Android 9 Pie is the name given by Google to it’s latest OS version Android. This version packs in a lot of new features with a fresh new material look. This version 9 is more than an update, it is an Upgrade.
Google has used DeepMind AI technology in this new OS. Almost all new features use AI. Let’s see, what this new OS offers.
UI or “look and feel”
Yes, Google has introduced Gesture navigation this time. Traditional three buttons of home, back, and recent app button have been reimagined and instead, Gesture does the work.
Although Gestures do not default, you have to activate it. To try, go to Settings > System > Gestures and toggle the “Swipe up on Home button”.
The home button is now a pill type in shape. The back button appears only when needed, but recent or overview button is gone.
Now, tap it to go home, flick it up to see recently used apps, swipe upwards twice or pull it up further to get to the app drawer, or hold it down to activate Google Assistant.
One small, yet useful change lets you rotate screen only when you want. When rotation lock is enabled; when you rotate your device in the landscape a visual small button appears. This temporary rotate the screen. I have found this very useful on my device especially when I am lying down on the bed.
Time has been shifted on the left side of screen considering growing popularity of the “notch” in new devices.
Apple users have a magnifying glass on text selection in iOS. Now, this feature is also incorporated into Android.
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The volume slider has moved to the right side near the volume rocker. Pressing the volume keys will now adjust the media volume. The ringer can be turned on and off through a software toggle button when you adjust the volume.
Users who like theme have a reason to rejoice. This time Android has an official Dark mode.
Mainly in settings, you get an option of Device Theme. there are three options, 1) Automatic (based on wallpaper colour accent), 2) Light and 3) Dark. Believe me, Dark mode looks good and on those devices with AMOLED screen, it will be Stunning.
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Improved Screenshot tool
Holding both the power button and volume button on Android phones has been a way to take screenshots. Now, to take a screenshot press and hold the power button, then tap Screenshot. In fact, both the way works for a screenshot.
There is a screenshot edit tool in notifications as soon as you take a screenshot.
The adaptive battery is one of the major new features of Android Pie. Adaptive Battery learns an individual’s usage patterns and directs the power to only the apps you need at the time you need them.
This feature promises to increase the battery to around 20% as per the feedback of users.
Screen brightness now Auto adjust according to Time and surrounding using AI. Google says that this feature has reduced manually adjusting brightness to up to 50%.
This time Google has focused on privacy and Apps in the background are restricted to use location, camera, microphone, and network. Any rogue app or malware app will not leak your info or data while running in the background.
There is a new feature when enabled, it lets you disable the fingerprint sensor or trusted voice unlock (reverting to your backup unlock methods such as a PIN or pattern). Go to Settings > Security and Location > Lock Screen Preferences and toggle the Show lockdown option.
We use our smartphones too much. Google’s Android Pie update includes a ‘Digital Wellbeing’ dashboard to monitor how long you’ve been using your phone and specific apps.
This tool is a collection of features kept together for a good experience.
The dashboard gives you a convenient and easy to parse overview of your phone use.
From the Dashboard, we can find out which App we use frequently. App Timers in Dashboard will help set limits on particular App.
In-App Timers we can set time for App Usage. Once it is done, when you are warned before the limit. When limit crosses there is no way you can use that App except you disable the App Timer. IMO App Timers are to be used for those Social Apps as we spend endless time in feeds or on timeline.
Wind Down is another feature in Digital Wellbeing. It changes the display to monochrome (in Black & White) when enabled. This will prevent the phone usage after some time.
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This Digital Wellbeing is a tool that limits our phone usage for our wellbeing. There is also included notifications control and Do Not Disturb to better customize your phone usage. In all, Digital Wellbeing is a properly managed and well-executed feature for phone users.
One more thing!
Now, Android Pie adds support for the IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol. If location sharing is activated, Android 9 can measure distances to certain Wi-Fi points and using data from three points can pinpoint your location to around one meter of accuracy. This means that indoor mapping is possible. So as Google hinted there will be apps using these feature in nearby time.