GOOGLE HAS REVEALED a bunch of new details about its upcoming Android P update, er, apart from what the 'P' stands for.
During the firm's Google I/O keynote on Tuesday, Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke said the firm's next major OS update will focus on three key points: intelligence, simplicity, and digital wellbeing.
Intelligence, naturally, is a nod to artificial intelligence (AI), as a lot of the new features are powered by Google's AI tech. First up there's Adaptive Brightness, a feature that takes into account whether you typically increase or decrease the brightness when it's set at a certain level and adjusts it without you having to move a finger.
Adaptive Battery, on the other hand, will look at how you use your phone and find ways to stop quick battery drains. Apps that aren't used frequently will be put to sleep, for example, which Google claims will lead to an average of 30 percent reduction in app wakeups and, as a result, longer battery life.
Then there's App Actions and Slices, an AI-powered predictive app feature. Actions will highlight specific apps based on Android's knowledge of your typical habits - so if you tend to read the news at 6pm every day, it'll throw up Google's redesigned News app onto your homescreen. Actions also recognise when accessories are attached, so if you plug in your headphones, Google might suggest some Spotify playlists.
If an Action offers a specific feature, Google is calling it a Slice. For example, if you search for Uber, Google will offer up shortcuts for hailing a cab to take you home or to your office. This feature will be available only in Google Search, while 'Actions' will also be baked into Google Assistant and the Play Store.
On the 'simplicity' side, Google is mimicking Apple's iPhone X with new swipe navigation swipes and gestures. In Android P, a tap on the display will take you to the homescreen, while a long press will fire up Google Assistant - ridding the need for a physical button. A small swipe up from the bottom of the screen will now show you your multitasking screen, while a more vigorous swipe will open up your app drawer.
Google is also focusing heavily on 'digital wellbeing' in a bid to help Android users spend less time gawping at their smartphones and more time, er, going outside, or something.
In a bid to encourage this, Android P's new usage dashboard will show users information such as many minutes they've spent on each app and how many times they've unlocked their smartphone.
If you recognise bad habits, a set of tools will allow you to control these - you can set a time limit for each app, for example, and when you hit the limit you'll see you'll see a greyed-out version of its icon on your home screen.
There's also a new 'Shush' feature puts your phone into Do Not Disturb mode automatically when you lay it face-down.
The Android P public beta is available now, and it's open to more than just Google phones this year. You'll be able to get it on the Essential Phone, Oppo's R15 Pro, Nokia's 7 Plus, Sony's Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2S, Vivo's X21, the still-unreleased OnePlus 6, and - naturally - the Pixel and Pixel 2. µ
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