Google Android 9 Pie: The 5 Best New Features

Google has simply launched the ultimate model of its Android P software program, which was first previewed on the firm’s annual developer convention again in May. This additionally implies that we’re lastly studying what P stands for, after months of on-line debate. Popsicle? Pudding? Pumpkin pie? In maintaining with Google’s dessert-themed naming conference for its cellular OS, the brand new software program is just named Pie—though, as many can be fast to level out, not all pies are dessert pies.

Android Pie rolls out at this time to Google’s personal Pixel telephones. As for when the replace will hit different Android telephones, that is an enormous query mark as at all times.

Hold the half-baked jokes, as a result of all in all, Android 9 Pie (its full identify) seems to be fairly … candy. It’s a major replace from the earlier OS, Android Oreo. In some ways, the rollout of Android Pie is only a formality; the newest beta launch, Android P Beta 4, was actually near the ultimate construct. But if you have not been utilizing the beta software program (which you doubtless haven’t, because it’s supposed for builders) and that is your first run-in with Android P-is-for-Pie, then you are going to welcome the OS’s new navigation system, screen-time controls, battery optimization, and privateness tweaks.

Android Pie rolls out at this time to Google’s personal Pixel telephones. As for when the replace will hit different Android telephones, that is an enormous query mark as at all times. Google says gadgets that had been part of the developer preview program—these from Sony, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Essential, and extra—together with some Android One telephones, will get the brand new software program within the fall. Others will get the brand new OS someday “this year.” Whenever Android Pie reveals up in your cellphone, listed here are 5 new issues to search for.

What a Lovely Gesture

In the brand new Android Pie, the acquainted lineup of three navigation icons on the backside of the cellphone has been changed by a single pill-shaped icon within the backside heart of the display. Long-press this digital button and Google Assistant pops up. Swipe up from it and it’ll convey you to the most recent app you had been utilizing. From right here you may scroll horizontally by your entire open apps. You can even swipe horizontally on the brand new icon itself to swipe by open apps. Swipe up from the icon once more and it’ll convey you to your app drawer. Tap on it and it’ll convey you dwelling.

One ingredient of this customers would possibly discover jarring: The everlasting again button is gone, though it seems to the left of the pill-shaped icon when you bounce into apps.

It’s all very paying homage to the gesture-based navigation on the iPhone X, which does not have a house button and compelled Apple—and its customers—to rethink cellphone navigation. While it takes some getting used to, this new feature-based navigation system does make the Android interface really feel extra fluid. If you hate it, although, you are not caught with it: You can go into settings and revert to the previous button structure.

AI, But for Battery Life

Battery life optimization has been a giant focus of Google’s previous few OS updates, beginning with Android 6.0 Marshmallow (with the introduction of Doze) all the way in which as much as Android 8.0 Oreo (“Wise Limits”). Unfortunately, there have been a good variety of complaints about extreme battery drain with Oreo, notably with Samsung telephones. But Google has made continuous enhancements, and Android Pie has a brand new function known as “Adaptive Battery.” It applies machine studying to the issue of our ever-draining energy cells.

Google says it collaborated with Alphabet’s DeepMind workforce in London to construct this function. It’s imagined to prioritize your favourite apps and put extra limitations on the cellphone’s sources for the apps you employ much less ceaselessly. Eventually, the tech is meant to predict the apps you are going to use over the following few hours, in addition to those you are not going to make use of, after which restrict the battery for these unlikely-to-be-used apps. As with something AI-related, outcomes typically will not present till the system has had the prospect to “learn” your habits; since I’ve solely been utilizing the ultimate model of Android 9 Pie for a few days, I do not assume I’ve skilled the advantages of this but. But it is one thing to keep watch over.

If you are involved about privateness, and the thought of DeepMind gaining access to your smartphone exercise creeps you out just a bit bit, Google says that all the machine studying is going on on the gadget itself and never within the cloud. Notably, it is the primary DeepMind expertise to be utilized on-device, and never within the cloud. (Similarly, Google’s tiny facial-recognition digicam, Clips, makes use of on-device AI.)

I’ll Have a Small Slice

Usually while you seek for an app on Android, the app icon itself comes up, in addition to another related outcomes on the gadget or on the net. With Android Pie, Google goes to point out you data that is embedded inside apps, providing you interactive app performance from immediately inside search outcomes. At a excessive degree, Google says, it is the corporate’s new method to “remote content.”

One oft-used instance is how photographs present up in system searches. If you employ your cellphone to seek for a vacation spot, like “Hawaii,” you will not simply get outcomes for Hawaii’s time zone or Hawaii-bound flights. You may also see outcomes from Google Photos out of your Hawaiian trip. It’s additionally good for navigation shortcuts; for those who seek for “data,” you may get all the online outcomes you’d anticipate for “data,” however you may even have fast entry to the cellular information tab inside your cellphone’s settings. Google is keen on utilizing Lyft for instance: Search outcomes for “Lyft” will embody estimates for instances and fares for rides to work and residential. This is analogous in some methods to Siri Shortcuts on iOS, however as an alternative of assigning a customized phrase to an app motion, it is simply trying to find that app and having the potential motion pop up.

On Background

The concept that Facebook might be listening to our conversations by smartphone microphones is among the most persistent, and nonetheless unproven, conspiracy theories on the net. Android Pie will make that principle much more doubtful. The software program replace “restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle,” the corporate stated across the time that the brand new OS was first introduced. This implies that as soon as the app switches to “background” standing—you are now not utilizing it—that app will lose entry to your cellphone’s mic, and if an app tries to entry your digicam, an error message is generated. Given how invasive app permissions can really feel, it is a welcome replace.

Android Pie consists of different new privateness options. Google has created a separate permissions class, known as Call_Log, that requires builders to ask express permission to entry customers’ name logs, somewhat than lumping all of it right into a single “Phone” permissions group. And devs additionally now need to ask for permission earlier than operating a Wi-Fi scan (which permits an app to collect your location information). Android Pie additionally blocks HTTP connections by default and requests that apps use HTTPS connections as an alternative. This is in keeping with the latest swap to HTTPS made by Chrome on the desktop.

Give Me a Break

New instruments are coming to Android that can assist you curb your cellphone use—or at the least get a clearer image of it.


Google’s new “digital well-being” software program is the one a part of the Android Pie OS that can nonetheless be in beta for some time longer. This newest software program launch features a sign-up move the place folks can now enroll within the well-being beta, however once more, these options will formally launch within the fall. Also: It will solely work on Pixel telephones to begin.

So what’s digital well-being? If you missed the announcement on this again at I/O, it is Google’s initiative round limiting the period of time you spend mindlessly scrolling in your cellphone. It could appear counterintuitive for a corporation that makes a smartphone working system (and smartphone {hardware}) to encourage folks to place their handsets down, however it’s all half of a bigger (but unproven) pattern; Apple and Facebook have additionally launched efforts that mirror a number of the tenets of the Time Well Spent motion.

On Android Pie, this implies you may go into settings and see a dashboard that tells you the way a lot time you’ve got been in your cellphone at this time, and what apps and companies are the largest time-suckers. You’ll know what number of instances you’ve got unlocked your cellphone every day and what number of notifications you’ve got acquired. (For instance, as of Sunday afternoon I had solely unlocked my tester Pixel 2 XL cellphone 12 instances, which I used to be feeling … oddly happy with?) You can set timers on apps and set up parameters for while you’d just like the cellphone to change to a gray-scale display, or drop into Do Not Disturb mode.

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