Google Begins to Roll Out Android Pie, First to Pixel Phones

Google is beginning to distribute its successor to Android Oreo: Android Pie, which has been known up until now as Android P. The company pushed the source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and is updating Android 9.0 Pie to its Pixel phones. During the beta test, Android P was available on an array of phones, including the Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and Essential PH‑1. It is not, however, available to consumers with Nexus or other devices.

VentureBeat reports that Google said the above phones “as well as all qualifying Android One devices,” will get the Android Pie update “by end of this fall.” It also announced that it’s working with “a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.”

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Android Pie, said Google, comes with a “heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler, and more tailored to you.” New features include “built-in support for display cutouts (read: notches), a tweaked Quick Settings panel, a notification drawer with rounded corners, messages in notifications when replying inline, smart replies in notifications, a consistent UI for fingerprint authentication, and privacy enhancements to limit what apps can do in the background.”

Also on board Android Pie are “Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness features (courtesy of Google DeepMind), App Actions for predicting what the user will do next, App Slices for surfacing an app’s user interface inside the Google app’s search results and inside Google Assistant, a BiometricPrompt API for a system-managed dialog to prompt the user for any supported type of biometric authentication, multi-camera APIs that let you access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras,” and 157 new emoji.

Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness use AI to, respectively, “learn the apps you use most and prioritize battery for them,” and “automatically adjust the brightness of your screen based on your preferences and environment.” App Actions predicts what the user will do next based on context. App Slices, coming in the fall, “shows relevant information from your favorite apps when you need it.”

Also coming this fall is Android Pie’s Digital Wellbeing features, which “include a new Dashboard that shows you how you’re spending time on your device; an App Timer that lets you set time limits on apps and grays out the icon on your home screen when the time is up; a new Do Not Disturb mode that silences all the visual interruptions that pop up on your screen; and Wind Down, which switches on Night Light and Do Not Disturb and fades the screen to grayscale before bedtime.” Pixel phone users can already try this feature out in beta. Android Pie also “introduces a new system navigation featuring a single home button (‘borrowed’ from Apple’s iPhone X).”

Security features include “Android Protected Confirmation, StrongBox as a new KeyStore type, built-in support for DNS over TLS, Network Security Configuration that blocks all cleartext traffic by default, and expanded use of compiler-level mitigations, as well as restricted access to microphone, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from idle apps.”