Google has released the first developer preview of its upcoming Android P version. The version 9.0 will be officially rolled out later this year, running out-of-the-box in the next set of Pixel devices. However, ahead of the commercial debut, developers are now beginning to test Android P. In its new avatar, the OS is said to not only radically improve performance, but this time around, there are also some all-new features to look forward to. Here’s a look at the top five features from the first developer preview of Android P.
Notch takes on Android
Let us give it to Apple for having introduced to us the iconic ‘notch’. Manufacturers are already experimenting with the design on their upcoming smartphones and to help them leverage it is Android P. The next version of Android comes with a native support for the notch or ‘display cutout’, as Google prefers to call it. The notch simulator allows developers to simulate a full-screen experience around the notch to check how apps deal with the different types of cutouts. There is support for wide display cutout, narrow display cutout, and tall display cutout. This essentially means, irrespective of whether an upcoming smartphone has a thinner notch or a wider one, apps can be fully optimized.
With Android Oreo, Google introduced the notification dots. Continuing with its idea for a fluid design, Google is going further with a more minimal design with Android P, especially when it comes to notifications. With the new version, all your notification cards will have rounded corners, and each notification will be separated with a simple line. New layouts have also been added to the notifications, including contact images and profile images for better identification. With the minimal design of the notifications, the edge-to-edge screen, which is becoming an industry standard, will become more enjoyable. What’s more, the Smart Replies feature has also been integrated to make the experience seamless.
Indoor navigation made easy
Perhaps one of the best things for users like me who find it difficult to locate the exit points at big public spaces like a mall or airport, Android P will make it easier to navigate indoors. With the new OS, Android devices will be able to use a new Wi-Fi protocol, 802.11mc, also known as Wi-Fi RTT which measures the time taken for a Wi-Fi signal to reach the device to calculate the distance from an access point.Google says that the results are typically accurate within one or two meters which developers can build new experiences like in-building navigation, fine-grained location-based services such as voice control with commands like “turn off this light.”
Dual cameras will soon be passe with the Android P which brings support for multiple cameras. On devices with either dual-front or dual-rear cameras, Android P allows for camera features such as seamless zoom, bokeh and stereo vision. You will be able to access streams simultaneously from more than two physical cameras on the devices running the upcoming Android version.
The Android camera has also been improved to reduce the initial lag while capturing, and surface sharing feature which allows for various use cases without the need to stop and start camera streaming. Display-based flash support and access to OIS timestamps is also supported. What is interesting is that Android P enables support for external USB/UVC cameras on supported devices, which means you could theoretically link a separate camera to an Android P device for streaming.
Easy screenshot editing
Image: Android Police
Previously, taking a screenshot and selecting a portion of it before sharing was a messy affair on Android. With the new OS, the process is simplified with the built-in screenshot editor called ‘Markup’. Similar to iOS, the tool allows you to crop or doodle on a screenshot before sharing. The tool offers basic editing features such as cropping, rotating, and colors to pick for the doodles. To access the Markup tool, simply tap Edit on the bottom of the screenshot notification. You can save the changes and share right from within the tool without having to go to Photos and do it manually.