Google announces Android P, confirms iPhone X-like design among several changes

Like it has been the case since past few years, Google has been giving us a glimpse of its next-gen Android OS as a part of ‘developer preview’ in March each year, followed by an official introduction in May at Google IO. This year seems no different as Google has introduced first developer preview of Android P. The firm has also mentioned some of the features the new Android OS will bring on the smartphones.

“Looking ahead, today we’re sharing the first developer preview of Android P, the newest version of Android. It’s an early baseline build for developers only — you’re our most trusted reviewers and testers ;-),” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android, Google, in a blog post. This version is not for end consumers but for developers only. They are meant to use the platform and give feedback for improvements.

Burke even added that the search giant will be sharing more at Google IO 2018 conference, which is scheduled to take place from May 8 to May 10 at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA.

Although the blog post mentions ‘new features to try in apps’, it also suggests some of the features we may see coming in Android P-based smartphones in future.

One of the most interesting changes revealed is the ‘Display cutout support’. This means Android P will let apps take advantage of the entire 18:9 aspect ratio screen smartphones along with a cutout for the camera and the speaker.

“Cutout support works seamlessly for apps, with the system managing status bar height to separate your content from the cutout. If you have critical, immersive content, you can also use new APIs to check the cutout shape and request full-screen layout around it,” said Burke.

This could be similar to what we have seen with the iPhone X. Also, cementing the speculations is the Asus Zenfone 5 and the 5Z smartphones that shamelessly copy the iPhone X-notch design. Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6 leaks also indicate the same cutout design on the screen.

In addition to this, Android P will bring along the support for the IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol, which is also known as WiFi Round-Trip-Time (RTT). This is supposed to let developers take advantage of indoor positioning in apps. For end users this means they may be able to see indoor maps right from inside the apps.

What’s more is that messaging notifications have been improved. Android P brings the new MessagingStyle notification style that highlights who is messaging and how you can reply. You can see images in message notifications and the avatar of the person sending it instead of just the name. Smart Reply will also be there in message notifications among others.

 Besides support for multiple cameras from inside the apps, Android P will let developers deliver HDR-enabled movies to users from YouTube, Play Movies, and other platforms. In addition, support for HEIF (heic) image encoding is included. This means images will take less space and data to transfer while retaining the quality.
Google is also enhancing some of the existing features such as Doze, App Standby, and Background Limits, all to improve the battery life.
Android P Developer Preview is available for testing on the official Android Emulator and on Pixel, Pixel XL Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL devices.