What’s new in Android 9?

The new operating system from Google dubbed Android 9 holds a lot of promises and comes with necessary advancements that answers both pressing technical needs and societal burden for a company that’s as large as Google.

Top Android 9 Features

Android 9

New navigation system

Way back in 2011, with Google’s iconic Honeycomb OS they debuted the three button navigation system that’s been the standard ever since. The three button system for the Back, Home and Recents is being abandoned for a much more cleaner and subtle design improvement.

How the buyers receive it is up to question.

It’s a gesture-based system.The new navigation system incorporates a single home button. You may swipe the home button up to see predicted apps and up again to see all apps. Sliding to the side for each app lets you open those up.

Here’s how it works in detail:

  • You can tap on the home to go the obvious place- Home
  • Once you swipe up you can see the recent apps you used
  • Swiping up twice takes you to the app drawer
  • The back button has been reduced to selective appearance and you can see it only when need arises in apps and menus.

Since it’s the beta version and only a select number of users are using the features all this can appear confusing and will need some time getting used to. However, with all the feedback they’re garnering we will have a better version very soon.

If you don’t like gestures Developer Preview 2 and 3 still allow three button usage but it will be gestures going forward for all iterations.

Device manufacturers like HTC and Samsung with their new pressure sensitive home button phones too are making a leap in the same direction.

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The all new Android Dashboard

The all-new android dashboard uses machine learning and probably predictive analytics to understand habits and promotes engagement. It uncovers detailed usage statistics for example the number of times you unlocked the phone, number of notifications, number of apsp you used and app engagement time helping you get a bird’s eye view of your engagement with the phone.

The feature wasn’t seen in Developer Preview 2 or 3 (but was announced) and future versions of Android P will have the dashboard and will offer detailed views on how you use the phone.

Well defined visual elements

Compared to the last iteration which was Android Oreo, Android P has a few visual elements that are markedly different.

It seems the designers were aiming for a more beautiful UI with this one.

Settings has colorful icons, there are circular icons and rounded corners for menu items. The UI will be noticed by users in how everything is more rounded and well shaped.

There’s something else the designers added. Speed and fluidity of motion. I can’t say whether it varies from RAM to RAM but the gestures and animations feel more fluid and quick. The menu options are smooth and fly under the finger and words will fail me to describe the experience.

App Timer

App timer is for people who are addicted to apps. You can set a time limit beyond which you don’t want to use the app and the phone automatically lets you know that the time’s up.

Google’s I/O conference also delved into parts that are otherwise less discussed. For instance, digital well being is a prime concern reflected this year.

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Slush Gesture

The slush gesture automatically enters you in the do not disturb mode.

Wind Down Mode

This is especially useful for people suffering from insomnia. The wind down mode informs Google assistant that you are going to go to bed and the phone will turn of blue light to greyscale or monchrome color palette and turn on the Do not disturb mode.

Adaptive Battery

The other day I read about an app that puts apps that suck your battery life into hibernation. Android 9 does something better. With machine learning it can figure out which apps you use when and wake them up only when you’re likely to use them. This saves battery and avoids the need of another app to manage apps.

According to Google’s estimates this new feature of adaptive battery will lower CPU usage by about 30 percent. This will consequently result in low battery usage. And as the name suggests the battery is adaptive and through machine learning and AI will understand how you use the phone and lower usage much more.

Adaptive Brightness

Senses the lighting around you. Imagine the bulb going off in a power cut and the screen displaying bright making use of the sensors to understand light intake and adjusting according to the light around you. How many times have you forgotten to up the brightness in sunshine. The 9( takes care of these things. This too saves battery

New emojis

Developer Preview 3 saw the addition of around 157 new emojis.

Notable ones are red hair, superhero face, face with three hearts, bagel with cream cheese, mooncake, lobster, and llama.

Changed standard for biometric authentication

Fingerprint sensors are the new standard in phone security. But it’s quickly becoming outdated and far newer systems are replacing it and combining fingerprint scanning with other recognition systems. Face unlock systems using biometric scanners is one such addition.

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That’s not new. What’s new is the API.

Google has introduced the BiometricPrompt API.

Developers need not create their own dialog boxes for authentication. They can rely on Google’s api which makes the system much secure and easy to sue.

Only those enrolling in the Android beta program and with specific phones will be able to access the preview.

List of phones where its available.

Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, plus the Nokia 7 Plus, Essential Phone, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21UD, Vivo X21 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S.

When is it going to be launched?

Announced on the Developer Preview in March with the public beta that went live shortly after on May 8 2018, keeping with tradition we should get the new OS by mid August.

Conclusion

So what do you think of all the new features of Android 9. Can you guess what it will be named?

George T Mathew

George T Mathew works at 1dayReview a tech blog that focuses on tech trends, insights and news.

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