As it has done in recent years, Google will launch a developer preview of the next version of Android in March. Before asking, no, we do not know the name beyond "Android P." Another thing we do not know is how big the changes in the user will be this time, since this preview focuses mainly on the changes that will affect the developers. In fact, Google's vice president of engineering, Dave Burke, calls it "a basic initial construction only for developers", so you definitely should not flash with this main phone and assume it will be usable every day.
The feature that will probably generate more debate is the built-in support for a notch on the screen at the top of the screen. (Google's term is "show court support"). Those notches were inevitable in the new Android phones at the Mobile World Congress last month, so support will be important at least until companies happily stop copying Apple's iPhone X. Meanwhile, developers will be able to test how their full-screen applications will work with notches with the new tools that Google is launching today.
The other change that users can see is to look directly at the face in the following image: an adjusted look for the Quick Settings panel and the notification drawer with rounded corners. Do not assume too much there, however, since this is just a preview and Google has made adjustments to the view of quick settings and notifications in other previews.
The new aspect of notifications also includes a new aspect for notifications of messaging applications: they may include recent lines of your conversation if you want to respond online within the notification. It's similar to how iOS handles iMessage notifications, but without all that force-touch brouhaha. Applications may also include "smart answers" (perhaps provided by Google?), Images and stickers directly in the notification.
As I said before, this is a developer preview, so the above encapsulates the visual changes that we have been able to identify so far. In fact, it encapsulates the traditional "features" of users that are worth mentioning in the Google blog post. Although there are some more bits here and there. Android is finally introducing a standard dialog box user interface for when applications want to verify their identity with a fingerprint, for example.
The rest is the kind of things that are related to the overall efficiency of Android or are specifically there for developers to test their applications. The list is surprisingly long, but it is difficult to find a great theme for Android P changes in the way we could do with previous versions.
Here are some of the notable changes for developers:
"Android P restricts access to the microphone, camera and all SensorManager sensors from applications that are inactive." If an application is in the background and is not active, they can not access your microphone. This is a big annoyance to the Facebook conspiracy theorists who listen to you.
Integrated support for more video and image codecs, including HDR VP9 Profile 2 and HEIF (heic), with the latter bringing Android closer to the way iOS does things. Google also promises more information "later this year" on "improving and refactoring the multimedia APIs to make it easier to develop and integrate them."
A multi-camera API so that an Android application can individually request data from more than one camera sensor at a time. So, for phones that have two cameras on the back, there will be a standard way for applications to control them more granularly.
Compatibility with Wi-Fi RTT (Round-Trip-Time), which allows applications to obtain indoor positioning data at a meter or two. It works by measuring the distance to several Wi-Fi access points.
Better autocomplete, which should make it easier for password managers to enter their password for you, so you're not constantly doing a dance of change-applications-and-copy-and-change-applications-and-paste.
Improved performance for ART and applications written in Kotlin.
Changes in the bits that control energy efficiency in Android, including Doze, Standby and Background Limits. The Job Scheduler is also becoming smarter by understanding the state of the device network and application network requests in batches. Applications that want to recover data in the background should test against all that.
Google also warns developers that Android P will start launching warning boxes to users when they install applications that "point to a platform prior to Android 4.2." Basically, if you are not using a recent SDK for your application, Google will. It makes you feel bad by making your users distrust a bit of your application. Applications sent to the Google Play store are also expected to go to Android Oreo in November and, in 2019, to support 64-bit hardware.
Google will also begin "a gradual process to restrict access to selected interfaces that are not SDKs." That is the code to "use the public APIs that we have created for Android or maybe your application will not work someday" (it's not a real quote) The company is taking this slowly and is encouraging developers to contact each other if their application does not It is covered.
Now, it would not be a story about a new version of Android without a big warning, so here it is: although we expect more details in May and a release this fall, the likelihood that your current Android phone will receive any of these features It's not great In fact, if history is a guide, its possibilities are perishably small. It is possible that the deep structural changes that Google made to Android with Oreo (known as Treble) could improve the status of the update this time. But it is impossible to know until that happens.
Do not install this on your main smartphone
Meanwhile, developers with Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL can download and flash the preview of the Android P developer on their devices and can also install the emulator on their computers. But once again: Google is clear that "this initial version is only for developers and not for daily use or for the consumer", and we see no reason to doubt that there are errors that demonstrate this first release. Google emphasized that concern by not releasing a wireless version of this preview of Android P.
The good news for early adopters is that Google is once again promising an Android Beta launch sometime in the future, as it "comes closer to the end product."