Here’s Everything New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel/XL and Pixel 2/XL
Google dropped a bombshell on us today—the first Android P Developer Preview. Widely expected to release this month, the first Android 9.0 builds are now available for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL. Unfortunately, support has been dropped for the Google Pixel C, Google Nexus 5X, and Google Nexus 6P. Android P Developer Preview 1 brings a plethora of changes to the mix, and in this article we’ll be diving in to list most of what we’ve found on the surface level.
What’s New in Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 series
Here’s a summary of all of the changes below in bullet point format. We recommend you take a cursory glance at this, but scroll down to see screenshots/videos and a description of each new change.
- User Interface changes in Android P Developer Preview 1
- New UI for settings/quick settings
- New notification style for messages
- New transition/notification expansion animations
- Updated Pixel Launcher with voice search icon and more prominent dock
- Battery saver no longer shows orange warning
- Always on display shows battery info and centers notifications
- New Easter Egg.
- About phone screen now shows additional info in a popup window.
- Quality of Life changes in Android P Developer Preview 1
- Built-in screenshot editor.
- Screenshot button in power menu
- Text selection zoom (like iOS)
- Battery saver can now be scheduled.
- Do Not Disturb has been simplified down to a single mode
- Volume buttons now control media volume by default
- Adaptive Brightness is now much more useful as it actually changes the base brightness level
- Hotspot can be turned off automatically if no devices are connected
- Rotation can be locked to landscape mode
- Multi-Bluetooth HFP/A2DP support
- Individual Wi-Fi networks can now be set to metered/unmetered
- Private DNS (DNS-over-TLS)
- Vibration controls in Accessibility Settings
- Accessibility option to disable all animations
- SysTrace tool is now built-in
- Recently posted notifications are now shown in notification settings
Material Design 2?
Although it doesn’t have a name yet (we strongly believe it will be called Material Design 2), Android’s user interface has received a fresh coat of paint. The most notable areas where Android P has made changes are to the quick settings tiles (now vertically paginated rather than horizontally) and to the settings pages, but there are also more minor changes to the status bar that we should take note of.
As you can see in the screenshots above, the icons in settings all have distinct colors now. In comparison, the settings icons in Android Oreo were a dull, muted gray color. The quick settings toggles, meanwhile, are all now rounded and are blue when enabled. Unfortunately, we’ve lost the ability to expand quick settings tiles within the notification shade.
If you look at the status bar, it looks like the clock has been shifted to the left. This may be in preparation for more devices with a display notch (…maybe the Google Pixel 3?), but I like the idea as it makes the status bar icons/text seem more evenly distributed.
(Oh, and if you’ll notice, Night Light now tells you when it will turn on in its quick settings tile).
New Notification Style for Messages
This one may be a bit controversial. As you can see in the screenshots above, notifications have a new style. Full conversations can now be shown as can stickers and images. Smart replies are also there, similar to what the Reply app offers.
When you long-press on a notification, the buttons now show “stop notifications” or “keep showing.” A quick way to decide if you want notifications from an app without diving into settings.
New Transition Animations
This one is big, and almost immediately noticeable. There are new animations for transitioning between activities, and new animations for opening an activity from the notifications. We’ve captured them on video so you can see what they look like.
Media and USB Dialog Changes
A few more areas have gotten redesigned. The Bluetooth media output list can now show up as a popup when you press on the arrow key in the volume panel, and speaking of which, the volume panel now shows up on the side of the screen rather than up top! The USB settings page has also gotten a quick redesign.
A very subtle change in the Pixel Launcher (which has already been ported to other devices) is that the search bar now has a microphone icon so you can start a voice search. The background is now also more prominent, so it’s clearer where the dock begins and the rest of the launcher ends.
Battery Saver No Longer Shows Orange Warning Bar
Yes! One of the biggest visual annoyances is now gone. Previously if you enabled Battery Saver mode, it would enable an ugly orange overlay on top of the navigation and status bar. This is no longer the case in Android P.
Google Pixel 2 Always on Display Now Shows Battery Info, Adds Divider Between Time/Notifications
The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the first Google phones to have an always on display feature. In Android Oreo, the feature only shows you the current time, date, whether an alarm is set, and icons from current notifications. It also supported the phone’s “Now Playing” feature which added the title of the currently playing background song. At the very, very bottom, now Android P also adds information about the device’s charging state/battery life. Furthermore, there’s a new divider in between the time and notification information. Finally, the notifications themselves are centered.
Android P Easter Egg and New About Phone Behavior
Well, there’s a new Easter Egg. It’s definitely not the final thing, as the official name for P has not yet been confirmed. Something more interesting is the new behavior for the About Phone page. Information is now shown in a popup window when you tap on certain elements.
Quality of Life Improvements
This is something that Android has sorely needed for quite some time. Before, if you wanted to edit a screenshot on a Google phone, you would have to install a third-party screenshot editing app. Now, taking a screenshot shows a new “Edit” button which opens up a basic screenshot editor. (It should be noted that most device makers have had such a feature for awhile now).
Screenshot in Power Menu
No longer will you have to fumble around with key combinations to take a screenshot. It’s right there in the power menu!
Text Selection Zoom
When you use the text selector to move back and forth through text, it will now zoom in to better show the text you are scrolling through. Here’s a quick video:
Scheduled Battery Saver
By default, Android Oreo only allows you to schedule battery saver mode at 5 and 15% of remaining battery. Android P expands on that by giving you a slider to choose a precise battery level you want battery saver to activate on!
Do Not Disturb Simplification
The Do Not Disturb quick settings toggle now shows the duration activity, which is nice for you to quickly modify its state. They’ve gotten rid of the 3 modes, total silence, alarms only, and priority only, and instead there’s only a single mode that you can customize in settings.
Media Volume By Default
Rejoice! When you press the volume keys, media volume is now the default volume stream that is controlled! No more need to remap keys or use any funky workarounds! As for call volume, it is now separate, and only active when you’re in a call.
Adaptive Brightness Now Actually Changes the Base Brightness
Google’s Adaptive Brightness now appears to change the brightness percentage now, making it behave more like the previous Automatic Brightness feature. This means you won’t have to manually change the brightness when you go outside to even see the display!
Turn Off Hotspot Automatically if No Devices are Connected
This will be a welcome addition to the hotspot feature. You can now have hotspot automatically turn itself off if there are no devices currently connected. This will ensure you don’t drain your device’s battery when hotspot isn’t actively being used.
Thanks Jay Kapoor.
Rotation can now be Locked to Landscape Mode
This change is very, very subtle and easy to miss. I missed it initially, but one of our readers tipped us that if you disable “Auto-rotate” and try to flip the screen, a new navigation bar button will be shown which changes the orientation to landscape and locks it there. Previously, rotation lock would only lock the device to portrait mode. Here’s a quick video:
Thanks Jay Kapoor.
Multi-Bluetooth HFP/A2DP Support
A new developer option has been added which allows your device to connect to up to 5 Bluetooth Hands-Free or A2DP devices. This does not allow you to stream to multiple devices at the same time, but it will make switching between active Bluetooth connections much more seamless as you won’t have to wait for the disconnection/connection process each time.
Set Wi-Fi Network as Metered/Unmetered
If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network that is metered (AKA there’s a data limit), then you have to be careful with how much you download or upload. Android can automatically detect when a network is metered, but in those rare cases where it doesn’t, you can now manually specify a network as metered.
Private DNS (DNS-Over-TLS)
If you have a DNS that supports TLS, meaning the service won’t record the domains that you visit, then there’s a new setting you can change to enable a private DNS provider hostname.
Within Accessibility Settings there’s a new vibration control setting. This allows you to set whether or not you want vibrations on or off for ring & notifications, or for touch. You can also choose a low, medium, or high duration vibration.
Quickly Disable Animations
Also within Accessibility Settings is a setting that turns off all animations. We’re not sure how useful this will be since most of us know how to do so from Developer Options, but hey it’s there if you want a quick universal toggle.
This one should interest only developers, but Google now offers a way to easily capture SysTrace from the device. No need to hook up your phone anymore. This will allow you to collect traces that you can then analyze later. This comes in the form of a new quick setting tile.
Last Shown Notifications
Android has always kept a record of notifications (in the notification log), but it has been hidden from users for years. In the notification settings, Android P will at least show a history of a handful of notifications, but it won’t show you the content. Instead, the aim is to have a brief record so you can remove access from a nasty notification that you accidentally dismissed.
Feature Flags to Test In-Development Settings
This might disappear in a subsequent release, but in developer settings you can toggle a few flags much like Google Chrome’s feature flags. Currently it’s not very useful, but this may include more in-development settings in the future.
The new release of Android P Developer Preview 1 for the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL is massive. We’re doing our best to find everything we can, but it’s possible we might miss something. Please, if you install the update and notice something new that we haven’t already found
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