Now that Mobile World Congress is over, Android enthusiasts are focusing their attention on the upcoming release of Android P. I have long speculated that the first Android P Developer Preview would drop on March 14th, Pi day, and it seems that that’s becoming more and more likely thanks to new information from Evan Blass. While we have only been able to learn little tidbits here and there about the new release, we know almost nothing about its successor: Android Q. Considering we’re quite far off from the release date of Android Q, it’s unlikely we’ll learn significant details about it anytime soon. But thanks to a little nugget of information I discovered in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) gerrit, we may have possibly found the first known feature coming to Android Q: assisted dialing.
Assisted Dialing in Android Q
What is assisted dialing? It’s a feature for people traveling internationally, and it simply corrects any phone number you dial out by adding the appropriate country code. It’s certainly a nifty feature since you won’t have to manually add country codes to all of your contacts back at home when you’re traveling abroad for a period of time.
The feature is already available on many smartphones from various device makers, but it’s not a native feature of Android. In fact, Google Nexus and Pixel smartphones only recently gained this feature with the introduction of version 15 of the Google Phone app.
Plenty of useful, basic features that are staples of non-Google devices can take a long time to make their way over to AOSP, which then means they’ll become generally available on most, if not all, Android devices. Most recently, we’re seeing that happen with a new work-in-progress enhanced call blocking feature and Wi-Fi direct printing in Android P, but there are countless examples you can pick and choose from. With Android Q, it looks like the assisted dialing feature from the Google Phone app will be incorporated into the Android Framework—meaning it will be made available for all.
At first glance, the above commit doesn’t really say anything about Android Q in particular. However, when you examine the code changes, the reference to Q becomes quite clear.
If you look at the before and after for this line, the build code ceiling was previously set at O MR1 (Android 8.1 Oreo) and the target build code was set to P. Now, however, the ceiling has been changed to Android P and the target is now Android Q. What this tells us is that Google was originally planning on introducing the assisted dialing feature in Android P, but perhaps ran out of time and they are now targeting Android Q for the release of this feature.
Now, we realize that this is a very minor change. Assisted dialing is certainly a really useful feature for international travelers, but it’s not the kind of feature that would headline Android Q’s release. It certainly doesn’t compare to features such as notification channels, picture-in-picture mode, adaptive icons, or the Autofill Framework that were introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo.
Regardless, it’s the first hint at a feature in a future release of Android that is a long, long way away from release and that will only be accessible initially to those lucky persons with a Google Pixel 2/2 XL or who plan to own the upcoming Google Pixel 3. Given how much we’ve already learned about Android P, we’re sure to uncover additional features coming in Android Q whenever the P source code and system files drop.