Android P unveiled – All the details

Google has unveiled Android P at its Google I/O event in California.

Google’s Dave Burke said Android P is based on three pillars:

  • Intelligence
  • Simplicity
  • Wellbeing

The first feature under the “intelligence” section is a new battery usage technology, which was developed by Google in partnership with DeepMind.

It allows Android P to detect which apps you consistently use and allocate power usage accordingly. This results in CPU power savings, said Google.

The auto-brightness feature has also been upgraded, and sees Android P introduce “adaptive brightness”. This uses machine learning to understand how bright or dim a user likes their screen and automatically adjusts it to their personal taste – and not based only on ambient lighting conditions.

“App Actions” was another feature punted under the intelligence heading, and lets a user’s phone adapt to their app usage.

For example, if a user connects a pair of headphones to their device, recently-played music is offered to continue playing.

It also works on a time-of-day-basis, and the phone will suggest actions based on what time of day it is and what you do at certain times.

This ranges from suggesting a call to a contact, to serving up a workout app.

Early access to App Actions will be open to developers next month.

Simplicity

Google has also focused on simplicity in Android P, and introduced a new system navigation UI for Android One and Pixel devices which will receive Android P.

The new design recognises the trend of smartphones with thin bezels and large screens, and features more functions based on screen swipes.

This includes a quick scrub gesture to slide through recent apps, and new on-screen volume controls that adjust media-player volume levels by default.

A standout new feature is a dynamic screen rotation button, which appears when the rotate screen function is locked and you tilt your phone – allowing users to make the screen rotate on an ad-hoc basis.

Burke said the new navigation system is faster and simpler, and a big improvement on previous designs.

Wellbeing

Google said digital wellbeing and finding a balance between the connected and digital worlds is an important concept for the company going forward.

Android P will include a number of digital wellbeing features, including time-limited applications, Do Not Disturb, and Wind Down mode.

The new operating system will include the ability to limit the amount of time you spend on applications, and will notify you when you reach the allotted amount of time for a day.

The improved Do Not Disturb mode in Android P will be able to hide visual notifications in addition to muting them, and placing the phone face down on a surface will trigger the new “Shush” gesture and enable Do Not Disturb mode.

Wind Down mode is aimed at users who struggle to detach from their smartphones before going to sleep, and is powered by Google Assistant.

After telling Google Assistant your preferred bedtime, it will place your phone in Do Not Disturb mode at this time and turn the display colour to grayscale.

Google said this reduces visual stimuli and aids in preventing distractions before sleep.

Availability

The Android P Beta is available today on the Google Pixel, Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and Essential PH‑1.

ML Kit

As part of the Android P launch, Google unveiled ML Kit – a new set of cross-platform APIs available through Firebase.

“ML Kit offers developers on-device APIs for text recognition, face detection, image labelling and more,” said Google.

“So mobile developers building apps like Lose It!, a nutrition tracker, can easily deploy our text recognition model to scan nutritional information and ML Kit’s custom model APIs to automatically classify over 200 different foods with your phone’s camera.”

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Android P unveiled – All the details