For the past few months, die-hard Android users have been busy testing the Android P developer preview. While that already contains some great new features, the just-released beta update brings even more innovation to the table. We think it's going to be Google's most significant mobile operating system in years. Here are five new features you need to know about.
Google unveiled the latest Android P build at its annual developer event, I/O. There was a big emphasis on artificial intelligence for improved performance and automation of everyday tasks. Let's take a look at some of the most noteworthy improvements.
The last few iteration of Android have looked pretty samey, but Google is overhauling the user interface this time around. Changes include more minimalist lines, a preference for circular icons and improvements to app organisation. There's also a new App Actions tool that uses A.I to predict your next action. This will be to provide contextual suggestions right from the home screen based on how you use your phone.
Longer battery life
With phones getting increasingly bigger - and rumours of multi-screen devices on the horizon - battery life is more important than ever.
To combat this problem, Android P will come with Adaptive Battery, which does exactly what is says on the tin. It adapts to user habits via machine learning powered by DeepMind. This results in bespoke battery management to match the user - which translates to better power efficiency and a longer battery life. Hurrah!
Auto brightness that actually works
The Adaptive Brightness tool adjusts brightness settings based on your preferences. This saves you the trouble of making manual adjustments while still delivering the exact brightness level you need. Unlike previous auto-brightness functions, the results are based on the individual user's habits and behaviors.
Slices is a new API that aims to make multitasking easier. It will allow you to view and interact with information in one app while inside another, negating the need to swap between them.
Okay, this one obviously won't be welcomed by everyone, but if you're concerned about smartphone addictions, it could be your favourite new feature. The OS now logs the amount of time you spend using your phone with a further breakdown of individual apps. This sobering reminder of all the hours you've been wasting can be accessed at any time. There's also a new Do Not Disturb Mode which switches off notification sounds and vibrations when you flip your phone over. The uninterrupted dinner conversation is making a comeback.
You can try out the Android P Beta for yourself here.