Today, Google announced its final shipping version of latest Android update released for all Pixel phones: “Android 9 Pie.”
In May, features like Digital Wellbeing dashboard, a new gesture-based navigation system, and other AI-enhanced improvements to the UI were revealed.
These are the main features of Android P with many subtle improvements to the look of the software which include a new status bar that’s designed to work better with notches.
However, the main features announced: Digital Wellbeing features, including the usage dashboard, app times, and a wind down setting for when you go to bed are offered as a beta for Pixel users right away. The signup for the beta will be at this link.
Google says “Android One and other devices coming later this year.” The “other devices” can be a new Pixel 3 phones.
“Slices,” is another missing feature, which allows apps to show up some of their functionality into search.
Example: If you type “Lyft” in the main search, you’d get a button to call a ride without opening the Lyft app. Google says that feature will also launch in the fall.
Android 9 Pie is available first to Pixel users and will be available for other Android phones later, as usual. Several manufacturers participated in the Android P beta program, including Sony, Xiaomi, Nokia, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential. You can expect them to release Android 9 Pie updates soon.
Google claims the devices that were in the Android P beta program will receive the Android 9 Pie update in a timely manner: Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, to Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall! We are also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.
Most features of Android 9 Pie are well-received in beta like more advanced battery management system, as Google calls it powered by AI.
Early betas of Android P had significant “jank,” which is to say moving UI elements around felt choppy and not at all fluid. In later betas, things are significantly improved, but the swiping still feels a little less intuitive than the iPhone X’s gestures to many users. There’s an option to turn it off and go back to the traditional Android three-button setup if you don’t like it.
Finally, Android Pie has to make sure people actually get to use Pie’s new tools.