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Android P: all the new features


Google is fresh off the stage announcing the latest update to its globetrotting Android platform, the eventual 9.0 version, dubbed lovingly... still P (Google keeps us in suspense). While a lot of the new features that it showed today were simply ones from the latest public beta, explained in more details, there was a certain tension which ones from the beta will make it into the final release, and will there be any surprises.

After all, support for the new notch-y design paradigm is not something you liked in a recent poll of ours, and yet we hoped that Google keeps it, since there are plenty of such handsets already on the market, and the implementation of what's shown in the horns is far from perfect still.

We are glad to report on both counts - most of the nice features that we already previewed in the beta are carried over for the retail update, but there is some completely new stuff to marvel at as well. We have compiled all of the user-facing new Android 9.0 P features in a convenient list for your viewing pleasure below:

Adaptive battery


Thаt's not the biggest thing announced today, and is a feature that has been on Android overlays for ages, yet Google implementing it on a system level means is likely to really bring battery life improvements. The system will prevent apps from going rogue on power draw, and Google cited a 30% reduction in CPU wake lock, which is arguably the biggest drag on battery life this side of the display... and Pokemon GO.


Navigate with swipes... and a home indicator


In a follow-the-trend mentality, upcoming Android phones of the Google Pixel or Android One variety, will have a new home bar indicator at the bottom - you know, like on the iPhone X, but a bit shorter. Recent app button duties are taken over by a swipe-up gesture, again very familiar one. Swiping on the elliptical indicator serves as a scroller, but there is still a back key on the new nav bar.


Manual rotation


Those annoying auto-rotates can now be a thing of the past. Rotating the screen can be manual now, too, with an indicator at the navigation bar to tap on.



App actions


App Actions are similar to what Huawei tries to do with the AI on its phones, but taken on an Android system level. The OS predicts what you'll do next, or do most often, and loads it for instant access in the background beforehand. When you connect your headphones to your device, for instance, the system will prompt you to resume your Spotify playlist, for instance, pretty cool, but doesn't work in third-party apps just yet, it seems.



Slices


Would you like to be able to pop a part of an app right when you need it most? Slices do just that, giving you an even deeper look into your favorite apps, says Google. The example given was with ride-sharing. Search for "Lyft," and a Slice will surface that gives you the price and time for a trip to work, and you can even tap on it to finish the booking.



Digital wellbeing


From the makers of one of the most addictive digital products, namely YouTube and Android, comes the so-called Digital Wellbeing project in Android P. It consists of Dashboard that shows you how you use your device, like time spent in apps, phone unlocks, or notifications that demanded your attention, so you know where to cut. The App Timer option can set a timer for app usage, even discoloring the icon when your limit is exhausted. There's a fresh DND regime mode that stops all call or notification sounds, and even the pop-up previews that appear when you get new ones. The Wind Down feature does all three - turns on Night Light at the evening, rushes in the DND mode, and even gets your display in grayscale when nappy time approaches. There's a gesture for all that, too - turn your phone over on a surface, and it will automagically enter the Digital Wellbeing mode, sweet.

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