Android P brings AI-powered convenience and a simplified interface

Today at Google I/O 2018, the company revealed the latest version of Android. There's no fancy dessert-based name for it yet, so Google is simply calling it Android P. Like the rest of Google's announcements today, the new version of Android has a heavy emphasis on making use of deep learning—both in Google's datacenters and in your phone.

Probably the most exciting new feature coming in Android P is one that Google calls Adaptive Battery. Essentially, along with its sibling Deepmind (in Google's parent company Alphabet), the company used deep learning to formulate an algorithm that will enable Android devices to more accurately assign tasks to the slower or faster cores inside their SoCs. Along similar lines, Google says Adaptive Brightness will take into account your tendencies when adjusting brightness to more reliably set it at a level you prefer throughout the day and across different environments.

App Actions can pop up over other apps.

App Actions is an automatic feature that once again makes use of AI to accurately predict your next action. The company gives the example of a user plugging in headphones and being greeted by a prompt to resume a Spotify playlist. The company says that actions will show up “throughout Android” and are easy for developers to implement. Slices is a similar idea in principle, but instead of presenting a simple action, the Slices API allows an app to bring up a part of itself inside another app. For example, when searching for Lyft, you might see a Slice that shows you the price and travel time for trips you commonly make. You could then tap the Slice to quickly order the ride without having to open the Lyft app separately.

Along with integrating AI- and deep learning-powered features, Google says it put a “special emphasis on simplicity” in Android P. The task switcher button is gone, replaced with a new Overview feature that you access by swiping up from the home button. The company says that you can now select text and perform actions like copying and pasting directly in Overview mode. Android P also includes a new way to take screenshots and revises the Quick Settings drawer, volume controls, and notification management.

Google talked a fair bit at I/O about “digital wellbeing,” or in other words, curtailing the influence of your phone on moments of your life when it can become a nuisance. As pertains to Android P, that translates to a few new features: Dashboard, App Timer, and Wind Down. The Dashboard feature will allow you to see detailed metrics about your app usage, screen unlocks, and number of notifications. The App Timer feature lets you limit your usage of any particular app, and the Wind Down feature will switch on Night Light, put the screen in grayscale mode, and set the phone to Do Not Disturb at your chosen bedtime. Android P can also enable Do Not Disturb anytime you set the phone face-down.

As usual with new Android releases, it may be a bit before you get the latest version. However, there's an Android P Beta available today to users of the Google Pixel phones, Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and Essential PH‑1. The rest of us will have to wait until our manufacturer or carrier get the update out to handsets.

Comments closed
    • Wilko
    • 2 years ago

    And here I am still waiting for Android O to finish rolling out for my S7. I think they said that will be the last major update the S7 generation will get too.

      • sweatshopking
      • 2 years ago

      It is, and it has started rollout in the UK. Should be global in next two months.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Most likely. N was the last version that went out for any S6 devices.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Next step is Assistant on the other end, and soon phone calls will just be AI talking to itself at hyperspeed until it gains sentience

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKVppdt_-B4&feature=youtu.be[/url<]

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 2 years ago

    No task switcher button, you have to swipe up from the home button for a replacement? That sucks. I hate having to swipe things when you could just have a button.

      • tsk
      • 2 years ago

      Gestures are optional in the beta atm, let’s hope it stays that way.

        • Ethyriel
        • 2 years ago

        I don’t get it, to be honest. If they wanted that space for a different button than the task switcher, great. But Now there’s just an empty space to the right. Maybe they’ll get rid of the left button next, make back a swipe left.

        I had to disable it this morning. Opening the task switcher is just too buggy when you have an app open, it’s much more reliable when you’re on the home screen.

      • rechicero
      • 2 years ago

      And, more important: needing to know! I really hate when they make features into Easter Eggs for the sake of “simplicity”. 90% of ppl will think there is no way to switch without closing 🙁

      The design guru that started the “lean and clean” interface craze should rot in Hell.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        [quote<] make features into Easter Eggs[/quote<] Great analogy. That's exactly what they're doing.

        • Wirko
        • 2 years ago

        All phones and tablets come with a comprehensive printed manual with index, table of contents and everything, why didn’t you read it?

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 2 years ago

    Do not want. I can’t think 5 taps ahead if the buttons move on my. Just like webpages that load and then finish loading the ads/images. I can’t tell you how many times I have to back up and wait for the page to fully load before hitting the link I wanted.

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      It’s the modern version of Windows (and maybe OSX) poppuping up ‘modial’ windows in front of another window and then not allowing you to interact with the parent window.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      The images button moving around on google.com is the most infuriating thing!

    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    Oh, joy, random crap popping up in front of what I’m actively doing. Can’t wait.

      • DavidC1
      • 2 years ago

      I can mostly stand the “predictive” word suggestion application auto-correcting the word I’m really trying to type.

      But doing it at the application level is next generation annoyance.

      Can’t wait to see funny videos on youtube about users opening up a totally inappropriate application due to AI believing that’s what you’ll use next.

    • uni-mitation
    • 2 years ago

    This AI-watching and learning of your habits, and proclivities goes really nicely with that eye-tracking telescreen. Big Brother’s job would have been made easier for sure.

    Of course all of this is made under the cover of improving the user-experience but it will no doubt be very profitable data & access for the highest advertising dollars. No such thing as a free lunch.

    uni-mitation

    • tsk
    • 2 years ago

    Now my AI can talk to your AI and humans are no longer part of the equation.

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Finally!

      • uni-mitation
      • 2 years ago

      “Siri, tell Brad’s AI that I am breaking up with him, and that…….

      “We are never never never getting back togeeeeeeeettheer!

      uni-mitation

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    Maybe you’re planning another topic on this, but the Google Lens stuff was really quite awesome.

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