Here’s Everything New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel/XL and Pixel 2/XL

Here’s Everything New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel/XL and Pixel 2/XL

Here’s Everything New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel/XL and Pixel 2/XL

Google dropped a bombshell on us today—the first Android P Developer Preview. Widely expected to release this month, the first Android 9.0 builds are now available for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL. Unfortunately, support has been dropped for the Google Pixel C, Google Nexus 5X, and Google Nexus 6P. Android P Developer Preview 1 brings a plethora of changes to the mix, and in this article we’ll be diving in to list most of what we’ve found on the surface level.


What’s New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 series

Summary

Here’s a summary of all of the changes below in bullet point format. We recommend you take a cursory glance at this, but scroll down to see screenshots/videos and a description of each new change.

  • User Interface changes in Android P Developer Preview 1
    • New UI for settings/quick settings
    • New notification style for messages
    • New transition/notification expansion animations
    • Updated Pixel Launcher with voice search icon and more prominent dock
    • Battery saver no longer shows orange warning
    • Always on display shows battery info and centers notifications
    • New Easter Egg.
    • About phone screen now shows additional info in a popup window.
  • Quality of Life changes in Android P Developer Preview 1
    • Built-in screenshot editor.
    • Screenshot button in power menu
    • Text selection zoom (like iOS)
    • Battery saver can now be scheduled.
    • Do Not Disturb has been simplified down to a single mode
    • Volume buttons now control media volume by default
    • Adaptive Brightness is now much more useful as it actually changes the base brightness level
    • Hotspot can be turned off automatically if no devices are connected
    • Rotation can be locked to landscape mode
    • Multi-Bluetooth HFP/A2DP support
    • Individual Wi-Fi networks can now be set to metered/unmetered
    • Private DNS (DNS-over-TLS)
    • Vibration controls in Accessibility Settings
    • Accessibility option to disable all animations
    • SysTrace tool is now built-in
    • Recently posted notifications are now shown in notification settings

UI Changes

Material Design 2?

Although it doesn’t have a name yet (we strongly believe it will be called Material Design 2), Android’s user interface has received a fresh coat of paint. The most notable areas where Android P has made changes are to the quick settings tiles (now vertically paginated rather than horizontally) and to the settings pages, but there are also more minor changes to the status bar that we should take note of.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the icons in settings all have distinct colors now. In comparison, the settings icons in Android Oreo were a dull, muted gray color. The quick settings toggles, meanwhile, are all now rounded and are blue when enabled. Unfortunately, we’ve lost the ability to expand quick settings tiles within the notification shade.

If you look at the status bar, it looks like the clock has been shifted to the left. This may be in preparation for more devices with a display notch (…maybe the Google Pixel 3?), but I like the idea as it makes the status bar icons/text seem more evenly distributed.

(Oh, and if you’ll notice, Night Light now tells you when it will turn on in its quick settings tile).

New Notification Style for Messages

This one may be a bit controversial. As you can see in the screenshots above, notifications have a new style. Full conversations can now be shown as can stickers and images. Smart replies are also there, similar to what the Reply app offers.

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

When you long-press on a notification, the buttons now show “stop notifications” or “keep showing.” A quick way to decide if you want notifications from an app without diving into settings.

New Transition Animations

This one is big, and almost immediately noticeable. There are new animations for transitioning between activities, and new animations for opening an activity from the notifications. We’ve captured them on video so you can see what they look like.

Media and USB Dialog Changes

A few more areas have gotten redesigned. The Bluetooth media output list can now show up as a popup when you press on the arrow key in the volume panel, and speaking of which, the volume panel now shows up on the side of the screen rather than up top! The USB settings page has also gotten a quick redesign.

Pixel Launcher

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

A very subtle change in the Pixel Launcher (which has already been ported to other devices) is that the search bar now has a microphone icon so you can start a voice search. The background is now also more prominent, so it’s clearer where the dock begins and the rest of the launcher ends.

Battery Saver No Longer Shows Orange Warning Bar

Yes! One of the biggest visual annoyances is now gone. Previously if you enabled Battery Saver mode, it would enable an ugly orange overlay on top of the navigation and status bar. This is no longer the case in Android P.

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 Always on Display Now Shows Battery Info, Adds Divider Between Time/Notifications

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the first Google phones to have an always on display feature. In Android Oreo, the feature only shows you the current time, date, whether an alarm is set, and icons from current notifications. It also supported the phone’s “Now Playing” feature which added the title of the currently playing background song. At the very, very bottom, now Android P also adds information about the device’s charging state/battery life. Furthermore, there’s a new divider in between the time and notification information. Finally, the notifications themselves are centered.

 

Android P Easter Egg and New About Phone Behavior

Well, there’s a new Easter Egg. It’s definitely not the final thing, as the official name for P has not yet been confirmed. Something more interesting is the new behavior for the About Phone page. Information is now shown in a popup window when you tap on certain elements.


Quality of Life Improvements

Screenshot Editor

This is something that Android has sorely needed for quite some time. Before, if you wanted to edit a screenshot on a Google phone, you would have to install a third-party screenshot editing app. Now, taking a screenshot shows a new “Edit” button which opens up a basic screenshot editor. (It should be noted that most device makers have had such a feature for awhile now).

Screenshot in Power Menu

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

No longer will you have to fumble around with key combinations to take a screenshot. It’s right there in the power menu!

Text Selection Zoom

When you use the text selector to move back and forth through text, it will now zoom in to better show the text you are scrolling through. Here’s a quick video:

Scheduled Battery Saver

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

By default, Android Oreo only allows you to schedule battery saver mode at 5 and 15% of remaining battery. Android P expands on that by giving you a slider to choose a precise battery level you want battery saver to activate on!

Do Not Disturb Simplification

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

The Do Not Disturb quick settings toggle now shows the duration activity, which is nice for you to quickly modify its state. They’ve gotten rid of the 3 modes, total silence, alarms only, and priority only, and instead there’s only a single mode that you can customize in settings.

Media Volume By Default

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

Rejoice! When you press the volume keys, media volume is now the default volume stream that is controlled! No more need to remap keys or use any funky workarounds! As for call volume, it is now separate, and only active when you’re in a call.

Adaptive Brightness Now Actually Changes the Base Brightness

Google’s Adaptive Brightness now appears to change the brightness percentage now, making it behave more like the previous Automatic Brightness feature. This means you won’t have to manually change the brightness when you go outside to even see the display!

Turn Off Hotspot Automatically if No Devices are Connected

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

This will be a welcome addition to the hotspot feature. You can now have hotspot automatically turn itself off if there are no devices currently connected. This will ensure you don’t drain your device’s battery when hotspot isn’t actively being used.

Thanks Jay Kapoor.

Rotation can now be Locked to Landscape Mode

This change is very, very subtle and easy to miss. I missed it initially, but one of our readers tipped us that if you disable “Auto-rotate” and try to flip the screen, a new navigation bar button will be shown which changes the orientation to landscape and locks it there. Previously, rotation lock would only lock the device to portrait mode. Here’s a quick video:

Thanks Jay Kapoor.

Multi-Bluetooth HFP/A2DP Support

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

A new developer option has been added which allows your device to connect to up to 5 Bluetooth Hands-Free or A2DP devices. This does not allow you to stream to multiple devices at the same time, but it will make switching between active Bluetooth connections much more seamless as you won’t have to wait for the disconnection/connection process each time.

Set Wi-Fi Network as Metered/Unmetered

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network that is metered (AKA there’s a data limit), then you have to be careful with how much you download or upload. Android can automatically detect when a network is metered, but in those rare cases where it doesn’t, you can now manually specify a network as metered.

Private DNS (DNS-Over-TLS)

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

If you have a DNS that supports TLS, meaning the service won’t record the domains that you visit, then there’s a new setting you can change to enable a private DNS provider hostname.

Vibration Controls

Within Accessibility Settings there’s a new vibration control setting. This allows you to set whether or not you want vibrations on or off for ring & notifications, or for touch. You can also choose a low, medium, or high duration vibration.

Quickly Disable Animations

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

Also within Accessibility Settings is a setting that turns off all animations. We’re not sure how useful this will be since most of us know how to do so from Developer Options, but hey it’s there if you want a quick universal toggle.

SysTrace Tool

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

This one should interest only developers, but Google now offers a way to easily capture SysTrace from the device. No need to hook up your phone anymore. This will allow you to collect traces that you can then analyze later. This comes in the form of a new quick setting tile.

Last Shown Notifications

Android has always kept a record of notifications (in the notification log), but it has been hidden from users for years. In the notification settings, Android P will at least show a history of a handful of notifications, but it won’t show you the content. Instead, the aim is to have a brief record so you can remove access from a nasty notification that you accidentally dismissed.

Feature Flags to Test In-Development Settings

Android P Developer Preview 1, Android 9.0, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL

This might disappear in a subsequent release, but in developer settings you can toggle a few flags much like Google Chrome’s feature flags. Currently it’s not very useful, but this may include more in-development settings in the future.


The new release of Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL is massive. We’re doing our best to find everything we can, but it’s possible we might miss something. Please, if you install the update and notice something new that we haven’t already found, send us a tip and you could get a free month of XDA Ad-Free if we write an article based on your tip!

Love the new look of Android P? Here’s how you can get it on any Android phone right now

The idea that Google would release the first developer preview of its next-generation mobile operating system on Pi Day (March 14 — or 3/14) was a nice one. After all, rumors suggest that Android P could end up launching as “Android Pie,” so serving up the first developer build on Pi Day would’ve been a very Googly thing to do — whether the move was a hint at the new version’s release name or just some fun trolling. Instead, Google decided to surprise everyone with an unexpected Android P release on Wednesday, and Android fans spent the rest of the day checking out all of the new features baked into Google’s newest OS.

While there will likely be several additional new features added to Android P before it’s released to the public this fall, it seems clear that Android P will not be a massive update. As a matter of fact, many of the new features Google is highlighting in Android P are, dare we say, a bit boring. 2018 may turn out to be a year of refinement for both of the world’s top mobile platforms though, because Apple is also rumored to be shifting focus in iOS 12 away from exciting new features so that it can work on improving stability and performance.

Even still, there are definitely some great new additions in Android P, and one of them can be yours right now.

Even if you have a Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone that’s able to run Google’s first Android P Developer Preview, we strongly suggest that you fight temptation. It’s natural for Android enthusiasts to want to check out Google’s latest and greatest Android features as soon as possible, but the first build of Android P is nowhere near being ready for public consumption. It’s best suited to developer devices, not the phone you carry with you all the time.

Even if you fight the urge to update your Pixel phone — or if you have some other Android phone that isn’t even compatible with the Android P Developer Preview — there’s still a way that you can get a taste of Android P.

Everyone seems to love the new look of Android P’s home screens, which have gotten a terrific refresh in Android P. The top of the screen is largely unchanged, but the dock is completely different. The new look is great, but far more important is the fact that it puts the Google search bar right at the bottom of the screen where users can easily access it. Here’s a screenshot from Android news blog Droid Life:

We love it, but not quite enough to install an incomplete, potentially buggy version of Android P. Luckily we don’t have to. Droid Life has managed to get its hands on the official Android P launcher, which is an updated version of the Pixel Launcher found in Android Oreo. Want to check out the awesome new launcher on your own Android phone? You can download it right here

5 Reasons To Buy Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Over The Apple iPhone X

Galaxy-s9-and-galaxy-s9+

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Photo credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

The launch of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S9 means it’s time to ask the only question that matters – is it worth your money?

Or, more specifically, is it worth your money instead of the iPhone X? Don’t forget to check out my breakdowns and comparisons for most recent flagship smartphones.

It’s jacked

Who knew something as simple as the headphone jack would become such a contentious battleground for smartphone makers? With the other major Android phone – Google’s Pixel 2 – following Apple’s lead by removing the headphone jack, Samsung has smartly kept the 3.5mm connection.

Of the three big smartphone makers – Apple, Google and Samsung, only the latter has kept this technology, which is good marketing for the Korean company. Also, as someone who has tested various devices and lived with no headphone jack for the last year – this is a good consumer move.

Forget arguments about audio quality and design principles, having the headphone jack is better than not having it in purely practical terms – especially if you don’t want to venture into the murky world of wireless headphones yet.

Fingerprint scanner

Another feature that has disappeared – or is at least disappearing – from the Apple line of smartphones. Whilst Apple paves a new biometric path, Samsung revisits familiar ground by keeping its fingerprint scanner with a small location improvement.

Perhaps “location improvement” is a bit unfair, the much-maligned slightly-off-center reader was always an odd choice. It almost perfectly reflected the Galaxy’s image as a left-of-center choice of smartphone against the ever-popular iPhone.

But with a lower, central position, it’s easier to reach for small hands, more intuitive and gives users a familiar option to log-in to their device or authorize mobile payments. And, whilst Samsung is pushing its own biometric security tech “Intelligent Scan”, the Galaxy maker is smart enough not to force it upon its users as the only unlocking option….yet.

Super, super slow motion

Samsung’s new snapper has some impressive specs and features, more on that below – but one feature that stands out is the 960 fps slow motion. Check out my colleague Ian Morris’ hands-on below to see how good it is in action.

This isn’t exactly breaking new ground, Sony had similar slow-motion tech at a higher resolution (1080p) in the XZ Premium, but it’s still excellent on the S9 and obviously, it’s better than the iPhone X’s 240fps slow motion.

Always listening, desperate to be liked

This is less of a phone specific reason and more of a reason to buy Samsung devices over Apple devices in general. Simply, Samsung listens. Let’s take the S9 for example, Samsung took the criticism of the fingerprint sensor and moved it, it also kept the headphone jack – which is a debate that’s yet to be settled.

Samsung has form here, too. It kept the removable battery in the Galaxy S5 when others were heading over to a locked design, it also brought back expandable storage after removing it in the Galaxy S6. Where Apple forges ahead with new concepts – that may or may not work – and forces it upon iPhone fans, Samsung is so eager to please its entire strategy and roadmap is completely malleable. For consumers, that’s a good trait.

Price

Both the S9 and S9+ are cheaper than the cheapest iPhone X ($719 and $839 Vs. $999). That’s a big saving for an arguably on-par device.

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Jay McGregor is the editor-in-chief of a new documentary publication called Point. He also reports for The Guardian, TechRadar, BBC Radio and others. Follow on YouTube: youtube.com/pointreport

Samsung Galaxy S9: Everything you need to know

Samsung will announce the Galaxy S9 in just a few days. Here’s everything we currently know about the upcoming smartphone.

 

In a few days, Samsung will announce its latest smartphone. It will be the first announcement from the company in 2018 and since Apple unveiled the iPhone X.

In previous years, Samsung has opted to announce its flagship smartphone during Mobile World Congress, or it would host a separate event shortly after. This year, it looks like we will get at least a glimpse of Samsung’s new phone in February, with the potential to have the phone in our hands a few weeks later.

Right now, most of what we know about the upcoming smartphones is from leaks, rumors, and speculation. However, the sources of the various leaks have shown to paint a general picture of what we should expect when Samsung announces a new device.

Here’s everything we currently know about Samsung’s latest smartphone, which will be updated as we continue to learn more — and eventually see — the announced product.

 

WHEN WILL GALAXY S9 BE ANNOUNCED?

At a special Unpacked event in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung will announce the Galaxy S9. The event will be held on Feb. 25 (the day before Mobile World Congress 2018 is set to start) and will be live-streamed on Samsung.com starting at 12pm EST.

The back looks to be the most dramatic change to the overall design, according to images posted by Evan Blass on Twitter (more on that in a minute)

One of the loudest complaints about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 was the placement of the fingerprint reader. In order to make room for the bigger display Samsung now uses, the sensor was moved to the back of the phone. Only, instead of putting the sensor in the middle of the phone, as most of its competitors do, the sensor was placed up high, next to the camera.

With Galaxy S9, however, it appears Samsung is moving the sensor closer to the middle of the back — just underneath the camera.

We first saw a glimpse of the new fingerprint sensor location when the company announced the Galaxy A8 (2018), which was later seemingly confirmed in render leaks from Evan Blass on Twitter.

Facial recognition

Samsung has featured both facial recognition and iris-scanning technology in its phones for a while now, but the technology has been nowhere near as complex as Apple’s Face ID feature on the iPhone X.

With Galaxy S9, rumors suggest the phone will combine facial recognition with iris scanning to improve the feature and add an extra layer of security to the phone.

Cameras

In early January, a photo leaked of what’s reportedly the Galaxy S9’s box on RedditSamMobile saw the photo and was the first to report on it. On the box, of course, are the phone’s specifications.

According to the leak and the report, Galaxy S9 will boast a super slow-mo mode and a super-speed, dual-pixel, 12-megapixel camera with apertures of f1.5 and f2.4.

Currently, there’s some confusion about which model will feature a dual camera, or if both models will have the same exact lens setup. One thing all rumors currently agree on is that the Galaxy S9 Plus will have two rear-facing cameras.

Stereo speakers

That same photo posted on Reddit, as well as a more recent report from ETNews, have each claimed both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will finally gain stereo speakers.

Apple’s iPhone line has had stereo speakers for a few years now, and the additional output makes a huge difference when listening to music or talking over speakerphone.

Predicted specifications

According to The Inquirer, the spec sheet of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus appears to add up to one impressive phone.

  • Display: 5.8-inch or 6.2-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9810 everywhere else
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB (likely region specific)
  • Connectivity: Cat 18 LTE support (1.2Gbps download speeds), wireless charging, FM radio
  • Fingerprint: Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • S9 Rear Camera: 12-megapixel dual pixel camera with OIS (f/1.5, f/2.4)
  • S9 Plus Rear Camera: Vertical dual rear-facing camera
  • Front Camera: 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • AI: Bixby assistant with a dedicated button
  • Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Sound: Stereo speakers
  • Waterproof: IP68 rating

Business features

Last year’s crop of flagship smartphones from Samsung worked with DeX, a dock that turns the phone into a full-fledged computer. This year, rumor has it the company will release a revamped dock, called DeX Pad, that uses the phone’s display as a trackpad.

Software improvements

A more recent report from ETNews claims that Samsung will copy the iPhone X’s Animoji feature and offer “3D Emoji” with the Galaxy S9 duo.

Apple’s Animoji feature uses the front-facing cameras on the iPhone X to animate various emoji characters, such as a dog and a cat.

Also included in the report is the release of Bixby 2.0 on a mobile phone, which jives with what Samsung had previously announced in regards to Bixby 2.0 at CES in January 2018.

Read also: Samsung Gear Sport review: Smartwatch and activity tracker with enterprise-focused functionality

Teaser videos

On Wednesday, PhoneArena spotted a few teaser videos posted on Samsung Mobile Korea’s YouTube channel. The brief videos seem to confirm a super slow-mo camera, an improved low-light camera, and, yes, 3D emoji are indeed ready for the Galaxy S9.

You can watch all three videos herehere, and here.

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