Google has released the first, work-in-progress version of Android P.
The strictly-for-developers-right-now edition of the Big G’s operating system isn’t ready for mass consumption just yet.
But its launch does give us some clear ideas of what we can expect from Google over the next few months, as well as clues as to how Android phones from a variety of manufacturers will look.
Here are five things you need to know about Android P.
1 It's for developers only
These are early days for Android P. And that means that this version is very much for developers only. That’s not to say keen Android fans can’t lay their hands on the software.
Rather that unless you’re happy with bug–laden, test version software, then this is best left to the experts.
Google’s own engineering boss, Dave Burke, says this is a ‘baseline build for developers only’.
So best take his word for it.
2 Notches ahoy
Android P’s biggest headline feature is its support for devices that have screen notches.
The clock moves to the side of the display to accommodate a feature which was first seen on the iPhone X and has since been spotted on products from the likes of Huawei and LG.
With more Android phones likely to pack notch designs forthcoming, this is a no brainer for Google, even if it seems to be admitting Apple’s quirky take is here to stay.
3 New look, new you
Image credit: Droid Life
Cosmetic changes have been promised with Android P and this developer version backs that up.
Fonts appear more consistent, with a new drag down quick settings menu looking much sleeker compared with older software.
It’s all part of Google’s wider plan to take on Apple’s iOS, offering a more unified look aimed at enticing smartphone owners keen on switching.
4 Pixel phones first
As in previous years, Google will offer Android P for its Pixel range of smartphones first.
It’s already said that older Nexus phones won’t be receiving the platform, as it looks to build on the success of its own–brand devices. An official release will likely come in late summer, if previous years are anything to go by.
5 But long waits for updates may be a thing of the past
Thanks to changes in how Android works, phones made by Samsung, LG and HTC could get Android P sooner than previous builds.
The newly released Galaxy S9 allows for fast installation of new Android versions, so the long wait for more secure, better software may be a thing of the past for owners of top–end phones from manufacturers other than Google.
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