Google is dropping a major surprise on us today and releasing the final consumer-ready version of Android P. It has a final name: Google has officially announced the next major version name of “Android 9 Pie”.
Ohh..!! Yes, “Android 9 Pie” is now finished and will start rolling out to Google’s Pixel phones. As for when the update will hit other Android phones, that’s a giant question mark as always. Google says devices that were a part of the developer preview program—those from Sony, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Essential, and more—along with some Android One phones, will get the new software in the fall. Others will get the new OS sometime “this year.” Whenever Android Pie shows up on your phone, here are five new things to look for.
What’s New in Android 9?
- Adaptive Battery: uses on-device machine learning to understand your usage and prioritize battery power on the apps and services you use most often.
- Adaptive Brightness: learns which brightness levels you prefer based on your surroundings, and automatically adjusts your phone’s brightness level for you .
- App Actions: These little shortcuts, located in the app drawer, will predict what you’re about to do so you can get it done more quickly. For instance, if you normally open the app drawer, open the phone app, and call your best friend, you’ll eventually see an App Action suggesting you do so once you open your app drawer.
- App Slices: We haven’t been able to test out App Slices yet, but Google says it will make its way to Android Pie sometime in the fall. App Slices are similar to App Actions, but they appear in the Google Search bar. As an example, if you type “Hawaii” in Search, an App Slice might suggest you look at your recent Hawaii vacation photos in the Google Photos app.
- New Gesture Navigation: Android 9.0 Pie features a new way to navigate around your device. Gone are the traditional back, home, and recent apps keys. Instead, you get a single pill-shaped home button that you can tap to go home, swipe right to access recent apps, or swipe up to access your app drawer and app suggestions.
- Security and Privacy Features: Android Pie introduces plenty of new security and privacy features to help keep your data safe. One of the most helpful features introduced in the update is that applications are no longer able to access your mic, camera, or sensors when it goes idle. You can learn more about security in Android Pie right here.
- Google Map id coming indoors: Google Maps is the most loved and most used navigation app, but to date, it has largely only worked for driving or walking outside — not for large indoor places like malls. That, however, is about to change. A new feature in Android 9.0 Pie includes added support for “Wi-Fi Round Trip Time,” or RTT, which allows for more specific positioning through Wi-Fi. Indoor positioning, in places like malls, is about to get a whole lot more precise.
- Prevent accidental screen rotations: While Android currently offers a screen orientation lock option, it can be a bit annoying to use when you’re switching between apps. Android 9.0 Pie offers a whole new way to prevent accidental screen rotations. You can pin a screen to a specific orientation through the navigation bar. If you want to switch the orientation, you simply need to tap the icon.
- A Ton of Little Changes: There are a bunch of other little features Google included in Android 9.0 Pie. Smart Text Selection, redesigned quick settings menu, improved notification bundling, manual switching between light/dark themes, improved autofill, revamped always-on display, and new volume shortcuts are among the many little changes in Android Pie.
Digital Wellbeing and Android Dashboard
One of Google’s major spotlights is Digital Wellbeing in Android 9.0 Pie, ensuring your phone works for you, and not the other way around. To that end, Google is implementing a bunch of handy features that let users limit the time they spend on their phones, see where they’ve spent the most time, and wind down before bed.
One of these new features is the Android Dashboard — a feature that helps track the amount of time you spend on your device. With Dashboard, you can see how long you’re using your phone to send messages, stream content, surf the internet, or even make calls. You’ll also be able to set up screen time limits for specific apps, like YouTube, and even receive recommendations to take a screen break. Also new is Wind Down Mode. With Wind Down Mode, you can tell Google Assistant when you would like to go to bed, and it will automatically put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and switch your screen to gray-scale over a period of time. This is meant to encourage you to put the phone down before bed.
These Digital Wellbeing features aren’t available just yet, though those on Google Pixel devices can sign up for the beta through this link. It will officially roll out later this fall, with support for Android One devices as well.