Android P Developer Preview 1: What’s New?
Google has released the first developer preview of its next version of Android OS, Android P. While there is enough time to discuss the possible names of the new version, a few interesting things need to be addressed first. The developer preview has only been made available to Pixel owners as of now. Since this is the first preview, it is advised to install it on a secondary device or if you’re an app developer.
With Android P, a few things are already expected to be there. Better app management, battery efficiency, a few UI changes, these changes are made in every update. However, one of the most interesting new features is the support for a notch. With more and more Android devices launching with an iPhone X-like notch, Google seems to have given in on the trend.
Once enabled, the clock moves to the left hand side of the notch along with notification icons. Other icons like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth remain on the right side of the notch. Interestingly, different sizes of a notch can be emulated. Visually, other changes include a slight redesign of the notification panel. The icons in the quick settings pull down have rounded corners now. If activated, the icons will be blue in colour and when inactive, it will turn gray. To access other quick settings toggle, the user has to pull down on the gray bar just underneath the initial menu.
The dock in Android P will also look like a dock now. The four app icons along with the Google Search bar will have a cloudy background, distinguishing it from the rest of the screen. A microphone icon has been added to the Google Search bar to access Google Assistant or do a quick voice search. The volume slider has been moved to the side of the screen and shrunk in size.
Another feature added is something that has been there in custom skins for a while. A user can now take a screen from the power menu, that pops up by long pressing the lock/unlock button. This will come in handy during one handed usage. Visually, there are not many changes in the first developer preview of Android P. However, this can change by the time the official version rolls out. Google might introduce a few visual changes or keep it the way it is. Time will tell.
As expected, there are some behind-the-scenes changes that Google has made. For instance, Android P now restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle. This means that you can finally prove that Facebook is not listening to your conversations, or vice versa. Other changes include better Autofill feature for people who don’t like typing their passwords often.
As is with every new Android version release, the changes will be welcomed. However, it is fair to assume that very few people outside the Pixel/Nexus ecosystem will receive an update to Android P. Although, initiatives like Project Treble guarantee sooner software updates, it will be far off from the adoption rate of iOS 12 expected to launch a month or so after Android P.