Google on Tuesday revealed many more details about Android P, the next major update to its mobile operating system. We now have a public beta, where you can sign up to help the company test out the new wares. And for the first time, Google has opened the beta program to devices outside of its own phone lineup. (You’ll find a list of Android P phones here.)There are many new features in Android P you can expect to make their way to your Android phone, the timing of which depends on how often your phone’s manufacturer updates its operating system. For Google Pixel ($386.99 at Amazon.com) owners, however, you can expect the following features to reach your device when Android P is officially released later this year.
Android P has features to curb smartphone addiction
Android P’s new navigation flow.
Right now, most Android devices have three digital buttons at the bottom of the screen for navigating the interface. With Android P, there’s only one button. The home button now acts as an area where you use gestures to view recently used apps, quickly switch between them and open the app drawer.
Google/Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
With Android P, your phone will learn more about how you adjust settings like display brightness, as well as when you typically use an app (or apps). It will tune the OS to increase battery life and overall performance. For example, if you only open the Reddit app a couple times a week, Android P will essentially ignore any resource requests (fancy phrasing for refresh requests) from Reddit and instead dedicate power to, say, your favorite, always-open CNET app.
Smarter app suggestions
Furthering your Android device’s bid to learn more about you, over time Android P will learn which actions you commonly take with a specific app or contact, and display shortcuts to quickly carry out said tasks. For instance, if you normally call a relative around a specific time on a specific day, App Actions will provide a shortcut to dial the person from within the app drawer.
Google is tackling smartphone addiction with a wellbeing program. The company wants to encourage you to spend less time on a phone and more time experiencing life without a screen. No, really. Part of the wellbeing program on Android P is a new dashboard that breaks down your usage habits based on the app, number of times your phone is unlocked in a given day, and the number of received notifications. Furthermore, more wellbeing features include an app timer to limit your time in an app and a new wind-down mode that turns your phone’s interface into a black and white display at a set time each night. The lack of color is supposed to discourage you from spending too much time on the phone right before bed. Shush, a feature related to Do Not Disturb, activates when you place a phone with the display down against a flat surface. The phone automatically enables Do Not Disturb mode, ignoring any potential interruptions during a meeting or family dinner.
New screenshot tool!
Finally, Android P is adding better tools to do more with screenshots. After taking a screenshot, you’ll have the option to annotate and share it directly from the screenshot interface instead of relying on a third-party app, as has been the case in the past.
Google I/O: All our coverage of this year’s developer conference. Google Assistant could become the most lifelike AI yet: Experimental tech called Duplex makes you think you’re talking to a real person.
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