Android P first developer preview released by Google — here are the first features

Google is expected to take the wraps off Android P at its upcoming I/O 2018 Developer Conference in May, with the first Developer Preview now available to download. Here’s everything we’ve heard about the next flavour of Android to date.

Android P developer preview is here

Google has launched the first developer preview of Android P, this year’s major update for its mobile operating system. Developers can download the as-yet-unnamed update from today, which will allow them to begin preparing their apps for the update which will arrive later this year.

Google isn’t announcing any of the consumer-facing features today, but Android P will support display cutouts (i.e. the notch). That’ll be music to the ears of fans who enjoy the iPhone X design feature currently being emulated by Android manufacturers.

On the Android developer blog, Google explains: “Android P offers support for the latest edge-to-edge screens with display cutout for camera and speaker. The new DisplayCutout class lets you find out the location and shape of the non-functional areas where content shouldn’t be displayed.”

 

Google is adding a new Multi-Camera API, which will allow third-party developers to make more use of dual cameras on the front or rear of the devices.

The company explains: “You can now access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. The API also lets you call a logical or fused camera stream that automatically switches between two or more cameras.”

Google is also tweaking notification improvements from the previous two versions. In Android P messages will now be displayed within notifications, while quick replies will also be available. Android P also simplifies notification channel settings introduced in Android O.

Android P is also adding built-in support for the High Dynamic Range (HDR) VP9 Profile 2, which means developers can delivery HDR-enabled movies from YouTube and Play Movies, etc..

Google is also adding support for the IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol, which means developers will be able to add indoor positioning skills to their apps, which are accurate to 1-2 metres.

Google adds: “With this accuracy, you can build new experiences like in-building navigation, fine-grained location-based services such as disambiguated voice control (for example, “Turn on this light”), and location-based information (such as “Are there special offers for this product?”).”

Android Police is among those digging into the developer preview and they’ve spotted a neat new screenshot option within the power button menu. The site says the old power+volume combination still works too.

Image credit: Android Police

Android P: What will it be called?

Big G is referring to Android P as Pistachio Ice Cream, according to recent reports. Now that isn’t a bad moniker, but it’s nothing more than an internal codename the firm is using for correspondence pertaining to the next major version of Android – our money’s on either Parfait, Pecan Pie or Popsicle for the final consumer build.

Or Pancake, Panna Cotta, Pavlova, Peanut Brittle, Peanut Butter, Peda, Peppermint, Pie, Pineapple, Pumpkin Pie, Popover, Pop-Tart, Praline, Pandoro or Poached Pear.

The (sweet, sweet) possibilities are endless.

Android P: What other new features will it bring to the table?

Android P is rumoured to bundle a slew of exciting new features, including support for next-generation smartphones with a foldable screen like the Galaxy X, as well as those with a notch à la Essential Phone. It’s also said to be more reliant on Google Assistant, using AI to recommend services based on usage patterns.

“A key goal of this year’s update to the Google mobile operating system is to persuade more iPhone users to switch to Android devices by improving the look of the software.”

Related: Galaxy X

That’s not all, though. Digital outlet Neowin caught wind of chatter claiming that Android P will let users control their computer using their smartphone or tablet; there will be a toggle built in that will turn the screen into a mouse or keyboard – or both – when it’s connected to a PC via Bluetooth.

Android P: When will it be released?

Reliable tipster Evan Blass took to Twitter to note that the first Developer Preview of Android P is being targetted for a mid-March release, meaning we can expect the update to arrive for select smartphones anytime from March 12 through March 25 – less than two months before Google’s I/O 2018 Developer Conference.

That, for those unaware, is where the firm is expected to announce the final version of Android P, in addition to discussing the future of Google Assistant and taking the wraps off a new DayDream View headset. The consumer build of Android P is expected to roll out after May 10, when the event draws to a close.

Android P: Who can download it?

The first developer preview for Android P only supports Pixel phones. That means the Nexus 5X and 6P, as well as the Pixel C tablet will not be supported. Google confirmed to ArsTechnica that this won’t change when the software is released publicly.

What do you think Android P will be called? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.