Android P Developer Preview 1: Top 8 Features and Changes

We expected Android P to arrive in mid-march but Google surprised us all and just released it out of the blue. Yes, Android P is here when Android Oreo is on less than 2% of all Android devices. But that’s a topic for another time; right now let’s talk about Android P. We have installed the Android P Developer Preview on Pixel 2 XL. Let’s take a look at all of the changes and new features in Android P, Android pancake, Android peanut butter or whatever they’ll call it.

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1. Visual Changes

First and foremost Android P brings a lot of visual changes. If you look at the home screen, it looks very similar to Android Oreo but there are a lot of changes. Here’s what we are talking about:

Quick Settings Pane

As its customary for every new Android version, the Quick settings pane has received a complete makeover with nice rounded buttons for all the toggles that now look really iOS like. To be honest we really like this new design so we have no complaints and although the looks have changed, it works pretty much the same.

Notifications

Also notifications on Android P have received quite the revamp as well and they now support a clean minimal look with rounded corners all over the place. But that’s not all; the notifications will now also be able to display images in the notification itself making it much easier to see what someone has sent. Notifications in Android P also have native support for smart replies in messaging apps and the option to save replies as drafts if implemented by the developers.

Settings Page

We also see a new redesigned settings page, a change that is so overused by Google. It seems as if it’s permanently on their to-do list. This time around the Settings page has colored icons all over the place and they do give a refreshing feel to what was otherwise a blue and white wasteland.

A piece of interesting trivia, Android P will block custom overlays making Substratum themes useless. But the Settings page on Android P is almost an exact replica of the Flux White Substratum theme; well-played Google!

Animations

There are also changes in the way Android P handles animations. Moving between apps now has a side to side animation that looks very iPhone 10 like. It almost looks like Google took some cues from Cupertino. We could say that Google puts the queue in Cupertino. No? Okay.

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2. Notch Support

As the rumour suggested, Android P has display cutout support which is just a fancy way of saying Notch support. So yeah, Google has accepted that Android phones will have notches now. So, we think it’s about time we accepted it too. The Android P Developer Preview even lets you visualize what different notches will look like and how the app interacts with them. This is actually meant for developers to test their features out and should translate into apps that play well with notches on Android phones. But you can also use it to take a look at what future Android smartphones will look like.

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3. Screenshot Editor

Yet another useful feature that Android fans have been asking for, for a very long time and one of the features that Android still lacks, is a Screenshot Editor. Thankfully Android P has an editor built right into the OS itself. It’s called Markup and brings a very basic editor that can let you crop, rotate or doodle on the screenshots. It’s very similar to the screenshot tool that was introduced in iOS 11. So yeah, it does seem like Google is taking a lot of inspiration from iOS this time around.

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4. Lockdown Feature

If you’re living with geeky kind of person, the chances are you’ve woken up to find your phone in his hands with him going through all your personal stuff. Believe us, we know. Fortunately Android P is making life better for us with a brand new feature called Lockdown. What it does? Simply toggle the feature ON and your phone will not unlock even if someone tries to use your finger to unlock it while you’re sleeping. Basically it’s something that locks a fingerprint scanner; that’s awesome and definitely something people will use.

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5. Changes to Low Power Mode

Moving on to more changes in Android P, the low-power mode is sort of going through an identity crisis right about now; with Google using at least two different names for the same thing. It’s called Reduced Power Mode in the battery settings and Battery Saver in the quick settings tile. More important though is the fact that battery saver mode can be set to automatically activate at any battery value between 5 and 70 percent. This feature is really helpful for people who get panicky when their phone’s battery reaches 70 percent. It’s all pretty pedestrian for me except one thing – the battery saver mode doesn’t turn the status and navigation bar orange anymore. This is awesome because those orange navigation and status bar just look terrible.

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6. Multi Camera Support

Oh, this one is nice! Android P will let developers use what Google is calling Multiple Camera API. This opens up new creative ideas in dual camera phones like accessing the camera feed from both the lenses at the same time or getting a seamless zoom and even for getting stereoscopic shots from dual camera phones. It’s awesome and developers can use this to create some amazing apps. I’m definitely looking forward to developers using this API in apps designed for Android P. And it also makes us think that maybe, just maybe the Pixel 3 might come with dual cameras.

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7. For Developers

If you’re a developer then Android P brings a ton of new features for you as well. First and foremost, the apps in the background will no longer be able to access camera, mic or any of the other sensors on the phone, which is great for privacy reasons. Improvements have been made to the Android runtime which should result in better app performance with lower resource usage. Apps can now use Wi-Fi RTT to calculate a user’s indoor position. Auto-Fill now has better support for third party apps. Lastly, there are some power related changes that we couldn’t really understand so we’ll just leave that to you.

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8. Other Changes

Other than the changes mentioned above, there are a few changes that we couldn’t fit anywhere else but they’re worth knowing about. Have a look at them:

    • The Power Menu now has a screenshot button, which is actually handy.

    • The app info page keeps the Uninstall and Force Quit buttons hidden in the 3-dot menu.

    • Volume buttons change the media volume by default instead of ringer volume which is a lifesaver.

  • Lastly, do not disturb mode doesn’t have all the priority only, alarms only type of things anymore. It’s just ‘do not disturb’.

Android P does look like that it will be a great new OS from Google. However, keep in mind that this is just the first developer preview of Android P and there will definitely be a lot of changes before Android P is ready for primetime. So, that was it. What do you think about Android P and which is your favorite feature? Do let us know in the comment section below. Enjoy, have fun!

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About Aslam Khan

Hi there, I am a blogger, engineer and a computer geek. I love kittens. I spend some of my time blogging besides full time job as Senior Windows Administrator. I like to learn new things.

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