Google released the first Android P Developer Preview update for compatible Pixel smartphones – including the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The new Android operating system brings new interface, design tweaks, support for ‘notch’ and much more. With Android P, Google is also dropping support for Nexus-branded devices. We were excited to try the new flavor of Google’s mobile operating system and installed the Android P Developer Preview on our Pixel XL. Here are the differences we found compared to Android Oreo.
When Apple embraced the ‘Notch’ on the iPhone X to integrate 3D depth sensing tech, critics and users started cribbing, yet it did not stop people from buying the phone. And the fact that we have seen a lot of smartphone makers add a ‘notch’ onto their smartphones at MWC 2018, and more are expected soon, it is evident that the top notch is here to stay.
Google has officially added notch support on the Android P Developer Preview which will make it easier for the developers to add relevant hardware and software implementation. It could also be an early hint that Google might add a notch to the upcoming Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones as well. While the Pixel 2 and Pixel smartphones don’t feature a notch, developers can simulate it from software settings to test how their apps will appear on devices with notch.
Until now, we have seen the likes of LG, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and others add dual camera to their smartphones. While it is not officially supported by the Android OS, OEMs have to customize their software additions to incorporate dual camera tech. However, with the new multi-camera API on Android P, third-party app developers can make more use of the front and rear dual cameras.
Bokeh, seamless zoom and stereo vision are some applications of the API. What’s more, while the world is going for dual cameras, Google Pixel devices still feature a single camera setup. But with support for this new API, it could also be an early hint that the new Pixel devices may finally come with dual cameras.
Pixel Dock on Home Screen
The design changes begin from the home screen. Android P brings a minor tweak to the Pixel launcher, and the dock is no longer completely transparent. Instead, it now has translucent shaded region that extends from the navigation bar, and had rounded corners. Also, the search bar at the bottom now gets a microphone icon on the right corner, and tapping on it opens the Google Assistant.
Redesigned quick settings and notifications
The quick settings and notifications panel was revamped with Android Oreo, and now with the Android P Developer Preview, we see further design tweaks. The new changes focus on increased functionality and visibility. Notifications can now show photos, conversations, smart replies and stickers.
The quick settings panel now comes with bigger and rounded icons. Also, the shortcut icons are now vertically scrollable, as opposed to being paginated.
Redesigned settings app
While the Settings design has been retained by Android P, there are few differences. It now comes with more colourful icons for each section. In certain menus, such as Wi-Fi, the preferences have been rearranged.
Do not disturb mode simplified
Earlier, the Do Not Disturb mode came with modes such as Priority only, Alarms only and Total silence. However, with Android P, those modes have now gone, and only single DND option is available. You now get only two options, “Until you turn off” and for ‘up to xx hours,” where xx can be anywhere between 1-12 hours.
You still get preferences to include notifications when your Alarm rings, or you get calls from priority numbers. You can customize these options under Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb > Behavior.
Battery percentage on ‘always-on display’
With Android P, Google has added battery percentage to the Always On Display which appears at the bottom center of the screen. Also, the always on display now shortens the day instead of displaying the full world.
Google has made some changes to the volume slider too. Earlier when you increased or decreased the volume, the slider used to appear on the top, but now you get a vertical slider on the right of the screen. With media volume given the preference, the second square below the slider allows you to cycle between modes (ring, vibrate and mute).
Easter Egg – bright and colourful
Of course, the new Android OS bring new Easter Egg. It is bright, colourful and has different wallpapers that has the colors slowly moving away from the center. This kind of creates an effect of illusion. (Warning: Do not stare at it for long time.)
Oh and yes, you can zoom in and out of the P while viewing the Easter egg. No, you don’t get flappy bird or any other game, but it is still something fun to play around with, if you’re bored. There are other minor tricks too. For instance, the ‘Night Light’ in quick settings now shows when it will turn on or off.