Android P has begun its developer preview, which means that it is now accessible for builders, or these curious sufficient to take a look at some unfinished software program. We’re guessing that you simply match a type of two teams, proper?

Similar to 2017’s shock announcement of Android Oreo, Google unveiled this yr’s huge improve a number of months forward of Google IO 2018, the place it would dive deep into what to anticipate from the ultimate launch of P – besides its title. What’s going to ‘P’ stand for? We now have a few ideas… 

Based mostly on our hands-on expertise, detailed beneath, Android P seems to focus extra on overhauling the visible design of the working system than the way it works, although go away it as much as Google to nonetheless make numerous modifications and enhancements within the coming months.

Trying to obtain Android P for your self? You will want one in every of 4 telephones at present supported: the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2 or Google Pixel 2 XL. Extra units will help the software program shortly after its closing launch, just like the Google Pixel 3, however in order for you beta entry, going Google is the one choice.

We’ll add new info to this text as we hear it, however whereas we anticipate extra official data nuggets to drop, we’ve additionally provide you with an inventory of issues we would like from Android P, as a result of pretty much as good as Android Oreo is there’s at all times room for extra enchancment.

Lower to the chase

  • What’s it? The following model of Android
  • When is it out? In all probability August 2018
  • How a lot will it value? It is going to be a free replace

Android P launch date

Google introduced out the primary developer preview of Android P in early March 2018. We count on the cadence of beta updates to hit each few months till the ultimate model lands in August 2018, a yr after Android Oreo landed.

After all, it is going to be accessible first for the Google telephones listed above, however it would additionally possible make its retail debut within the Google Pixel three nearing the yr’s finish.

Android P first impressions

After the trial and error that at all times comes with the fragile means of flashing a smartphone, we lastly have Android P loaded onto a Google Pixel XL. It did not take lengthy for us to note a number of small, however considerable tweaks to the visuals from the preliminary setup display.

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Textual content is extra sharp, there’s typically extra shade within the menus, transition animations have been touched up, and a few stuff has been moved round. It seems and feels contemporary, even on this very early software program construct.

On the lookout for the time? It is now on the highest left nook of the display. App notification icons pile subsequent to it, which might get dicey if A.) you utilize a number of apps, or B.) your subsequent Android cellphone has a notch (Google has deliberate forward for this, fortunately.) 

The Pixel Launcher now has a rounded-off edge, matching the look of notification home windows that you simply see if you get up your cellphone. That is clearly a minor contact, however it performs into the general look that Google goes for with P. 

You will should squint to note this welcome enchancment

Ambient Show has been overhauled, no less than in comparison with what got here earlier than it on Pixel XL and what at present exists on the newest Pixel 2 XL Oreo software program. The date and day of week now not show beneath the time, however it nonetheless shows app notification icons. 

The most important change right here is that down on the display’s backside, it shows the battery proportion, in order that you do not have to wake it to know whether or not you must plug in or not. We stay up for Google making extra updates to Ambient Show because the dev preview continues.

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Small notch

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Medium notch

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iPhone X-sized notch

Buried within the show settings, the preview permits builders, and by extension, us and anybody else who installs the preview, to simulate a notch on their telephones. Providing three totally different notch choices, Google lets builders check their apps utilizing a hypothetical notch earlier than extra units with the characteristic launch, which is able to inevitably occur. I am positive some individuals will go away this characteristic on for enjoyable, however it seems fairly foolish on the Pixel XL’s humongous bezels. Plus, seeing app notifications hiding as a result of there isn’t any extra space? Not a lot enjoyable in any respect, actually.

We’re nonetheless digging round Android P and will likely be putting in new updates as they arrive, so keep tuned.

What we wish to see

Android is in fairly a cultured state by this level, however there are at all times enhancements that may be made, akin to the next issues.

1. Wider, sooner availability

Android has lengthy had a fragmentation downside, with many units caught on very outdated variations and even these which is able to in the end get the newest launch typically taking many months to take action.

With Android P we’d prefer to see Google push to get the replace on extra units, sooner. That is largely within the fingers of producers, however Google may be capable of do one thing to assist.

In actual fact, Google is already engaged on this considerably with Project Treble, a characteristic which ought to imply it’s much less work for producers to replace their units.

It stays to be seen how a lot distinction that can make, however we’re positive there’s extra that may very well be completed in any case.

2. Movable search bar and date widgets

Not everybody needs the identical structure, hopefully Android P will handle that

One of many issues we usually reward about inventory Android is that it’s freed from bloat, however that may additionally imply it’s mild on options, akin to the power to maneuver the search bar and date widget.

They’re at present glued to the underside and prime of the house display respectively within the inventory model of Android Oreo.

Most individuals will in all probability be pleased with that, however we’d like the power to maneuver them wherever on the display with Android P, like you may with most widgets.

three. Extra customization

On a associated be aware, we’d like to see extra customization potential on the whole with Android P.

Some third-party launchers allow you to customise gestures, display transitions and the like, however for probably the most half what you see is what you get with Android Oreo.

There’s nothing stopping you switching the inventory launcher for a third-party one to achieve these choices, however then you definately lose the Oreo feel and appear, so for Android P we would like extra customization built-in.

four. Make the Pixel Launcher accessible on all units

Pixel Launcher is a slick tackle Android that we wish to see on extra units

Whereas your system might get Android Oreo, it in all probability gained’t get it as Google meant except it’s a Pixel cellphone, so we’d prefer to see the Pixel Launcher made accessible for third-party handsets too, so customers can select between Google’s tackle Android and that of their system’s producer.

The Pixel Launcher is definitely accessible on Google Play, however just for Google’s personal units, so with Android P we’d prefer to see its availability and compatibility widened.

5. Characteristic parity

Even when you get a brand new model of Android in your system, you gained’t essentially get all of the options immediately.

For instance, Google Assistant took some time to reach on many units even as soon as that they had Android Nougat, and Google Lens doesn’t come as a part of the core Android Oreo replace.

With Android P we’d prefer to see any and all options, particularly huge ones like these above, be made accessible for all units operating the software program and to come back as a part of the core Android P replace.

6. Image-in-picture for each app

Image-in-picture is helpful, however solely works with a number of apps

Image-in-picture is among the huge new options of Android Oreo, however it’s truly fairly restricted, with many apps not supporting it.

That will properly change over time, but when it’s not fastened as a part of Oreo we wish to see it accessible for many or all video apps as a part of Android P.

7. A give attention to tablets

Whereas Android is nice on telephones, there’s a way that much less focus has been placed on the pill expertise in recent times, and that’s all of the extra noticeable now that Apple has launched the tablet-focused iOS 11.

Google might be taught from this, and we’d prefer to see it add the likes of system-wide drag-and-drop and extra native pill apps with Android P. Bringing Google Assistant to tablets wouldn’t damage both.