Google I/O 2018 is happening right now, and while we don’t yet know the final name of the next version of Android, we do know that Android P is going to be a really exciting update. A lot of changes are coming to Android P this year.
First, the most exciting thing is that Android P Beta is available right now, and it’s going to be available on more phones than ever before. Besides just Google’s Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you can get Android P Beta on the following smartphones:
- Sony Xperia XZ2
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
- Nokia 7 Plus
- Oppo R15 Pro
- Vivo X21
- Essential PH-1
- OnePlus 6 (not yet launched)
If you have one of these smartphones and you’re keen to try the beta, head over to the Android Beta Program to enroll your device.
Android P is adopting gesture navigation. This is similar to Apple’s introduction of gesture navigation in the iPhone X and similar options from some Android manufacturers. As you can see above, you get a new streamlined Home button in the navigation bar. It supports new gestures so that the Overview button is no longer needed. The Back button will appear only within apps.
Seeing how the display notch has started to come in several Android smartphones, Android P will optimise how content, notifications and status icons are shown around them.
With Android P, Google is bringing AI-powered reply suggestions directly into the notification area. This is a little bit like the smart replies suggested to you in the mobile Gmail app.
In our digital life, battery has been a perpetual problem, and that’s one area that is always being tackled. It is again, with Android P, and this time Google brings AI to the new Adaptive Battery feature. Android P now learns your individual usage pattern and directs power to only the apps you need at the time you need them, so that you can get more out of your battery.
Speaking of digital life, Google is now taking steps to help you ensure your digital well-being. Spending too much time in Instagram? You can set a time-limit for using that app, and when the time is up, the app icon is grayed out. This almost sounds like parental controls, not for children, but for adults.
The new Wind Down feature helps you settle in for the night, enabling Night Light, turning on Do-Not-Disturb, stops notifications on your lock screen, and turning your display into monochrome mode.
A lot coming out of Google I/O is centered on AI. There’s plenty of AI getting into Android P, like being able to “copy text” from the camera. There’s yet more AI coming in the future. Google demonstrated how the Google Assistant can make voice calls for you to setup appointments, such as booking a haircut at your salon or making a table reservation at a restaurant. It’s really cool stuff.
Android P is shaping up to be the biggest Android update in years. If you’re keen to try out the beta available now, and if you have one of the more-than-ever supported smartphones, you don’t have to wait, go ahead and enroll your device into the Android Beta Program now.