Google has released the first developer preview for the next version of Android. It is called Android P and is available for download on the Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones. The beta version, which will be more stable, is expected to be released in May during Google IO developer conference. Developer previews allow Google to test the performance of the new OS and provide developers the opportunity to tweak their apps and access to newer features. Here are the key highlights of Android P that have been released so far.
More interactive notification panel
With Android N, Google added the option to reply to messages directly from notifications. Android P will take it to the next level by showing images from messages in notifications. The functions of the new smart reply app which allows users to send custom replies to messages from notifications will be baked into Android P. It works by going through the message in the notification and then shows two to three smart reply suggestions right below the notification panel. If users start typing in a message notification but are unable to send the message for some reason, the text will be saved as draft allowing them to finish it afterwards in the notification or the messaging app.
Brings HDR support
HDR (high dynamic range) is the new buzzword when it comes to video streaming. However, the feature is largely limited to TVs and PCs. Sony Xperia XZ2, showcased at MWC 2018, is the only smartphone that supports HDR playback, but it’s still not available in the market. With Android P, Google wants to bring HDR access to the masses. The new OS adds built-in support for HDR, allowing users to access HDR movies from YouTube, Google Play Movies, Netflix and other video streaming apps on HDR-ready smartphones.
Improves security and privacy
The new OS will restrict apps from accessing the camera, microphone or other sensors when they are running in the background, so they won’t be able to abuse any of the permissions without users’ knowledge. If an app still wants to use the sensors, it will have to inform users about it through a notification.
The new OS will encrypt Android backup with the users’ security credentials. This means users will have to use a pattern, password or PIN to restore data from the backups to a new device.
Android P will also allow users to create their MAC address when they are connected to a WiFi network by generating a random MAC address for every network.
MAC address is a unique set of numbers which allows a network to identify the devices connected to them.
Fine-tuned for smartphones with display cutout
Google is making Android future ready for smartphones which emulate the notch-like design seen in the Apple iPhone X. It is basically a cut out at the top of the screen and includes the phone’s front camera a or speaker. Android P will allow developers to lay out their content around the cut out, just like in iPhone X, or ignore the space around the cutout for a more symmetric look.livemint