Google recently launched a preview for the next version of Android. It’s called Android P, and we already have our hands on the first features thanks to Developer Preview 1. Keep reading to discover some of the most exciting new features in the latest version of our favorite operating system.
1) There’s A Notch
The iPhone X has a notch at the top of the screen. Google decided to take a similar approach with Android P. Google has repositioned the Android status bar to accommodate the notch. They repositioned it in a way that uses space on both sides of the notch.
For those who don’t know, the “notch” is the indent at the top of the screen. Some people like it. other people hate it. I think it gives the display a unique appearance. Just like the iPhone X, Android P uses the space on either side of the notch to display things like time and connectivity.
Expect to see the notch added to the Pixel 3, which is scheduled to be released this fall. The Google P update documents, by the way, refer to the notch as a “display cutout”.
2) Better Password Autofill
Google was one of the first to really implement this feature on their web browsers in a strong and secure way. Android has always had password auto-fill. However, the latest version is expected to improve autofill even more.
The biggest improvement with autofill? Users will be unable to inadvertently enter their password into forms online.
3) Ability to See Picture Messages from Notifications
This isn’t the biggest change, but it could impact your smartphone usage. You’ll now be able to view image messages in the notification shade just by swiping down the notification tab on your phone. This feature, surprisingly, has never been seen in Android to date.
4) Better Image Compression
Android P will use special image compression techniques to reduce data usage when transferring pictures. This will also save space. Google is using its HEIF image encoding to support this image compression technology. Expect to spend less data when transferring photos, which means faster photo transfers and more space on your internal storage unit.
5) Enhanced Messaging Experience from the Notification Shade
In addition to better image compression, Android P will have enhanced messaging in other ways, including the ability to save replies as drafts, identify message participants by avatar, and overall better data compression and space usage.
Some of the biggest changes will be in the notification shade. You’ll be able to swipe down from the top of the shade, then complete a full conversation from within your shade. You won’t need to swap to the messaging app. You’ll be able to view all participants – and even choose pre-selected replies – directly from the shade.
6) Indoor Positioning for Indoor Directions
Google already dominates outdoor directions. Their next focus is indoor directions. They already have indoor directions for certain environments. Now, with Android P, they’re taking indoor positioning to the next level.
The problem with indoor direction-finding is that you don’t always have good signal strength. Your GPS signal might be blocked, for example. Google got around this issue with help from Wi-Fi Round-Trip-Time, or RTT. This is a feature in 802.11mc Wi-Fi networks. It makes it possible for apps to know how far you are from the Wi-Fi access point to which you’re currently connected. Developers can use this information to deliver more accurate location information indoors.
7) Simultaneous Rear and Front Camera Usage
Android P will add the ability to use both cameras – your front and back cameras – at the same time. Google’s API will allow developers to take advantage of both cameras simultaneously.
Why does that matter? Well, it opens the door for features like Apple’s killer Portrait Mode. It also introduces nifty concepts like a phone that uses a standard camera and a thermal camera simultaneously, then overlays the two images.
Download the Android P Developer Preview from the official Android developers website here: https://developer.android.com/preview/download.html