Google has released the first developer preview of its next version of operating system “Android P” which the company says is mostly focused on the changes that will affect developers and might not have significant user interface (UI) adjustments. Developers with a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices can now download the Android P (Android 9.0) developer preview 1. Unfortunately, support has been dropped for the Google Pixel C, Google Nexus 5X and Google Nexus 6P.
Dave Burke, Google Vice President of Engineering, said this is “an early baseline build for developers only”, The Verge reported, adding that it was unclear how big the user-facing changes would be. Google has added a built-in support for a notch cutting into the display at the top of the screen, called “display cutout support”. With this, developers would be able to test how full-screen apps would work with phones that have iPhone X-like notches, with the new tools that Google has released.
The company also tweaked the look for the “Quick Settings” panel and the notification drawer with rounded corners. The new look for notifications also includes a refreshed appearance for messaging apps. With this change, users could reply to texts right from the notification itself. The messaging apps would support the inclusion of “Smart replies”, images and stickers directly in the notification.
Android P would also have a standard dialog box user interface for when apps want to verify a user’s identity with a fingerprint. As far as the notable changes for developers are concerned, “Android P restricts access to mic, camera and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle”. If an app is in the background and not active, it won’t be able to access your microphone.
The new OS would also have built-in support for more video and image codecs, including HDR VP9 Profile 2 and HEIF (heic). Google promised more information “later this year” on “enhancing and refactoring the media APIs to make them easier to develop and integrate with”. As smartphone makers are shifting to two-camera setup, a multi-camera API is included so an Android app can individually request the data from more than one camera sensor at once.
“Better Autofill” is added to make it easier for password managers to enter passcodes for users essentially striking out the need of “switch-apps-and-copy-and-switch-apps-and-paste” process. For improved performance, Google has added small changes that control power efficiency in Android, including Doze, Standby and Background Limits.
The Job Scheduler is getting smarter and would understand the device’s network state and batching apps network requests together. The company would release more details in May and release Android P in autumn. It would release an Android Beta version before unveiling the “final product”.