Little is known about the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, but we’re already hearing rumors that Google has started working on Android P, and that it’s being made fresh to support phones with notches, as well as devices that will sport more than one display or a flexible one, like the rumored Samsung Galaxy X.
Android P release date
Based on past form Google is likely to unveil Android P/Android 9 during March 2018, at which point it will probably be made available as a developer preview.
Several more beta versions are likely to follow, ending with a final, finished release in August 2018.
While it’s possible that the schedule will differ from that, it’s likely to be at least roughly along those lines, since new updates are released yearly and Android Oreo landed in August 2017.
What’s In a Name?
Google may be calling its next OS Pistachio Ice Cream internally, per the Bloomberg report. But that may not be the finally dessert-themed name it settles on for its next OS. Pistachio Ice Cream hardly rolls off the tongue, and Google typically opts for a different public-facing name once a software update is ready to launch.
News And Rumors
P Is for Privacy
As Android currently stands, once you give an app the permission to access your cameras or microphones, it can use those tools whenever it pleases. But that may change, as 9to5Google reports that code submissions show that Android P will block apps running in the background from accessing your microphone and camera.
Apps trying to use your cameras without you knowing will shut down and send an error, while those trying to record audio will capture blank sound until the app is opened.
Movable search bar and date widgets
One of the things we typically praise about stock Android is that it’s free of bloat, but that can also mean it’s light on features, such as the ability to move the search bar and date widget.
They are currently glued to the bottom and top of the home screen respectively in the stock version of Android Oreo.
Most people will probably be happy with that, but we’d like the ability to move them anywhere on the screen with Android P, like you can with most widgets.
Google Assistant: Better, Faster, Smarter
Android P is also expected to integrate more tightly with Google Assistant in an effort to dominate other digital assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. According to Bloomberg’s report, Google will open up Assistant to third-party developers, much like Amazon has done with Alexa, so you can ask Google Assistant to perform tasks for you in non-Google apps.
On a related note, we’d love to see more customization potential in general with Android P.
Some third-party launchers let you customize gestures, screen transitions and the like, but for the most part what you see is what you get with Android Oreo.
There’s nothing stopping you switching the stock launcher for a third-party one to gain those options, but then you lose the Oreo look and feel, so for Android P we want more customization built-in.
Picture-in-picture for every app
Picture-in-picture is one of the big new features of Android Oreo, but it’s actually quite limited, with many apps not supporting it.
That may well change over time, but if it’s not fixed as part of Oreo we want to see it available for most or all video apps as part of Android P.