Android P Beta: Compatible smartphones, how to download, and top features
Google announced new features for its upcoming Android P OS at its ongoing developers conference, I/O 2018. Google also announced roll out of Android P public beta for users. Just like Google's most of the announcements, Android P OS comes with Artificial Intelligence-focused features aimed at improving productivity for users. Google's new Android P uses cutting edge machine learning algorithms to understand usage patterns and give users more control on time spent on the device. Android P also comes with a new and improved interface.
Android P is already being touted as the biggest mobile update Google has rolled out. The first public beta is available for a wide range of smartphones, including Google's Pixel phones.
Android P Beta compatible phones
Android P Beta is currently available for download and install on a total of 11 smartphones. The list includes Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Essential Phone, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21 UD, Vivo X21, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. The list of compatible devices also includes Google Pixel smartphones and Nokia 7 Plus, which are available in India.
Google also listed OnePlus as one of the companies for Android P Beta following which the former confirmed the update. OnePlus announced Android P Beta for its upcoming smartphone, OnePlus 6 which will launch on May 16 in London.
How to download Android P Beta
Those with one of the listed compatible devices can follow this link to start the process. Here, you will have to sign-in with the Google account used on your compatible smartphone. After this select your smartphone listed as a compatible device and opt in for the Android Beta Programme.
You can then manually update your smartphone by going to Settings > System > System update. It is advised that you backup your phone before downloading Android P Beta as this isn't the stable version. The OS may contain errors which could affect the existing data on your phone.
Android P features
Apple iPhone-X like gestures
Android P introduced optimisation for the notch display design in its first Developer Preview. The OS will now support iPhone X-like gestures which will be helpful for smartphones with edge-to-edge displays. There's a new Home Button on Android P which will open the home screen with a single tap. Swiping it up will open an 'Overview' which will be full-screen displays of your recent apps. You can also use 'Smart Text Selection' on the apps opened in Overview.
Adaptive Brightness, Battery
Android P will come with 'Adaptive Brightness' and 'Adaptive Battery' which uses machine learning to study user behaviour. Android P will adjust the brightness according to how the user would like it depending on the environment.
Android P uses on-device learning to understand usage patterns and optimise the battery life accordingly. Android P will also be able to identify apps working in the background.
Another machine learning feature is 'App Actions' which will predict actions to help users complete their tasks faster. For example, if you connect to headphones, it will suggest continuing with your music playlist.
Slices on Android P will give users more insight into apps by providing more in-depth information and actions. Google gave an example of searching for Lyft on your phone and Android P will provide information like ride fare and time to work, and also give easier options to book a cab.
Better audio control; improved screen rotation
Android P gives users more control over adjusting the volume on their smartphone. Pressing the volume button will now show options for adjusting the media and ringer volume. At present, smartphone adjusts volume of either ringer or media according to the ongoing task.
Android P gives an easier way to change the orientation of your smartphone. If you rotate your smartphone a new button will appear at the corner of the screen which can be tapped on to change screen orientation.
Dashboard, App Timer, Do Not Disturb, Wind Down
As part of Google's 'Digital Well-being' initiative, Android P comes with four new features for controlling smartphone usage. Dashboard on Android P will track your app usage and show how much time you're spending on your device. It will also nudge you if you're spending too much time on your device through 'App Timer'.
'Do Not Disturb' mode has been updated with a new feature to silence visual interruptions in addition to calls and messages. 'Shush'automatically activates DND by simply putting your phone with the screen down on a table. 'Wind Down' will turn on DND on your phone and turn the screen to greyscale according to your set bedtime. The smartphone's display will be set to normal colours in the morning.