Android is no more just an operating system but a way of life and every upgrade of the same is looked forward to by millions of beings. It helps them increase their dependence on technology and ease their daily chores and that’s exactly what the Android Pie (Android 9.0) assures us. Everything is great with upgrades, but the bad thing about Android is, even now, most of the Android devices haven’t received the Android Oreo update yet.
Yes, you read it right Android 9.0 or Android Pie
(Most probably Android Popsicle taking a clue from its precedent version being Oreo and also the fact that the latest google spring collection could have been dropping the hint for P) is going to ease our hold over android. This version also assures to help us to monitor our usage and dependence on phones.
Google launched its first developer preview in early March this year and a Beta version of the same was made available for public on 8th may 2018 right after its Google IO 2018 keynote. The retail version of the same will be made available in Google Pixel 3 this year. The first impression it leaves is that this OS reads our minds and not just reads but predicts and helps us track our daily activities and schedules not just like any other fitness tracker but also a track of apps we use followed by apps we might use and even predict the next call we might make. Before confusing you any further let us know all the updates provided by google in its latest version of Android i.e. Android Pie.
Top Android Pie Features
Adaptive battery life
The use of Artificial intelligence makes sure that is not just a heard of concept now. Android Pie assures that it shuts down those apps which it does not think you’ll use soon. The thought behind use of AI in saving battery is a result of collaboration between the android and the Google’s deep mind team. If David Burke is to be believed then this feature has shown a 30% reduction in CPU wake up calls.
Let us take a simple example – Suppose everyday while going to your work place you check Facebook and then the same is repeated in the evening while returning in that case Facebook will be put to sleep during the interval while you are in office. Well sounds and feels good as it not only saves battery but does not really bother us or effect our usage. To me it seems pretty thoughtful as to how we can do maximum utilization of the battery.
Adaptive Brightness on Android Pie
Well, It has always been there but in a very generalised manner isn’t it? For instance, we move out in the sun and the brightness adjusts itself to maximum. How about letting the brightness adapt itself according to our personal preference? This is exactly what this feature does.
It first understands your preference of brightness under certain exposures and environments and then implements the same. Thus, brightness is adaptive not just to the surroundings but every individual’s personal taste.
Although, this is not a great addition, but it surely would make the user experience great. With this, once you set your brightness preference for a particular environment, it’ll automatically adjust to that level of brightness next time when you’re in that environment. It won’t be too bright or too dull, it’ll just match your level of preference.
App Slices and App actions
Google will now be our friend that to a close one. Just like our best friend it will read our mind. App actions are just like 3d touch which help us access the app in depth that is. So just by long pressing an app we can get options to scroll through other features of the app. For example: If we long press the messaging app we can chose to compose a new message or to revert to recent conversations. But this time with a step ahead. The new addition being the prediction of what app will you use next and adding a shortcut of the same in suggested apps.
App Slices on the other hand are a useful feature for app developers. While Slices will help the developers to permeate or travel through certain parameters and be featured in the google assistant for an individual according to his/her need. For example: Trivago helps us choose a hotel by finding the lowest online price similarly slices enables a UI which will help us directly reach the app which matches our search result according to google assistant.
Changes in navigation design
While the solid round home button bids a goodbye, we whole heartedly welcome the pill shaped button which will ease the navigation and might just complicate it a bit too. A normal touch on the pill is supposed to generate the menu but a longer touch and we end up looking at the previously used apps. All in all, this change is a visual treat and maybe with constant use your hands will settle on a softer pull up technique.
The pill like button will help us access various features with action-oriented technique i.e., a normal touch will take us to home while a long press will enable google assistant, a half swipe shall launch overview and full swipe will in turn help us go to the app drawer and swiping right will then help us revisit the recently used apps. You can expect a lot of customisation options on custom ROMs or devices from OnePlus for the long press, this way a long press would take you closer to the apps or services you’re interested in.
Android has ever since its beginning made us hooked to it to the core. All android users will agree to the fact that our smartphones are an addiction but now we can monitor our usage of the same. Just like fitness trackers we now have a way to track our digital wellbeing and restrict it too. Restriction can be imposed on usage of apps beyond a certain time slot or simply by changing to a color less theme that will discourage us from using our phones.
It helps us use the search bar seamlessly and also predicts the apps we might wish to use by using its adaptive features. Who could have thought that a combination of AI with an operating system could make the user interface so seamless and personalized.
Richer message notifications
A notification which reflects a preview of the message is called a richer message notification. These notifications enable us to have complete chat right through the notification bar which helps us in switching apps or continuing with any essential work in forefront while still being able to reply to our loved ones.
Other Smaller Changes
Support for Notches
Google introducing notches shows where the hardware is heading to. We can look for the support in Settings > Display > Themes. As can be seen in the developer version but not the public beta version yet. There are three types of notch themes available as of now.
Changes in design
With the clock shifting to the top left corner being the most noticeable and prominent one. Just like the previous versions a light-colored text with dark themes and vice versa is displayed. The settings menu is more colorful and playful, it seems attractive as can be seen in the screenshot below.
It is a system by which a retailer or anyone in need can get an map of their outlet or needed location on their device. It can be helpful for malls and other big retail stores to help you locate/access a particular product without any physical assistance. Isn’t it going to make things much more easy to find?
Finally, a sigh of relief for all Android users. This update limits the access of your downloaded apps to your microphone and camera while still being able to run in the background. No more paranoia regarding who all are accessing our phones without our consent. All thanks to Android Pie.
Volume Slider and Screen Rotation
Volume slider is now located right next to the volume rocker keys and the slider controls the media volume at all times. The screen rotation is managed by a popup button.
As shown in the image above the volume slider controls the media while the button on top controls modes. In the right screenshot we see a phone like icon is for screen rotation.
The shush feature
It is always easier to be able to decide whether or not do we want to see the notifications pop up. This feature becomes even better if we place the phone with its front facing down it not only silences the alarms but pops non visual display notifications.
Battery percentage always on display
Just like the time and date that we could always find on even while the screen was turned off, now the battery percentage will also be on display.
Changes in Notification bar
Android has always shown changes in its navigation bar with every update. This time around the long press feature to select amongst various wifi units or Bluetooth devices has been removed. Noticeable changes have been made in the notification bar. The dark and light adjustment according to theme is still available with all icons in blue. The rounded edges give it a easier look and premium look.
Do not disturb
Although, not many people are use this feature on daily basis, but it really is a helpful feature for people who receive a lot of personal calls at their work place. Previously, the Do not disturb wasn’t a serious feature. This mode gets a serious touch now, when activated only calls from starred contacts can get through while all others are hidden. This mode can be customized too. But again, this requires you to mark important contacts as “Starred.” Have you ever spent time marking them?
A built in screenshot editor eases our task of marking and highlighting right while we click the screen and share whether for personal or professional use. This way you won’t have to download an additional editor to hide something from screenshot or edit a screenshot. This might not be an exceptional feature, but when minted into the OS, it sure does makes the experience great.
Android Pie Verdict: What do we think?
All these features and a little more precision to them until the final launch make android 9.0 one of the most awaited android versions ever. Android Pie or Android 9.0 seems to be just the perfectly personalised user interface ever bought for us as users. Google has made sure it not only caters to a limited audience as it has assured that the update will reach not just google devices but other android partners as well.
The beta version launched for public too has been available on the following devices: Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Essential phone, Nokia 7 plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Oneplus 6, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21, Vivo X21UD and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s. Though for now the update came through directly on my Pixel XL but for other phones you need to download the public beta version by finding it on the web.
Such a widespread reach of an Android OS update is due to “Project treble” which plan to help in modularizing OS updates to be flashed on Android devices without any involvement from any third-party silicon vendors and thus easing out its availability. In a layman’s context all android updates take long to reach all devices. Even though the precedent version was Android Oreo still studies reflect a very small fragment of population using it. In the traditional frame work the new update would have been on the same low-level software and thus both needed an update and not just the OS.
While now the Android OS can be updated in itself without any interaction with the vendor’s software which makes the download of the OS version hassle free and easier. Therefore, project treble aims at bringing all Android devices on the same OS right from the day of its release for the specific devices.
The public beta trial version has been received with a lot of love and appreciable tweaks. Its sharp text and fresh new interface surely will be an engaging experience for all Android users. People who were keen on using an interface which could appeal to ever persons individual choices will be satiated with the fresh new experience of this update. It’s refreshing to see such a seamless use of artificial intelligence to identify a person’s specific need in terms of its adaptive features.
This one of a kind update is sure to provide a user-friendly interface to even those who found it difficult to manage Android devices. The final version of this update will be free, will be available most probable from August 2018 while the retail Debut of Android Pie will be seen in Google Pixel 3. So, before we move to a closure I would just state that with a little time that we need to get accustomed to the new tools of Android Pie, it seems to be the best and most user-friendly Android update so far. It adaptive features are like a warm way to show google cares and the use of AI makes it the most seamless and comfortable experience in smartphones so far. So, let us all wait till August 2018 to have a refreshing new experience of Android 9.0.