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Android P Makes Big Changes for Android Users

March 9, 2018

Android users can rejoice as Google announces an advanced viewing of the Android P operating system, which started on March 7th. Currently, developers can preview Android P before its launch and see what’s in store in terms of enhanced features and support. The update will arrive later in 2018, but the preview offers developers an opportunity to streamline and upgrade applications to work with the latest OS before it’s released.

Aside from the notch support for iPhone X users and products that have followed trend, Google hasn’t mentioned much of the features which will be beneficial to consumers. Instead, most of the announced upgrades have focused on developers thus far. This includes screen settings like edge to edge support as well as shape and location detection to maximize usage of available space. The developer preview is unfortunately only accessible to those with a Pixel 1, 1XL, 2, and 2XL device. Android P won’t be available on some of the older devices, unlike its predecessor.

The advanced viewing will not only impact the way that application developers design new apps going forward, but the way that website developers design pages for mobile usage. With most site owners changing to mobile-friendly designs, it makes sense that these developers also consider how their site will run on new software or with particular devices, including those with the notch feature.

Application Programming Interface for Multiple Cameras

3D, virtual reality, and other visually stimulating features are being promoted and supported through various devices, including mobile phones. To best represent these features, many brands have begun including multiple cameras on both sides of their phones. The latest operating system will allow developers to create applications which easily swap between the various cameras and offer more options to those companies dabbling in 3D.

Notch Support For iPhone X Enthusiasts

The notch was created to include all the same external components, i.e. camera and speaker, without retaining the large size of the phone. Device creators did this by minimizing screen size to make room in the form of a notch out of the screen. By including these features on the screen, it means the thickness of the phone doesn’t need to expand, and it can continue to become slimmer as most devices are. Unfortunately, this unique shape was ill met when the notch was first introduced, and app developers had a difficult time making apps run properly on the phones.

Now, through the Android P OS, developers can change the parameters of their apps more easily to work around the notch and still display all icons properly. A benefit of the testing OS is that it can run on any phone, whether a notch is present or not, and an app can still be designed to include the notch by choosing an option in the developer’s tools.

Messages and The Notification Panel

Another interesting change Android P will bring to Android devices is the way that messages appear in the notifications panel. Users will be able to review whole portions of a conversation in the panel, rather than just the last reply as was previously displayed. These conversation snippets could include emojis, text, or even photographs sent by contacts. This will make it easy to see, not only a contact’s reply to a message, but the message you sent previously, and to stay informed and review context before replying.

Perhaps, more interesting than the new message display, are the options users will have when replying to these messages. Smart Replies will be implemented underneath the messages so that users can choose from a selection of three available responses to send quickly to contacts that have started conversations. This feature is meant to save time and offer convenience to mobile users. Of course, users can also choose to reply manually and type their own response to each of the messages displayed in the notifications screen.

User Friendly Features

While Google has kept many user-centric updates a secret with the release of the Android P tester platform, there are some improvements which have been announced recently, and are sure to intrigue Android users.

Microphone and Camera Settings

One of the updates which are sure to benefit users when Android P rolls out is the privacy settings. In the past, applications which have access to microphones and cameras continued to have this access even when apps were idle. The latest OS will be more secure, allowing users to benefit from a notification that appears when applications try to continue viewing or listening. This will let mobile users make the choice as to whether the app may continue or be disconnected.

More Privacy Advancements

Aside from the change in microphone and camera use while apps are idle, Google is also updating their current encryption methods for data backup. Currently, the method of backup includes a user password, which allows data to be encrypted and stored for retrieval if a device is wiped. Additionally, Android P will implement a lock screen password, which will be required to retrieve stored information. This secondary password will be unknown to Google, meaning that users must remember it to restore information.

As with most Google projects, there are bound to be multiple updates in the future, both to Android P and their next assortment of upgraded operating systems. Developers can expect additional changes and features aside from what is offered in the tester, and users can rest assured that the benefits offered through the latest OS roll out will stretch farther than just apps and privacy. Those interested in knowing more about what Android P will offer can join Google enthusiasts at the company’s official blog where most announcements are shared.