Android P Developer Preview: Top features of Google’s next OS update

Android P Developer Preview brings support for Apple iPhone X-inspired screens with notch. Here are the top features of the next iteration of Android.

| Updated on: Mar 08 2018, 18:14 IST
First developer preview of Android P is here.
First developer preview of Android P is here. (Shutterstock)
First developer preview of Android P is here.
First developer preview of Android P is here. (Shutterstock)

Google on Wednesday rolled out the first developer preview of its next iteration of operating system, Android P. The preview is currently available for select devices which include Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices. Unfortunately Google has ended support for the Google Pixel C, Google Nexus 5X and Google Nexus 6P devices.

Google's latest Android iteration, Android P Developer Preview 1, comes with a number of new features and improvements. The highlight of the preview version is built-in support for a notch cutting into the display at the top of the screen, called "display cutout support". The support appears to be aimed at the Android smartphones coming with Apple iPhone X-inspired notch displays.

With this, developers would be able to test how full-screen apps would work with phones that have iPhone X-like notches, with the new tools that Google has released.

Apart from support for notch screens, here are the top features of Android P Developer Preview.

Improved notifications

Google has tweaked the look for the "Quick Settings" panel and the notification drawer with rounded corners. The new look for notifications also includes a refreshed appearance for messaging apps. With this change, users could reply to texts right from the notification itself.

Interactive notifications.
Interactive notifications. (Google)
image caption
Interactive notifications. (Google)

Smart replies

The messaging apps would support the inclusion of "Smart replies", images and stickers directly in the notification.

Android P would also have a standard dialog box user interface for when apps want to verify a user's identity with a fingerprint.

Background activity

As far as the notable changes for developers are concerned, "Android P restricts access to mic, camera and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle".

If an app is in the background and not active, it won't be able to access your microphone.

Better media

The new OS would also have built-in support for more video and image codecs, including HDR VP9 Profile 2 and HEIF (heic). Google promised more information "later this year" on "enhancing and refactoring the media APIs to make them easier to develop and integrate with".

As smartphone makers are shifting to two-camera setup, a multi-camera API is included so an Android app can individually request the data from more than one camera sensor at once.

Android's emulator for cutout displays.
Android's emulator for cutout displays. (Google)
image caption
Android's emulator for cutout displays. (Google)

Autofill, power efficiency and more

"Better Autofill" is added to make it easier for password managers to enter passcodes for users essentially striking out the need of "switch-apps-and-copy-and-switch-apps-and-paste" process.

For improved performance, Google has added small changes that control power efficiency in Android, including Doze, Standby and Background Limits.

The Job Scheduler is getting smarter and would understand the device's network state and batching apps network requests together.

The company would release more details in May and release Android P in autumn. It would release an Android Beta version before unveiling the "final product".

(with inputs from HT Correspondent)

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First Published Date: 08 Mar, 18:08 IST