Android P Beta is officially available and for the first time, it’s not just limited to Google devices. We already saw a majority of the new features in the first developer preview back in March. However, the Android P Beta is more polished and has a few more consumer-facing goodies. Let’s take a look at the features you should know about.
Adaptive Brightness & Battery
Google is all about machine learning and they’re using it in more places throughout Android. Adaptive Brightness and Adaptive Battery are two features in which your phone will learn your tendencies and adjust accordingly. Adaptive Battery priorities power for the apps you use the most. Adaptive Brightness learns how you adjust brightness throughout the day and does it for you.
App Actions & Slices
App Actions help you get tasks done by predicting what you will do next. The example Google gives is connecting your headphones and automatically resuming Spotify for you. These App Actions can show up throughout the UI. If you call your mom on a consistent basis, App Actions can put a call shortcut in the app drawer when it thinks you might need it.
Slices is a feature that allows you to use specific parts of an app. For example, searching for “Lyft” in Google will show you price and time for a trip to your work. You can tap the slice and interact with the app without actually opening it.
Gestures & System Navigation
The feature was rumored for a while and now it’s official. Android P brings a brand new gesture-based system navigation. Users can replace the virtual nav buttons with a pill-shaped gesture bar. Swiping up on the bar reveals the completely redesigned app switcher. The apps are displayed in a horizontal list, which can be scrolled through by swiping left or right on the pill. You can even interact with the apps, like selecting text, without fully opening the app. Check out our separate post of gestures for more info.
It’s no secret that smartphones have become incredibly addictive devices. Google is trying to help people take control of their “digital wellbeing” with a number of tools in Android P. Android Dashboard shows how much time you’re spending on your device and which apps are eating up the most of it. If you find yourself using an app too much, App Timer allows you to set a specific amount of time that you’re allowed to use it. The feature will even gray out the app icon when you’re close to your limit.
Android P also makes it possible to silence your phone by simply putting it face down. If you have trouble detaching from your phone at night, Wind Down will switch on Night Light, turn on Do Not Disturb, and fade the screen to grayscale to help you get to bed.