The most recent version of Google Android, 8.0 Oreo, is slowly making its way out into the world, and toward the phone in your hand; but what is coming next? Google’s alphabetical naming system suggests it’ll be Android P, and here’s everything you need to know about it now.
Google names its major Android versions after some kind of sweet, or dessert. The most recent is Oreo, and we’ve had everything from Marshmallows to Cupcakes in the past. What will the P stand for? It’s apparently being called Pistachio Ice Cream internally, but that’s not an indication of its final name, and Google has changed its mind at the last minute in the past. What do you think it should be called? Remember, it has to be something sweet, and start with the letter P.
How will Android P look? It may look quite different to existing versions. Most notably, Android P is rumored to adopt the iPhone X’s screen notch. The iPhone X’s screen covers most of the phone’s front panel, apart from a controversial notch at the top, where the camera and various sensors are placed. Google may be building support for a similar screen layout into Android P, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg. While phones that run Android are expected to arrive with a screen notch before Android P is released, they will operate a custom version of Android modified by the manufacturer, much like how the Essential phone deals with the layout now.
The adoption of the screen notch is potentially just a small part of a major redesign for Android. Google wants to attract people who choose the iPhone over an Android device by “improving the look of the software,” sources told Bloomberg. The reception to Apple’s notch on the iPhone X was mixed, and many Android users prefer the deeper customization available with Google’s software over Apple’s iOS, so bringing it closer in line with Apple’s design choices may prove controversial.
The notch may be just one new device design Google will encourage with Android P. Because manufacturers design their own hardware, many use different looks to separate their devices from others. Android P may also support designs with foldable, or flexible screens. Like the notch, Android phones with these designs have already been seen, and we expect to see more in 2018 even without official support for the design from Google. Instead, custom Android interfaces will be put to use, much like the ZTE Axon M.
Google Assistant is already a key part of Android. However, Google has made it clear over the past few months that Assistant, and voice control in general, is only just getting started. Google may make Assistant even more prominent in Android P, according to a Bloomberg report, which says engineers are considering placing Assistant inside the Google search bar on the main home screen.
Additionally, developers may be able to exploit Assistant’s voice technology inside their apps. It is not clear whether this will be widely spread, or if Google will choose specific partners to utilize Assistant’s talents. The report also says neither of these two features is final, and Google may not include them in the final version of Android P.
Other new features
If Google concentrates on a new look for Android P, will the rest of the software remain similar to Android Oreo? It’s not clear yet, but more improvements to device battery life should be expected.
When will it be announced?
Google often gives us a quick look at the next version of Android during its Google I/O developer conference. We hope 2018 will be no different. Google I/O 2018 is scheduled to begin on May 8, and we’re most likely to hear about Android P during the keynote held on the first day.
When the software will be ready for your phone is a very different story. Developer previews follow the announcement and continue until a final release around September or October, traditionally. The software usually debuts on new Google-produced smartphones in the Pixel range. If you own a phone from a different manufacturer, it will come at a later date.
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