While Android Oreo is still absent on the majority of devices, with only a fraction of models supporting Google’s newest operating system, it appears as if the tech giant behind Android is hard at work on Android P. Each new version adds new tweaks and features to the world’s most popular operating system, but what exactly can we expect from Android P?
Android and Apple have been the dominant force in mobile operating systems for quite a few years at this point, and the battle is as heated as ever. While Android sees more use around the world due to the sheer amount of companies using the operating system, Apple has a significant presence in the Western world – and they’re just one company. Each system is constantly trying to one-up the other in order to stay at the top of their game, and we expect Android P to be another step forward for Google – putting it out ahead of Apple in multiple ways.
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With Android P, it appears as if Google is taking the opportunity to do a major overhaul of the system. This update isn’t just a few new features, and there is a good amount expected to be redesigned in order to better serve its users.
Android P is codenamed Android Pistachio Ice Cream internally – following the trend of Google naming their builds after sweet treats. That’s a bit of a mouthful for an operating system, so it’s possible Android P will have a different name upon release – but what the build is called is probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
One change that will bring Android P more in line with the capabilities of iOS is a change to focus more on the functionalities of Google Assistant. While Apple’s Siri was the technology that popularized voice-activated mobile assistants, there are other major players on the market in 2018. With Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and even Samsung’s Bixby, there are a number of technology companies with the resources to develop a virtual intelligence that anticipates your whims and responds to your commands. What exactly tighter integration will mean as far as the redesign in Android P means remains to be seen, but we may see Google Assistant start to edge out Siri when it comes to utility.
Siri may still reign supreme just due to the familiarity many users have with the original digital assistant, but Google is innovating in areas where Apple has started to fall behind. Apple has made a name for themselves in the technology industry for excellent design and products that interface seamlessly with one another, and one of the main ways they’ve accomplished this is through having a locked-down ecosystem. They recently allowed select third-party apps to make use of Siri, but Android remains the more open operating system by far. If Google Assistant functionality is expanded to work with a ton of new apps, Android users may come out on top when it comes to the utility of virtual assistants.
Another major change coming with Android P is added support for Apple’s signature “Notch” that is present in the iPhone X. As a direct response to the massive success the company saw with their innovative FaceID, Google is taking a step forward and implementing new features in their operating system that will allow Android manufacturers to do the same with Android as Apple is doing with iOS.
While Apple is the main name in the game when it comes to this sort of design, there’s actually already an Android phone on the market – the Essential Phone – that features a similarly inspired notch. While Google may see this sort of feature as a focal point over the next few years – as evidenced by the direction they’re taking with Android P – it remains to be seen how many companies will actually take advantage of the support we’re seeing for the Notch. Samsung had actually made a commercial making fun of Apple’s new feature, so it would definitely be interesting to see the company implement something similar. With that said, Samsung is far from the only name in the game when it comes to high-end devices, so maybe we’ll see a Pixel 3 with its own version of the Notch.
As phones continue to get more advanced and add more and more intelligent features, one point of concern for many users is security. With devices that are constantly connected to either a mobile network or the internet, there’s a real concern that allowing apps to utilize microphones or cameras may result in these apps continuing to collect data from unwitting users. The Android P update actually works to address these concerns, by disallowing applications from continuing to receive data from the microphone or camera when the app is closed. If an app tries to use your camera without your knowledge, it will shut down and send an error. Those apps trying to collect audio will simply receive blank sound until the application is opened. Perhaps this change will help us avoid creepy situations like Facebook allegedly using targeted advertisements for products that you were discussing in a verbal conversation.
More information is yet to come regarding the Android P update, but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic release. With updates to Google Assistant, support for the Notch, and new security features, Android may start to establish itself as the superior operating system when it comes to features and utility.