At Google IO, the search giant released more details of the upcoming Android P operating system, the Android P beta. We saw the developer preview in March and it can now be tested on top smartphones from the above OEM. With the more detailed aspects of Android P revealed, we can’t wait to see the finalized operating system in late summer. Below are a few sneak peeks of the new operating system, you can check if your smartphone compatible below.
New gesture-based navigation
This is obviously one of the best new features on Android P, the new navigation system has a pill-shaped button that doesn’t just pop up on the home screen. More like an on-demand back button which enters overview mode when you swipe up from the button. When in the overview mode, your apps will be scrolling horizontally, with a set of apps at the bottom as well.
You’ll get to access the app drawer when you swipe up again, so the overview/multitasking view has now been combined with the app drawer. You can literally swipe up from anywhere on Android P, you can even slide the pill horizontally to quickly go through your recent apps. There’s also a smart text selection, while a new rotation button will also show up on the navigation bar.
With the new adaptive battery feature on the Android P, you don’t need to worry about your battery life. It automatically figures out the apps you use most, and the ones you’re likely to use in the next few hours. With this information, it prioritizes battery power only for those apps and prevents other apps from using up your battery life. This will improve your battery life by 30% compared to Oreo and reduces CPU wakeups for apps in general.
Apart from the battery, machine learning also handles brightness. Google has finally done something Android’s ageing adaptive brightness. With the Android P beta, when you manually adjust the slider it will remember your setting for that specific lighting situation and time. You don’t need to do that again, it’ll automatically re-apply it for you.
Before now, you get app predictions on Android, but Google has taken it to the next level in this Android P beta. Predicted actions are now inside the apps, it can help in calling a specific contact, starting a workout inside a fitness app, or resuming your favourite Spotify playlist when you’ve connected your headphones. Although, the predicted actions are based on how you’ve used the app. Predicted actions will also show up in smart text selection, the Play Store, Google Assistant, and search results.
Digital wellbeing features
This feature will let you know more about yourself than you actually do. There will be a new dashboard that’ll show you how much time you’ve spent on apps. Yes, with the Android P beta, you can now know things like how many times you’ve unlocked your handset, and how many notifications you received. You’ll also know the total time you’ve spent watching videos on YouTube. Other developers will be given detailed breakdowns of what you’ve been doing inside their apps.
That’s not all, you can set an app timer on the Android P beta. When you’ve spent a specific amount of time on the app, it’ll be greyed out for the rest of the day and you won’t be able to access it. Yes, you can now lock yourself out from apps like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. A new feature, Shush, will launch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode when you turn it over on a table. In this mode, there will be no messages, no vibrations, no interruptions, except starred contacts. Do you want to automatically switch the screen to grayscale when it’s time for you to go to bed? With the Wind Down mode, you just need to tell the Google Assistant when you want this to happen. It will help make your screen so, every single day.
The first Android P beta is now available, but there’s a catch to it. It won’t be available on Pixels only as expected. You’ll also be able to try it if you have a Sony Xperia XZ2 (Premium/Compact), Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, or Essential Phone.
Thanks to Project Treble for making this interesting development possible by Project Treble. Oh, and the new OnePlus 6 that’s due to launch later this month will also be able to test this Android P beta.
To enrol your handset for Android P beta, just visit this website, and within a few hours (or days) you’ll receive an over-the-air software update which will install it. Note that the new Android P beta will wipe your data, so make sure to back things up before taking this step.