Table of Contents
- Running A Tight Ship
- New Apps & Features of Android 9 Pie
- Improvements In Stock Apps
- UI Changes
- Wrapping Up
- iCoderz’s Trending Solutions
It is no secret that the ecosystem of Android is highly fragmented. Not that Google wished it that way but one of the perks of the open ecosystem is the lack of control. All the manufacturers modify Android before they ship devices and the updates come at the even slower rate. That means people don’t always get the latest update of Android on their mobiles yet they always look forward to them. They always want to have and know about the latest version of Android. So here is our review of the latest offering from Google, Android 9 Pie, along with its new features and everything you need to know.
Running A Tight Ship
Any Android updates will have four things. It will add new features and apps, it will improve existing apps and change the way they work, it will change user interface for certain areas or the entire phone and it will tighten some screws to squash many bugs. Android 9 Pie has everything. A few new apps and features have been added, a few stock apps have been improved, UI has been changed a little and many bugs have been squashed here and there. Let’s look at all of them one by one.
New Apps & Features of Android 9 Pie
As always, with the arrival of the new version of Android, certain new apps join the wagon. This time machine learning is the highlight of this version and there are many apps to support it.
Predictive App Actions
The App Actions are there since Android 8 Oreo but they are very basic so far. Remember those shortcuts that appear when you press or hold on to any app icons. Well, in Android 9 Pie, Google has improved them using machine learning. Now the OS will learn how you use a particular app and offer you relevant action shortcuts based on the usage pattern or time of the day. For example, in the morning, it can learn your commute habits and offer you to navigate to work when you are about to open the Google Maps. You Google Calendar tells the OS about your scheduled meeting. So, at the time of the meeting, when you are about to launch Keep, it may offer you to open the Meeting Notes. Good Android App Development Companies will smartly use this feature, we are sure of that. See, machines are getting smarter!
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The machines are getting smarter but not the batteries. They still run out of juice sooner than later. Not anymore, according to Google. They have introduced Adaptive Battery feature to solve this issue. It says that it will learn how you use your phone and won’t allow the apps and services that you don’t use often drain your battery. In theory, it sounds a really good idea but we have to wait for about 6 months or an entire year before we learn the real outcome of this feature in practice. Batteries are really funny!
Along with Adaptive Brightness, Android 9 Pie has also introduced the Adaptive Brightness feature. Many devices, especially high-end devices, have offered this feature for a long time now but it was offered by manufacturers. Now Google has integrated it in the OS. It will still require the hardware support from the device but it will definitely work better than ever.
The app Slices offered in Android 9 Pie will improve the Google Search experience. It will display relevant information from a particular app from within the Google Search interface. For example, if you want to book a taxi in Uber, you don’t need to open Uber. Just search ‘Uber’ in Google and it will show you the nearest Uber vehicle, its ETA to your location, how long will it take to reach your frequent destinations like Home and Work or Place of Appointment. It will be very helpful to consumers as well as mobile app development companies. Cool, isn’t it?
Digital Wellbeing in Android 9 Pie
Ever since the launch of the smartphone in 2007 (the smartphone that we know of at present) manufactures always pushed in the direction of maximum user engagement in terms of the time they spend using the device. After a decade of it, a new wave of digital well-being has swept the digital world. Both the dominant OSes, viz iOS and Android, are concerned about your digital wellbeing. They want you to have the control of how much time you spend on your smartphone in your hand. We saw that when Apple decided to include ‘ScreenTime’ app in its iOS 12. Google is following the suit.
‘Dashboard’ app is the equivalent of ‘ScreenTime’ for Android. It will display all the user statistics related to phone and app usage. A user will be able to see how much time he spends in a specific app. Using this data, a user can improve his digital wellbeing.
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Wind Down Mode
HDR & HEIF Support in Android 9 Pie
Everybody knows HDR and HEIF stands for High-Efficiency File Format. It compresses photos with less loss of quality. So images will look better to the eyes and it will occupy less space. Android 9 Pie will also support HDR VP9 video at the OS level so video quality will be better as well.
Improvements In Stock Apps
They have improved many stock apps and features in Android 9 Pie. Do Not Disturb, Messages, Gesture Navigation, Camera, Screenshot any many other stock apps have been improved.
Do Not Disturb Mode
The Do Not Disturb (DND) Mode has some improvements. It will allow users to block incoming calls and messages for the desired time slots. Users will also have an option to set exceptions for Starred Contacts. So the already very good Do Not Disturb is now even better.
There is an option to easily activate the DND Mode by turning the phone face down. They call it the Shush Mode. Once activated through settings, all you have to do is turn the mobile face down and the Do Not Disturb mode will be activated.
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Messages in Android 9 Pie
Although less number of people actively use the messages in general on all the platforms, they have become better and better with every iteration of Android. Now there is Gmail-like smart reply option in the messages to quickly compose a reply. Better content management and linking are also available through APIs. Messages can show Avatars for contacts as well.
The Camera app is improving a lot and Android 9 Pie will have multi-camera API support. Google adds OS lever support for multiple cameras you 2019 will be a difficult year for consumers to decide which phones have better cameras.
Idle App Restrictions
Users will have a better control over idle apps and background apps in Android 9 Pie. It will greatly affect the system performance and battery life. Fingers crossed!
There are many UI level changes in Android 9 Pie. Let’s look at them briefly.
Notch Space and Clock
Having a notch on the top of the screen is the in-thing so Google has started supporting it officially. To give space to notch, there is empty space at the top. The battery indicator is still on the right side but they have moved the clock to the left side of the top panel.
Then there is a new navigation style. Singe Home button has replaced three buttons of the bottom panel. And navigating from one app to another looks very different now. It is intuitive but will take some getting used to it.
Settings in Android 9 Pie
Although settings are not changed their UI is changed a little. Settings are now a little colorful and there is the option for quick settings to change certain settings.
Screenshots, Power Menu & Volume
Android 9 Pie has change all three of them completely. Taking a screenshot on Android no longer needs to press multiple buttons simultaneously. It is quite a simple task with a UI element. They have changed the Power Menu and it includes an option for the screenshot. Android 9 Pie has also changed the Volume menu and it will have an option to hand over the volume to Bluetooth device.
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Dark Theme & Text Selection Magnifier
Dark Theme is arriving everywhere. People believe that it is easier on eyes and improves focus. So Dark Theme is arriving in Android 9 Pie. It is not a hundred percent dark theme but a good one to begin with. Text Selection Magnifier does what it says. It magnifies the selected text.
There are minor UI changes like icons, animations and Now Playing menu. But it happens every time when a major OS update arrives. It also has Easter Egg surprise which is not a big deal but it will surely surprise many. Android 9 Pie has fixed many bugs as expected.
We saw that Oreo laid the foundation for many major changes in the Android platform. Android 9 Pie has built over it. It has removed much clutter and organized a great many things. Google is making it less complex and easier to use for the next billion users and satisfying existing customers by adding new features and apps. Let’s see what you think of it when it lands on your phone.