. However, it is very important to know that if you decide to leave the Beta program before the end, all your data will be wiped clean. So do not try it on your primary smartphone where you store all your essential data. If you stay in the program until the end, your OS will be automatically upgraded to the final stable version without any change to your user data. Before you even consider doing it, make sure you go through all the FAQs on the website to know exactly what you are getting into.
Release Date of Android P
You can either download the Android P beta today or wait until the mid of this year (August most likely) to upgrade to the official O.S. The date of release hasn’t been announced officially yet but it will most probably be this August as the last major Android update took place in August 2017. Until that time, Google will definitely be releasing more beta versions to refine the product. You can either keep yourself updated with the latest reviews and news or you can test the Beta version on your phone and see for yourself what Android P will bring to your digital smartphone experience.