Google has released the first developer preview for Android P.

Just like in previous years, Android P doesn’t have a version number or a name just yet. Some are predicting that the final name for Android P could be Pie, Popsicle, Pop-Tart, we don’t know until closer to the final release.

Now, let’s get into the details of the Android P developer preview.

The preview images are available now for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL and Android Emulator. Google says the preview images are strictly development images and can be very buggy and unstable and as of right now, aren’t suitable for daily use.

This initial release intended for developers only and can only be put on support devices via manual download and flash. In the next couple of months, Google will roll out Android P as a beta through the Android Beta program.

The first new feature in Android P is Display cutout support (notched displays), this means that it’ll be easier for developers to optimize their app’s to either show fullscreen content around the notch and keep content away from the status bar and notch.

Android P also brings a Multi-camera API, so now devices with two or more physical cameras can create innovative features such as seamless zoom, bokeh and stereo vision. The new API can call a logical or fused camera stream that can automatically switch between two or more cameras.

Better messaging notifications is another new feature of Android P, so then notifications for messaging apps can natively show images, sticker and full conversations with contact names and suggest smart replies.

Indoor positioning allows support for the IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol (WiFi RTT) which an allow apps to measure the distance to an access point and by triangulation, as well as calculate a device’s position indoors with an accuracy of 1 to 2 meters. This can allow for in-building navigation, fine-grained location services, and location-based information.

In Android P, there is a new Open Mobile API for NFC Payments, so then apps will be able to access secure elements and enable smart card payments.

Data cost and JobScheduler in Android P allows for the use of network status signals coming from your carrier and JobScheduler can check an app’s pending task and manage it.

ImageDecoder is a replacement for BitmapFactory which should provide better decoding, scaling, post-processing, and support for animated images.

Android P also brings stuff like a new Neural Networks API 1.1, HDR VP9 video support, HEIF image encoding, improvements to autofill, fingerprint authentication, ART performance, Kotlin optimization and power efficiency.

Some of the visual changes in Android P is that clock in the status bar moves to the left side for devices with a notch. The settings menu in Android P got a touch of colour.

The quick settings menu in Android P, now scrolls vertically, instead of horizontal pagination.

The power menu now has a screenshot button and the volume slider is now on the right side.

Android P also has a native Markup option for when taking screenshots, similar to in iOS 11.

One thing to note that some features, especially some of the visual changes can and will change before the final release which is set to release in Q3 2018.

The release schedule is as follows:

  • Preview 1 (initial release, alpha) – March
  • Preview 2 (incremental update, beta) – May
  • Preview 3 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta) – June
  • Preview 4 (release candidate for testing) – late June/early July
  • Preview 5 (release candidate for final testing) – July/August

If you want to learn more about specific Android P features, then you can take a look at Android Police’s Android P feature spotlight articles.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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