Google has finally unveiled its next-generation of the Android operating system, the Android P. And just like previous dessert-themed naming convention from Google, the P here stands for Pie.
The latest Android version is rolling out today to Google’s Pixel lineup and Essential Phone. Other Android smartphones which were part of beta testing will get the update coupled with Android One phones by the end of this year. But, the question here is: what has changed? Does the new Android version has better functionality as compared to previous Android 8.0 Oreo? Or not? Here we try to answer some them.
Android 9.0 P vs Android Oreo: Visual Changes
The most noticeable aspect of the latest Android 9.0 Pie are the visual changes. The company has introduced a host of new features, styling and changes that make it look more immersive as compared to older Android Oreo.
New Gesture Controls
Google has finally removed the three navigation buttons that were present at the bottom of every Android smartphone with a new pill-shaped icon. Users can navigate through the following gestures with the new Android P:
- Swipe Up from the pill-shaped icon to reveal recent apps
- Swipe right or left to switch between different recent apps
- Long-press to activate Google Assistant
- Swipe Up from the icon and continue swiping to open the app drawer
- Tap on it to go Home
The company has completely changed the way we have been navigating and it has introduced some features as well. So, for examples, the recent menu now shows full app and one can also select, copy and paste text right from this mode.
New Notification and Quick Settings
Other interesting visual changes come in the form of new notification panel and Quick settings menu. Starting with the Quick Settings menu, you get:
- Rounded corners are around the quick setting panel
- The clock now comes on the left side
- Round icons and added colour to each quick settings
This looks much more refined and immersive as compared to Android 8.0 Oreo. Coming to notification panel, you get some smarter improvements:
- Rounded corner of notifications
- Smart Reply feature
- Users can block notifications of the app by tapping red button at the top corner of the notification.
New Vertical Volume controls
With Android P, Google has completely changed the placement of volume controls on Android. You get the volume controls slider at the side of the screen. This is not it. There are three different modes right beneath it showing ring, vibrate or Mute options.
New Power Menu
Just like volume controls, you will now get power off, restart option aligned vertically at the side of the screen.
New Screenshot option
Gone are the days when you have to use different key combinations to take a screenshot. With Android P, Google has added screenshot option whenever you long-press power on/off button. The new option will be available right beneath power off and restart option.
Android 9.0 P vs Android Oreo: Features
With the latest Android version, Google is focusing more on wellness, which it calls “Digital Wellbeing”. The company has introduced a new dashboard that shows the following:
- Total time spent on the device
- Pie chart of apps users have been using the whole time
- Number of unlocks
- Number of notifications
The feature is in currently in beta testing phase and it is expected to be made live for the masses in the near future.
Another feature Google introduced is App Timers. This feature basically allows you to set a time allowance for specific apps. So, whenever you reach the set time limit, the app will be greyed out. This is an interesting way to curb those ‘one last round’ of games, though you still need some willpower to stop yourself.
New Do Not Disturb And Wind Down
The company has introduced a new DND mode with Android P. With this, users can enter the Do Not Disturb mode by simply placing the phone over the table. On the other hand, Wind Down does the following:
- Switch the display to night mode
- Activate Do Not Disturb mode
- Fade the screen to grayscale
Adaptive Battery and Brightness
Another new feature is the Adaptive Battery. The feature uses AI to prioritizes battery consumptions for those apps, which you use frequently. This is an upgrade to the Battery Saver option available in Android Oreo. The feature basically:
- Distinguish between frequently-used apps and not-so-frequently-used apps
- Limit battery consumption for the not-so-frequently-used apps
This will thus help the phone to manage the battery more effectively. Coming to Adaptive Brightness feature, it uses machine learning to automatically adjust the brightness of the display as per the ambient light present. This is an upgrade to the Auto Brightness settings found in Android Oreo.
App Actions and Slices
App Actions is yet another feature, which is new to Android users and it has included in Android 9.0 Pie. through this feature, users will get a more personalised experience and:
- It will predict what tasks the user wants to do next
- The new feature will be available in different places like Launcher, Play Store, Google Search app, Google Assistant and more
Moving on, the Slice is a part of App Actions and it shows templates of certain apps right from within the Google Search app and Google Assistant.
Support for Notches
Another feature of the Android 9.0 P is the support for notch display. The new Android P now support for devices that come with notched display and it also supports 18:9 and taller aspect ratios.
Android 9.0 P vs Android Oreo: Security
Google claims that the latest Android P comes with some added security, which is not present in the previous Oreo version. To start with, the company has claimed that background apps will not have microphone and camera access. This will surely protect users’ privacy.
Further, the OS will inform users when a background app is using a microphone or camera via a notification. Another feature in the Android P is the alert tone for call recording.
Google will notify the users by an alert tone every fifteen seconds so that users can be aware of the fact that their calls are being recorded. Moving on, Android backups will be protected with PIN, pattern or password for added security.
To conclude, the Android 9.0 P does come loaded with some nifty features. The addition of well-being features will surely help users in accepting a healthy lifestyle. There are noticeable visual changes that makes it a much more immersive experience as compared to Android 8.0 Oreo. However, the major challenge here will be the rollout at mass scale. The Android Oreo, which was launched last year, is yet to reach the masses across the globe. So, it should be interesting to see whether the newest Android version will face the same fate of slow roll out or not.