Released one month before the Pixel 3?
Last night I read the news that Google had announced that P is for Pie. Not really reading into it too much at first I shortly realized that Android 9.0 was also released for the Pixel-lineup.
In times like these I wish I owned a Pixel phone.
Now with huge admiration from my part, a small and lesser known company made an announcement that should be counted as historical in the Android sphere. Essential, manufacturer of the Essential Ph-1 (Phone) released Android 9.0 Pie for their single device only a few hours after the official Google release. The Essential Phone have been part of the Android P Beta program and the company has done a great job in getting the beta releases out within a day of Googles release, which they continued to do here.
Google also announced that the other companies taking part in the Beta Program are expected to release Android P before the end of this fall, along with Android One devices.
Android 9.0 Pie - Simplified
Google seems hell-bent on making Android Phones simpler to use. Not just creating an interface in which it is easy to find what you are looking for, but one that knows it before-hand.
There are also the new Navigation Gestures that are set to replace the tried and tested Navigation Buttons, eventually. Looking at the official Gif's from Google the animations seem to be way more refined than what I experienced using the Beta on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s.
The focus on well-being is also proclaimed with the new Dashboard, allowing you to not only see how much time you spend in each app and what you use your phone for, but to limit access to apps based on usage in time. This feature is however currently in Beta, only for Pixel-devices.
Ambient Display have gotten a lot of criticism lately, and while I never had a real problem with it myself I have seen the frustration across Android devices. With Pie, Google hopes to use machine learning to not only adjust the brightness but also learn how you adjust it in different scenarios trying to mimic that.
Ambient Battery: It is not just your brightness-preferences that Google record. Machine learning will also be used for battery optimization trying to learn which apps you use the most and at what times, allocating resources to these apps over the lesser-used ones.
Slices: Simplicity, as I said, is the name of the game. Apps will be able to create these slices and searching in the Google Search bar could give you access to functions previously requiring you to open the app. Spotify could, for example, give you access to your Discover Weekly playlist right from the search-bar.
It wouldn't be a huge software-update without some design changes and Pie aims to further refine the Material Design language that Google knows and loves. Changes include, but are not limited to, the Notification menu and Quick-settings, System Settings and the recent Apps view. Round is the name of the game, and following Googles recent move to make corners a thing of the past most design elements are now rounded, like a "Squircle".
I'll be honest. Software updates usually excite me even when they are small. Android-version Updates are like Christmas in August at this point.
I look forward to the refined design of Android P a lot, but I still have this creeping excitement that several Android developers finally will live up to a respectable release-table. That is what excites me most this year. And to tell you the truth the Dashboard thing scares me as I knowingly use my phone way too much.
OnePlus have done a pretty good job at updating the Android P betas for the 6. Not just adopting to Googles releases, but actually adding a preview of the update running Oxygen OS. When you look at Essential and their Ph-1 release it is hard not to criticize the use of manufacturer-skins these days. Releasing the update within the same month would have been great, releasing it within 24 hours is as close to unreal as you get.
So a huge Shout-out to Essential. If you would have released the Ph-1 in Sweden or made it easier to import I would have purchased the device months ago. Please don't give up.
That is all for this update. Are you still excited for Android Updates, or are they a smaller priority to you?