The nickname for Android 9 is “Pie.” It’s not the most inspired of Android names, but it surely’ll do. What actually issues on the finish of the day are the brand new options in Pie — and there are many these.
In case you are a Pixel proprietor, you’ll be completely happy to listen to that Pie will begin rolling out as an over-the-air replace as we speak. The identical goes for each different machine that was enrolled within the Android Beta (that features any Sony Cellular, Xiaomi, HMD World, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Important gadgets that acquired the betas) and qualifying Android One gadgets. All people else, effectively, you already know the drill. Wait till your producer launches it for you… which must be the finish of the 12 months for some — and by no means for fairly a number of others.
Total, Pie is a stable improve. The one actual disappointment right here is that Pie gained’t launch with Android’s new digital wellness options by default. As an alternative, you’ll must sign up for a beta and personal a Pixel machine. That’s as a result of these new options gained’t formally launch till the autumn (Google’s occasion, which historically occurs in early October, looks like a great guess for the date).
Let’s discuss in regards to the options you’ll get whenever you replace to Android 9 Pie, although. The obvious signal that you’ve up to date to the brand new model is the brand new system navigation bar, which replaces the usual three-icon navigation bar that has served Android customers effectively for the final couple of iterations. The brand new navigation bar replaces the three icons (again, house, overview) which can be nearly all the time on display with a extra adaptive system and a house button that now helps you to swipe to modify between apps (as a substitute of tapping on the overview button). You can too now swipe up on the house button and see full-screen previews of the apps you used just lately, in addition to the names of some apps that Google thinks you’ll wish to use. A second up-swipe and also you get to the standard record of your whole put in apps.
In day-to-day use, I’m not but 100 % satisfied that this new system is any higher than the previous one. Perhaps I simply don’t like change, however the entire swiping factor doesn’t strike me as very environment friendly, and for those who depart your finger on the house button for a split-second longer than Google expects, it’ll launch the Assistant as a substitute of letting you swipe between apps. You get used to it, although, and you will get again to the previous system if you wish to.
Google’s recommendations for apps you’ll like and wish to use whenever you swipe up really feel like a pleasant tech demo however aren’t all that helpful in day-to-day use. I’m certain Google makes use of some form of machine studying to energy these recommendations, however I’d somewhat use that space as an prolonged favorites bar the place I can pin a number of further apps. It’s not that Android’s recommendations have been essentially fallacious and that these weren’t apps I needed to make use of, it’s largely that the apps it prompt have been already on my house display anyway. I don’t assume I ever began an app from there whereas utilizing the final two betas.
However that’s sufficient grumbling, as a result of it’s really the entire little issues that make Android 9 Pie higher. There’s stuff just like the adaptive battery administration, which makes your battery last more by studying which apps you utilize probably the most. And that’s nice (although I’m unsure how a lot affect it has had on my day by day battery life), however the brand new characteristic that truly made me smile was a brand new popup that tells you that you’ve possibly 20 % of battery left and that this cost ought to final till 9:20pm. That’s really helpful.
Google additionally loves to speak about its Adaptive Brightness characteristic that additionally learns about how you want your display brightness primarily based in your environment, however what really made a distinction for me was that Google now blends out the entire settings drawer whenever you change the setting so that you could really see what distinction these adjustments make. It’s additionally good to have the quantity slider pop up proper subsequent to the quantity buttons now.
Speaking about sound: Your telephone now performs a nice little sound whenever you plug within the charger. It’s the little issues that matter, in any case.
The opposite new machine learning-powered characteristic is the good textual content choice instrument that acknowledges the which means of the textual content you chose after which means that you can recommend related actions like opening Google Maps or mentioning the share dialog for an handle. It’s nifty when it really works, however right here, too, what really makes the actual distinction in day by day utilization is that the textual content choice magnifier exhibits you a bigger, clearer image of what you’re choosing (and it sits proper on high of what you’re choosing), which makes it far simpler to choose the fitting textual content (and sure, iOS just about does the identical factor).
And now we get to the half the place I want I may inform you all in regards to the flagship Digital Wellness options in Pie (as a result of pie and wellness go collectively like Gwyneth Paltrow and jade eggs), however we’ll have to attend a number of days for that. Right here’s what we all know will be out there: a dashboard for seeing the place you spend time in your machine; an app timer that permits you to set limits on how lengthy you should utilize Instagram, for instance, after which grays out the icon of that app; and a Wind Down characteristic that switches on the night-light mode, activates Do Not Disturb and fades the display to grayscale earlier than it’s bedtime.
The one wellness characteristic you may attempt now if you’re on Pie already is the brand new Do Not Disturb instrument that permits you to flip off all visible interruptions. To check out the whole lot else, you’ll have to join the beta here.
One other characteristic that’s solely launching within the fall is “slices” (like slices of pie…). I used to be wanting ahead to this one because it’ll permit builders to spotlight elements of their apps (possibly to begin taking part in a tune or hail a automotive) within the Android Pie search bar when warranted. Perhaps Google wasn’t prepared but — or possibly its companions simply hadn’t constructed sufficient slices but, however both method, we gained’t see these pop up in Android Pie till later this 12 months.
And that’s Android 9 Pie. It’s a pleasant replace for certain, and whereas Google loves to speak about the entire machine studying and intelligence it’s baking into Android, on the finish of the day, it’s the small high quality of life adjustments that truly make the most important distinction.