Android P : An Exclusive First Look at Google’s Most Ambitious Update in Years

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This year, Google is doing something different with Android. It unveiled a range of new features that are coming to the next version of its mobile operating system, Android P, infusing artificial intelligence into everything.

A lot is changing for Android for the next year, from smart replies to smart battery management, enhanced privacy and attempts to cure smartphone addiction. Some of the main features were revealed at its Google I/O developer conference

Android P beta kicked off and unlike previous years limited to just Google’s Nexus or Pixel devices, third-party smartphones are also invited. This new mobile operating system will have a new dashboard that tells you how often, when, and for how long you are using every app on your phone. It will also allow you to set limits on yourself. Google is trying to combine it into a theme that it calls “Digital Wellbeing”.

Following on from Apple’s introduction of navigating gestures on the iPhone X, several Android smartphone manufacturers have introduced similar gesture options. The Android P includes a new core interface that uses iPhone-like navigation gestures and smarter ways to access functions that are usually buried away inside apps. It promises to be the fastest update to non-Google devices yet.

Some of the new features in the Android P are

  • New gesture navigation.
  • Screen notch support.
  • AI-powered smart replies.
  • Task predictions.
  • Extended battery life.
  • Adaptive brightness.
  • Enhanced privacy and
  • Tools to stop smartphone addiction.

Sameer Samat, VP of product management for Android, says that the company has been working on these tools for a long time based on user research, not a desire to draft off the growing wave of concern about distraction. “There are 2 billion Android users. It’s the largest mobile operating system in the world,” he says. “We are the OS, and we feel like we need to be doing more around this area. We feel like we have a responsibility to do more.”

In a single update, Google is taking on the problem of digital distraction, completely turning upside down the core navigation of the OS. It’s too early to render any judgments on the quality or success of Android P, but it’s not too early to render any judgment that Android P is the biggest and most ambitious change to Android in some time.