As Android gears up for its next major “P” release, Google is giving users a taste of what to expect with its first developer preview. The update gives a hint of what to expect in the final offering, and what is next for the future of Android.
Support for notches
A new “feature” here is the support for notched displays, which were all the rage among Android companies at the MWC. To better accommodate notifications, the clock has been moved to the top-left.
New Notifications and Quick Settings look
As expected, there are a plethora of visual changes that come with the new update.
The notification shade now has more rounded icons at the top. The dock at the bottom is better segregated with the rest of the homescreen while message history can now be seen when replying to texts from the notification drawer.
Android Oreo Notifications
Android P Notifications
The corners for individual notifications have also been rounded and separated, instead of being smushed together like in Android Oreo.
Apps will also be able to include Smart Replies, which are pre-recorded replies we’ve seen in the past. The Settings menu has also been made more colorful, which makes the options easier to locate.
Android P Settings Menu
Video-codec support is enhanced in the update, including VP9 and HEIF image compression, alongside media APIs. As we’ve reported previously, the apps that require your microphone or camera access while running idly will be blocked.
The volume slider and screenshot options appear on the side when you press the volume slider and hold the power button, respectively.
Connectivity options such as indoor Wi-Fi positioning are added. What this does is that it uses Wi-Fi’s Round Trip Time to calculate the distance to the nearest 1-2 meters, which enables indoor navigation without using GPS. You’ll still need to be connected to Wi-Fi though.
Securer NFC payments are also being added. Fingerprint scanning will be made more consistent across the board.
The camera API has been modified to allow apps to control more than one camera at a time. For better future-proofing, users will get a notification when they install an app that targets a version older than Android 4.2.
While the final version is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2018, developers can try out Android P on their Pixel and Pixel 2 (and their XL versions) devices right now. Just be wary of the bugs you’ll encounter along the way.