Every year Google releases a new Android version named after a dessert or confectionary. The next in the line is Android Pie. Before Google officially presents Android Pie at Google I/O, and much before the majority actually get to taste it, Commits being added to the Android P main branch in Android Open Source Project give an interesting insight into features that will make it to the next version. Google has now rolled out the Android P preview on Pixel phones, thus revealing changes coming in Android P.
If you are wondering how Android P compares to Android Oreo, and what new Google will be adding to the upcoming Android flavor, this is your one-stop destination.
Android Pie Release Date
Based on current cycle, Google could launch Android P developer preview in late March. It will officially present upcoming features at Google I/0 2018 that will start on May 8, 2018. After the Android P has been perfected in a series of developer previews, the final build is expected to be out in August 2018, probably along with the Pixel 3-series phones.
Android Pie Features:
1. Revamped Material Design
Google’s material design, that was first launched alongside Android 5.0 Lollipop, brought some much-needed consistency to Android platform.
Not only Android apps but all Google services and numerous websites adopted the “paper and ink inspired” design. It has been four years since its arrival and perhaps Google now feels that its growing old.
With Android P, Google is expected to introduce the Material Design 2 that will include new icons, new iconography, and will focus more on touch.
2. Support for Notch, Foldable display, Multiple Screens
Android P will embrace all sorts of display-weird. The iPhone X’s notch was initially viewed as an anomaly, but it looks like it’s now morphing into a trend.
Android P will give more freedom to Android OEMs and simplify implementing a notch. Besides, it will also have support for Foldable display phones (yes, it looks like they are finally coming).
3. Deeper Google Assistant integration
According to Bloomberg, Google is working on an SDK that will allow developers to integrate Google Assistant in their apps. Google Assistant might also come with the search bar in the launcher. These changes could make it to Android P as well.
4. Block access to Hidden APIs
Android P won’t allow apps to access unofficial and unlisted APIs. Developers often use APIs that aren’t part of the Android SDK but this can cause issues with updates and end up breaking functionality at the user end.
Moving forward, Apps would be blocked from accessing classes, methods, and fields marked with “@hide” in AOSP. Apps that use these APIs won’t work. This should also motivate developers to update and migrate to newer APIs.
5. National Roaming Toggle
Stock Android has a Roaming toggle, but if you toggle it on, your phone will continue to leach data even if you are in a foreign country. This could result in colossal penalty as data with international roaming is extremely expensive.
With Android P, however, Google will add a National Roaming toggle and Sony is authoring the commits for the same. If you turn on the National Roaming toggle, your phone will be able to access data through the country but will ask for your permission as soon as you cross borders.
This should be of huge convenience to frequent international travellers for they won’t be penalized for forgetting to turn Data off before catching their flight.
6. Will let carriers hide signal strength
Since time immemorial, the 5 signal bars have been defining signal strength on Android (and pretty much all other Cellular devices). With Android P, however, carriers will get an option to define custom signal strength thresholds for each of the 5 LTE signal bars.
This implies that your phone can be programmed to show better signals than what previous versions of Android would have shown. In all likelihood, this is what carriers have asked for and Google seems to have obliged.
The feature may be used for a fairer representation of LTE signal, but OEMs could also tune it to give an impression that the signal is better on their phones than their rivals.
7. Idle Apps won’t get Camera or Microphone access
Users can choose not to grant Microphone or camera permission to a particular app at the start, but if they do grant an app permission, there is nothing to prevent them from abusing it. Well, that’s about to change.
With Android P, apps that are on standby won’t be able to access your camera without you knowing. This will prevent malicious apps from shooting images.
Also, all such apps won’t have access to your Microphone either, which is a bigger boon to user privacy. In late 2017, New York Times reported that as many as 1000 popular apps listen for ad-tracking signals via your microphone. Yup, this resolves a huge problem.
8. Call recording tone
Android P will add support for a call recording tone that will alert caller on the other end that the call is being recorded. This is a features carriers can choose to implement or not implement, same as the native call recording support in Android that only a few OEMs implement. The tone played will depend on your choice of carrier.
For the foreseeable future, only a few OEMs and carriers are expected to implement this. Besides, it will only work in Android P.
9. WiFi Printing
WiFi printing is still supported on Android via third-party apps and services like Mobile Print, Samsung’s Mobile Print App, etc. but a few new commits added by Morphia mobile printing alliance reveal that the native support might soon be heading to the next Android version.
10. Turn Your Phone into a Bluetooth Mouse
A new report indicates that with Android P you could use your phone as a Bluetooth Mouse or a Keyboard. According to XDA Developers, the OS will add a Bluetooth HID profile to your device that will turn your phone into a PC input. Essentially, the code for Bluetooth HID was present on the Android since 2016, but it was never turned on. Now, it looks like this is about to change.
11. Connect 5 Bluetooth devices
On Android P, you can pair up to 5 Bluetooth devices simultaneously. This is similar to what we saw on Moto X last year. The option, however, has to be activated from the developer settings in the Android P Preview. You can choose the number of maximum connected Bluetooth devices to be 1, 2, 3 4 or 5.
Android Pie Features – All that you should know
Apart from the features mentioned above, Android P includes changes like scrollable quick settings, new animations, new text select menu, support for HEIF format and more. Google has already started pushing Android P developer preview to its Pixel Phones. Perhaps a few of these changes might not make it to the final build. Either way, we will keep you posted about new Android P features as we come across them.