Google released Android Pie for its own phones, namely the Pixel brand, in August last year. Since then, various Android phone manufacturers, including Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, Honor, LG and others, have been adapting the latest Android version (version 9) for their phones.
Some, like Essential Phone and OnePlus, were released in late 2018, while others, including Samsung and its more expensive Note and S9 + models, did not receive updates until January and February 2019.
Android Pie, or Android P as many call it, is a huge upgrade from the previous version of Oreo. Android P has a new look, many new performance, usability and security features, and a few functional changes to existing features.
There is a lot about this – much more than I can tell here without writing a review that would require a huge investment of your time. Hence, this review focuses on the most important and interesting changes.
- The new Material Design API rules should help create better and more consistent applications in the future.
- Longer battery life and battery savings
- The smart turn button is simple but ingenious
- Digital wellbeing is Alcoholics Anonymous for millions of addicts.
- New look is pleasing to the eye
- Editable screenshots
- Long list of new or improved features
- New Material Design API rules should provide better and more consistent applications from now on
- Improved battery life and battery saving
- Smart Rotate Button Simple yet ingenious
- Digital Wellbeing is a resource for Alcoholics Anonymous for millions of smartphone addicts
- The new look is easy on the eyes
- Adjustable screenshots
- Long list of new or improved features
- Recent apps and other features (including digital wellbeing) not offered to third-party developers.
- The new gestures and navigation bar replacements are a little confusing, but at least you can turn them off.
- Recent apps and other features (including Digital Wellbeing) not offered to third-party developers
- New gestures and replacing the navigation bar is a bit confusing, but at least You can turn it off.
Bottom line: Overall, Android 9 is an improvement over version 8, but Google offers some of the more impressive features for its phones. even so, advanced AI and other improvements are well implemented.
It’s important to note, however, that not all manufacturers are adopting all of the new features, and sometimes they adapt them differently than Google is rolling out them to their phones. A good example is that Android P supports taking screenshots by holding down the power button and then choosing Screenshot from the next menu.
For example, the Samsung Note 9 already offers several ways to take screenshots, including the traditional Power + Volume Down method, palm swipe gesture, Bixby voice activation (â€œHey Bixby, take a screenshotâ€) and with the S Pen, the Note stylus. It and some other Samsung phones, as well as devices from other manufacturers, do not have the Power menu screenshot option deployed.
In addition, for some manufacturers, the transition to a new version of Android is an ongoing process, and new features will be added in future updates. The point is, of course, that depending on your phone, you might not get all of Android P’s features, or they might not be the same, and some might arrive later.
And some, because of the monopoly tactics Google uses against its so-called “partners” (other handset manufacturers), are simply not offered to third-party phones. The only way to know for sure what Android 9 will bring to your phone is to contact the manufacturer or the company’s website.
The overall look and feel of Android 9, also known as its material design (or design language), differs from its predecessor in that it has more, even more rounded rounded corners, monochrome icons, more white space, and is flatter than ever. was.
In other words, shadows have been almost eliminated. I think the question of whether it will be more attractive is a personal question. It took me a while to get used to. Regardless, a flatter, basic interface with simpler icons has been the norm on iOS, macOS and Windows for some time now.
You also have a little more control over the look. I especially like the night mode option, which changes the interface from black text on a white background to white text on a black background, as shown in the image below.
Of course, this is done primarily to make it easier to use the phone in the dark, but in my opinion, it really makes it more convenient to view and use at any time, and also makes it much more attractive.
Note that this is not the same as Dark Mode, although they look similar. Beyond these more obvious appearance changes, however, you may notice subtler variations throughout the user interface, such as more color in preference drop-downs, more rounded corners in search and other fields, including notifications, and more.
Perhaps more important to the material design of Android P, in version 9, Google introduced a new API (Application Program Interface) standard for third-party application developers, forcing them, like Apple, to comply with the more stringent Android requirements. compliance with the design. In other words, Google (for the first time) has implemented Play Store’s standard quality guidelines for submitting apps.
From now on, the Play Store will only accept applications that comply with the new API restrictions and support new features, or developers will not be allowed to publish updated or new applications. Of all the changes to Android’s appearance, this unspoken update may be the most significant.
You will also see new transition and notification animations, a new battery indicator at the bottom of the screen in the Ambient Display, eliminating the need to wake up your phone to see the remaining battery power. The weather is also shown in the Ambient Display.
Many phone makers and app makers have implemented these features long ago, as well as extended information beyond the lock screen clock, which is also new to Android P. If you like this kind of thing, there are many new emojis.
New Navigation Features
Before diving into the new Android P navigation features, it’s important to note that Google hasn’t always provided all of its latest navigation capabilities to other phone manufacturers in the past.
As a result, some of the Pixel’s navigation options and navigation on non-Google devices are sometimes noticeably different. In Android 9, Google made the navigation changes available to all manufacturers, but not everyone, such as Samsung, decided to implement them, instead suggesting their own options.
In Android P, you can, if you choose (toggled on and off in display settings under Gestures> Swipe up on the home button), switch from the standard Back, Home and Recent Apps buttons on the navigation bar to a one-button one. navigation option. These gestures are then available from any screen:
- Press once to return home.
- Press and hold to launch Google Assistant.
- Swipe right for most recent app
- Swipe right and hold to view recent apps.
- Swipe up to display a menu of recent apps and suggested apps.
- Swipe up to open the app drawer
Depending on where you are in the user interface, other buttons temporarily appear next to the home or navigation button, including the keyboard selector and smart rotate button.
In smart rotation, when you have auto rotation disabled, the OS recognizes applications where you can ignore this setting (such as a video player), allowing you to rotate the screen without changing the setting.
If you enable the new gesture navigation feature, Android P will give you two versions of the recent apps screen, one with a Google search bar and suggested apps (artificial intelligence or AI, depending on your use) at the bottom of the screen, and one with cards preview applications.
The first is a series of application cards that you can flip through. You can delete apps by swiping up, enter apps by swiping down or touching the map, and display the Clear All button by swiping right. Tapping the app icon at the top of the card displays other options such as App Info, Pinning an App, and Split Screen.
Another recent apps screen is activated by swiping and holding the navigation button to the right, which launches a set of recent apps cards. To open an application, simply release the button when the desired application is selected.
Depending on what is selected, the OS will also offer apps, including Chrome for URL, Messages, Contacts, or Phone for phone number. You get the idea. You can even copy and paste text from individual app preview cards.
New Comfort and Productivity Features
As mentioned, Android Pie is a major update with more new features and appearance changes than you can shake up or discuss here without taking too much of your day. What follows is a (somewhat long) list of new productivity and convenience features and short descriptions. I tried to find a balance between brevity and information content.
Adaptive Battery: With Adaptive Battery, Android 9 uses machine learning or artificial intelligence to predict which apps you’re likely to use in the next few hours and which aren’t, so you use your battery more intelligently.
Adaptive Brightness: Another AI-driven feature, Adaptive Brightness remembers your preferred brightness level under different lighting conditions and adjusts lighting accordingly.
Unless you mess with your lighting a lot, the AI ??will of course have nothing to work with. An interesting feature, however, is that the brightness slider moves on its own to respond to different lighting changes.
App Actions: Here is one of those features that haven’t arrived yet that were mentioned earlier. In addition, it may only be available on Google devices. In any case, App Actions predicts what you want to do next, depending on the context and displays this action, saving you time because you do not need to launch the application itself.
If, for example, you plug in headphones, the OS might launch the default music player and suggest a link to the playlist you listened to earlier that day.
App Snippets: The app snippets that allow you (and Google Search) to use a part of the app to perform certain tasks, such as calling an Uber on the nearest driver, are also not yet ready for primetime on most devices. It will eventually work with Google Assistant, which can eliminate the need to launch certain apps entirely.
Battery Saver: The improved Battery Saver app in Android Pie offers much more options to enable Battery Saver when your battery starts to run out. Instead of enabling 5 percent or 15 percent battery saver, you can now tell the OS to enable battery saver when the battery reaches 70 percent or below. Also, the revamped power saving feature no longer has that disgusting orange bar – instead, you get a permanent notification icon.
Improved Bluetooth: Bluetooth now supports up to five devices simultaneously. You can, for example, connect multiple speakers for true stereo (two speakers) or surround sound (five speakers). Don’t worry if you get a call though, the OS is smart enough to limit audio to one speaker, so things aren’t too weird.
Android P also remembers the volume at which you left your speakers or Bluetooth headphones so you don’t blow your eardrums, and headphones that support it now have a setting that tries to eliminate that annoying Bluetooth lag between your phone. and headphones.
Digital Wellbeing: Digital Wellbeing is a kind of electronic nanny designed to protect you from your smartphone, or more precisely, from yourself and your compulsive use of your phone. Unfortunately, the Digital Wellness app is only available on Pixel right now, unless you intend to use this hack to install it.
The app includes application timers, an advanced Do Not Disturb mode (discussed later), and a Shutdown mode that gradually greyscales the user interface based on a time interval you set, reminding you when time to stop is approaching. / p>
Do Not Disturb Mode: There have been many changes to the Do Not Disturb system between Android 9 and Android 8, although some of them fall under Digital Wellbeing, which, as mentioned above, only works with Google phones unless you’re ready to follow the instructions at the link above paragraph.
In any case, previous versions of Android had three modes: normal, priority, and complete silence. Now you can choose “On” And Off, but you have a lot more exceptions, which allows you to essentially micro-control Do Not Disturb if you want to. You can now also turn off visual notifications.
Support for dual camera streaming and external camera: With Android 9, developers can now create depth, bokeh, stereo vision, 3D and other videos using streams from two or more physical cameras, devices with dual front or dual rear cameras. Additionally, Android 9 now supports external USB / UVC cameras on select mobile devices.
Improved biometrics support: Biometrics – fingerprints, iris and facial recognition – have been significantly improved, but many of the improvements are intended to help developers and manufacturers make better use of biometric hardware.
Take Samsung’s latest phones with face and iris scanners, for example. You can use them to unlock your phone as the Android API passes control of the lock screen to Samsung, which allows the company to build support for scanners.
In turn, this allows Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers and app developers to create features such as Samsung’s smart biometrics, which can require face and iris recognition for added security or / or for faster login. Now the possibilities have increased significantly.
Lift to Wake: Perhaps one of the more user-friendly features is what Google calls Lift to Wake, how it sounds. After enabling it in Lock Screen> Movement & Gestures, used in conjunction with face or iris recognition, when you lift your phone, the biometric scanners start working and the phone will unlock.
If, of course, biometrics does not work, you will have to enter an access code, password or pattern to unlock. This may seem like a mediocre change, but I use it more often than any other new feature; The usual routine of waking my phone up every time I wanted to check or see something was exhausting. Logging in often took longer than what I wanted to do on the device.
Lock Mode: Lock Mode, which is similar in concept to Apple’s Limited USB Mode, is triggered by holding down the power button and selecting Lock from the list. This will remove all notifications and personal information from the lock screen.
To unlock, you will need to enter a password, pattern, or PIN – none of the biometrics will unlock your phone – neither fingerprints, nor face unlocking, nor iris, nor a combination of both. This feature prevents thieves and other wicked people from making you show your face on your phone or put your finger on the reader. (Hurray!)
Preview images of messages. Depending on your messaging app and whoever creates it, message notifications can now display images in the notification preview, not just text.
Additional media formats: Android P adds support for the latest video and audio formats, including:
- HDR: VP9 High Dynamic Range 2 profile to watch HDR-enabled movies on YouTube and on Google Play. Movies and other services coming soon. HDR expands the brightness and color range of a video to improve image quality and overall experience, as shown (and your display can do it) in the image below.
- HD Audio: Improved support for HD audio playback, providing an overall clearer, richer, and sharper audio quality.
- HEIF: HEIF photos improve image compression and reduce memory requirements.
New Emoji: Android 9 offers 157 more emoji that you can add to your emails, messages and documents, as if the 2275 or so we already had weren’t enough.
Hot, cold, funny and drunk emojis are new this time; scientific symbols such as DNA, lab coat and glasses; and tons of new animals, food, buildings, signs, sports and more. You also get people of different shapes and styles, including superheroes and supervillains.
New notches and edge-to-edge support: Support for devices with notches or notches to use available screen space is now supported, and edge-to-edge support for devices with an aspect ratio of 18: 9 and above.
New security and privacy features. Security enhancements include randomized MAC addresses, making it difficult to track or use your phone in public Wi-Fi environments.
In addition, inactive applications cannot access sensors, microphone or camera for a long time. When a background app makes such a request, Android notifies you asking if you want to allow or deny access. Apps now also need to ask for permission before starting Wi-Fi scans so they can’t collect your location data.
Android 9 also blocks insecure HTTP connections by default, asking apps to use HTTPS connections instead, which is consistent with Chrome’s recent switch to HTTPS on the desktop.
Power Menu Options: As mentioned, the Power Menu now has a screenshot option. In addition, a new lock feature can be added to the power menu that hides all notifications, locks Smart Lock, and disables the fingerprint scanner.
You can find this option in your lock screen settings, and once enabled, it will also appear in the main interface. Also, if the screen dims during a timeout, you can now cancel it by tapping the fingerprint scanner.
Editing screenshots. In addition to new ways to take screenshots, Android P also comes with a screenshot editor, which is available immediately after you take a screenshot, or in the Gallery and other image editors. You can resize, crop, add text and paint on screenshots as you wish.
Zoom Selected Text and AI: Another popular feature in iOS is zoom in on selected text. Now, when you select text in messages, emails, and documents, Android displays it in an enlarged box right above the cursor.
This makes it much easier to see what you choose. In addition, in Android Pie, Google has added smart replies to all apps. There are already smart response buttons in notifications that send pre-generated text to the app. Smart answers are a job, but Google said they will be part of a new set of tools designed to provide developers with machine learning APIs without having to learn complex programming or artificial intelligence tools.
The ML Kit, launched last May, with APIs for face detection, text recognition, image tagging, landmark detection and barcode scanning, and eventually smart responses will be included in the kit.
Smart Rotation: Now instead of toggling Allow Screen Rotation on and off in Settings, you can activate a screen rotation button that lets you decide on each occasion when you rotate your phone whether to rotate the screen.
Volume control: Before Android 9, on multiple devices, when listening to music, the volume buttons adjusted the system volume setting for your phone. A new setting in Android Pie lets you toggle the default volume keys to control the media volume.
Also, on Google phones and some other devices, the volume slider has been changed from horizontal to vertical, and they are located next to the volume keys rather than stretching across the phone.
Google says it believes your phone should be personalized and therefore should adapt to your life, not the other way around. Consequently, Android is a lot harder in terms of AI, which tries to learn and adapt functionality like the app drawer, display, battery usage and some other apps and features to your work style than in previous versions.
In other words, he tries to help you become more productive, and in many cases he does it simply because he is more comfortable. This is achieved in many ways. It is also much more user-friendly and attractive in many ways, although I would like more features to be rolled out to third party phones.
However, a lot of this depends on the phone makers themselves, not necessarily Google – sometimes. In any case, after scrutinizing this new OS, which required carrying it around and using it for several weeks, I found very little to complain about – and when evaluating OS updates, this usually indicates that the new OS version is successful.