After following the Google I / O 2018 keynote, it immediately leapt to the eye that the new version of Android P has made a huge leap forward compared to the previous ones. Of course, it is normal to expect some changes to the interface year after year. But in this newly released public beta update there seems to be a lot more. What clearly emerges is the policy of Android P against the dependence on the phone and also that of avoiding distractions to those who use it.
Google has revealed some important new features that we will find in the next version of the Android operating system. The new version, known as "Android P", Includes features designed to address the growing concerns about addiction and distraction that the user may incur in using the phone.
For example, a dashboard will show how often, when and how long users use each application on their phone. Furthermore, the time limits for use can be set.
With the help of artificial intelligence, Android P will also observe how a user handles notifications. If the notifications of an app are constantly deleted, Android P recommends turning them off for that app.
The "Do not disturb" mode has been enhanced in Android P. Users will be able to set the mode so that there are no visual signals on a notification display, not even in the notification drawer.
The mode can be activated simply by placing the phone face down on a flat surface. If a phone is set up to separate work from personal apps, it can be configured to disable all apps simultaneously with a single toggle.
In addition, there is a "wind down" function that will bring the phone into "Do not disturb" mode when going to sleep, which can be set by the user.
Android P: against phone dependency
The new features on application dashboards and notifications are aimed at a growing social concern for smartphones: fighting against phone addiction.
"Google is making the product much more user-friendly and directly addresses at least some of the problems associated with smartphone addiction," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle group.
This position of Google contrasts with the position of the Android, iOS competition. Apple is more focused on securing privacy and does not seem to deal with the problem of addiction so aggressively.
It remains to be seen whether users will benefit from these tools against phone addiction. People should worry more about this problem – but, like any addiction, they will probably feel they can deal with it without outside help. The risk that most smartphone users do not use all the features of their phone to their full potential and this could also affect new features.
More wellness with your smartphone
In addition to the new "digital wellness" features, Android P will provide a new way to navigate phones.
This is the familiar Home button, but with modified features. With the new gestures, a user scrolls up to get an overview of the open apps and scroll further up to access the taskbar.
The Back button still there, but only appears within the app.
Google added screenshots editing in Android P, allowing users to take screenshots without having to use another app.
Google also used intelligence in finding apps in Android P. When a search is performed, the things that can be done with an app are displayed along with its icon. So, if you are looking for an app to share a trip, the results could bring up a button to ask for a ride.
The Android P team has collaborated with DeepMind on a new Adaptive Battery function that optimizes the use of the apps.
Adaptive Battery uses automatic learning to give priority to access to system resources for apps that interest the user. Apps are run in groups with different restrictions using four new "app standby buckets" ranging from "active" to "rare". Apps will change buckets over time and apps that are not in the "active" bucket will have restrictions.
Android P wants to highlight how Google wants to make the operating system more personal and relevant for individuals, said Brian Blau, director of research at Gartner.
"There are many new features in Android, but they are all focused on how Google users can interact more personally with technology."
With Android P, Google is taking a step forward to use less technology, says Blau.
"They are saying that you do not need technology at all times, in every day of your life," he continued. "Perhaps you need a more effective technology with fewer interactions. With Android P, Google is smoothing out the edges: over time, what you will see an Android that is aimed much more at the individual ".
We are also trying to make the beta version work on as many phones as possible from other companies other than Google, as opposed to what happened in the past, when betas were only run on Nexus or Pixel devices. Third-party phones that already implement the beta of Android P are: Essential Phone, Xperia XZ2 from Sony, Mi Mix 2S from Xiaomi, Nokia 7 Plus, Vivo X21, Oppo R15 Pro and the next OnePlus 6.