Android P is not just another update, it will drastically change the way you use the phone. You’ll discover a new way to navigate, improved controls and tips enhanced by artificial intelligence, along with many new features. Google is also introducing a feature to help you spend less time with your phone.
What’s new in Android P?
The other big change you have with Android P is that you can access it quickly. You can already try out the new operating system on over half a dozen phones, including Pixel, OnePlus 6 and Essential Phone. Here are all the features that have caught our attention so far.
A new way to surf
Android P pulls a page from the book of the iPhone X adding more ways to navigate, even if the features of Android seem a bit ‘more refined, even in the beta phase. The Home button is a subtle dash and when you switch to it, your recent apps appear with full-screen previews that you can safely browse through.
A second slide brings all your apps on the screen.
All of this has been designed with a focus on phones whose screen gets wider and wider, so this should make it easier to operate your Android device with one hand.
Recent interactive apps
The new horizontal app switcher offers you much more than full-screen previews of recently used apps, it’s also a multitasking call. This overview mode now supports quick text selection, which means you can copy text from one app and paste it into another: useful if you’re jumping back and forth between searching for something in Chrome and writing an email related to the results addressed to a friend. You can also select a band name in Chrome and then start one of their songs in Google Play Music.
Earlier versions of Android have leveraged Google’s machine learning capability to provide proactive suggestions, like those of an app that is particularly prone to use. Android P goes one step further with App Actions, which includes what you intend to do with an app.
App Actions is based on Android P which observes the particularly used phone models. Do you call your boss every day at a particular time of day? Android will start to suggest that action. Or if you connect a pair of headphones to your phone, Android may suggest you resume listening to the last song you were listening to. Software producers will also be able to add App Actions as support for their apps.
App Slices works the same way as App Actions, it’s just a way for developers to show parts of their app in search results. In addition to the app that will be shown, you will see specific actions that will allow you to book a ride home, work or check the ride prices. Think of App Slices as a way to facilitate access to the most important functions of certain apps.
It may seem strange that Google adds features designed to make you spend less time on Android devices. In fact, improvements in the digital well-being of Android P want to make the time you spend watching a more productive and meaningful phone screen.
A dashboard collects statistics such as how many times you unlock your phone, how much time you spend with certain apps and how many notifications you receive, so that you can use that data to change your behavior.
If you need Android to work on your behalf, you can use a new app timer to set limitations on how long you can use a particular app. The phone will alert you when the time available is about to expire and the app icon will turn gray when the time is up. In this way, you will know when to put your attention on other things.
Use of the smartest battery
Not all apps on your phone deserve the same amount of time and Android P wants to make sure they do not get the same rights on your smartphone’s battery. The Adaptive Battery feature in the new operating system decides which apps can draw energy based on the ones you use the most; rarely used apps get limited access to the battery. Google claims that the feature can reduce CPU app reactivations by 30%, which should help your phone last longer.
Improvements on “Do Not Disturb”
Do you really want to put an end to your phone’s beep or waste time when you need to focus? A Shush feature in Android P automatically activates the “do not disturb” features when you place the phone with the printed side facing down on the table. This means no pinging, vibrations or notifications. The contacts defined as “special” by yourself will still be able to contact you in case of an emergency.
Better notification management
If there’s an app that keeps sending you unwanted messages, Android P is smart enough to notice it. After a while you will be asked if you prefer to completely disable the notifications sent by that particular app. By long pressing on the notification you directly access the notification settings of the app, in case you want to independently manage the notices.
A smarter display
Batteries are not the only things that fit your patterns that you use with Android P, the display will also adapt thanks to a new operating system functionality. Adaptive brightness learn how you like to set the brightness slider on the phone display based on environmental conditions. Over time, learn to automatically perform these adjustments, avoiding having to manually change the brightness levels.
The new search bar
The redesign of Android P moves the Google search bar at the bottom of the screen. In this way, another change of navigation that Google has created with an eye towards telephones with wider screens is always at hand.
Some users prefer to maintain the orientation of their locked screens to prevent them from inadvertently moving between horizontal and vertical display to the simple movement of the wrist. This is a pretty good approach, to the point where you would rather see an e-mail or a picture with a different orientation.
Android P adds a useful icon that opens when the orientation of the phone changes; tap it and you can manually cancel any block without having to immerse yourself in the phone settings.
Better volume control
With Android P, the days when the volume key was pressed only to change the sound intensity of notification notifications are now part of the past. In Android P, the volume buttons adjust the media playback volume by default.
Improvements for screenshots
Press and hold the power button with Android P and you can take a screenshot by tapping the link displayed on the screen. Android P also adopts an iOS 11 feature that lets you quickly access screenshots. Touch an edit button in the preview of the screenshot and the marking tools will appear allowing you to make the changes you prefer the most.
Other devices that run the beta version
This is a feature strictly aimed at the beta version of Android P, although we hope that there will be more timely Android updates. The Android P preview released in May can be installed on several phones, including Essential Phone, Nokia 7 Plus, Xperia XZ2 and OnePlus 6, not to mention the Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi phones available mainly in Asia.
Previous Android beta have been limited to Google Nexus and Pixel phones. (You can also install P on Pixel and Pixel 2). Perhaps this could mean the end to the fragmentation of Android, in which only a limited number of devices can get the latest version of Android as soon as it is ready.
It’s too early to say, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.