Android Pie for HTC U11 and U11 Plus : Features and Release
HTC U11 flagship received the Android 8.0 Oreo update few months back and the HTC U11 Plus flagship arrived with pre-installed Android Oreo. The next major update for these HTC flagships is Android 9.0 Pie.
Android 9.0 P Developer Preview 1 was released on March 8th, 2018 The first preview sports many elegant and impressive features as expected earlier. So it seems that Android 9.0 P is going to provide a new user experience with a new visual design and other new features like call recording notification, screenshot button, Wi-Fi RTT and many more.
Later, at Google I/O 2018, Google released the DP2 aka first Beta in May and the third Preview in June. Recently on 6th, July, the Search Giant rolledout the fourth preview of the Android 9.0 P update to Google Pixel and Pixel 2 devices. In the third preview, Google finalized the APIs and in the fourth preview many bugs have been fixed and UI has improved. The final preview of Android 9 arrived on July 25th with final system behaviours and minimal changes. Finally on August 6th, Google pushed out the Android 9 Source code to AOSP with the codename of Pie. The Pixel and Pixel 2 series devices starts receiving the update and also Essential devices.
When will HTC U11 and U11 Plus will get Android Pie ?
HTC has confirmed that the flagships HTC U11, U11 Plus will be updated to Android 9 Pie but the timeframe hasn’t been revealed.
Previously Android Oreo arrived on August 21st and the unlocked HTC U11 devices start receiving the update from November 25th, the carrier versions received the update in December 2017 and January 2018.
So the upcoming android update may hit HTC U11 and U11 Plus devices in late-October or early-November 2018. The unlocked devices will receive the update earlier than carrier locked devices. Due to Project Treble of Oreo, the rollout of Pie update will be easier for the manufacturer and carriers.
Android Pie Exclusive Features
The top features of Android Pie include screenshot button along with Markup Editor, Redesigned Volume Slider, newly designed Quick Settings panel, integration of AI, Rotation button in nav bar, new app previews and so on. Now we will roundup main Features of Android Pie one by one.
Screenshot Button and Markup Editor
The Android P update sports a screenshot button in the Powermenu, so taking screenshots with single hand will be possible. Visually, the screenshot button in the Power Menu appears separated from the Restart and Power off buttons. So the screenshot button can be recognized very quickly.
The custom roms of Android have this feature a long time ago and the official builds of Android are going to have the screenshot button.
The Markup Screen Editor of Android 9.0 brings up the chance to edit screenshots quickly. After taking up a screenshot, a new button known as Edit appears in the Notification. By tapping on the Edit button, users can access the Markup editor of screenshots through Google Photos.
Albeit, the editor is little rudimentary in the preview 1, the Search Giant will improve in the next previews and the final release.
Autofill is one of the remarkable features arrived with Android 8.0 Oreo. Later, in Android 8.1, the Search giant refined the feature further with some under the hood improvements. But one of the major drawback for the Autofill feature was, it didn’t work with browsers. So it’s usage is limited to other apps only in Android 8.0 and 8.1 versions.
In Android 9.0 P, Google brought the support of Autofill for browsers too. So now users can install third party password managers like LastPass, 1Password or use native Autofill feature to automatically fill forms or logins in chrome. Using of the Autofill feature reduces password related hustle and also saves our precious time, as typing in smartphones is prone to errors.
New Volume Slider
In the Android Pie update, Google relocated the Media Controls with volume slider to side of the device to better support notch sporting displays. The newly desinged Volume slider is visually good looking. Through the Media output button located above the Volume Slider, we can access the connected Bluetooth devices. On the bottom of the slider we can find the ringer or mute modes.
By long tapping the Ringer button we can go to the Settings to change the Ringer volume and other customization. The new slider and media controls are looking still somewhat buggy and they may get better in the final version of Android P.
Neural Network API 1.1
With the Android 8.1 Oreo update, Google introduced Neural Network API feature which has the potential to take the smartphone experience to next level. The API provides a baselayer for the Machine Learning Frame works like Tensor Lite Flow and Caffe2 and also facilitates on-device learning.
Now with the Android P update, the Search Giant is going to bring the much improved Neural Network API for Android users. In the first preview, Google improved the speed of Machine learning and added support for nine new ops : Pad, BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Transpose, Strided Slice, Mean, Div, Sub, and Squeeze. For the Pixel 2 series users, the DP1 brought an Qualcomm Hexagon HVX driver with acceleration for quantized models. In the upcoming previews and final release many more optimizations to the API may take place.
New Bluetooth Volume feature
Android usually don’t remember the volume of Bluetooth devices each one specifically incase user have more than one Bluetooth devices connected. If wireless speaker connected earlier and user set the volume to full, later when connected headset, it will also outputs at full volume. Now it seems that there is a fix coming for this problems in Android P.
The folks over XDA developers noticed that Android P can store the volume settings for different Bluetooth devices. So each device plays at correct volume automatically, as Android P applies the previous volume setting specific for that device. The feature is already available to iOS users and now coming to Android users with Android 9.0. We expect that in Developer Preview 2, Google will rollout the new feature.
Google totally revamped the interface in Android 9.0, as predicted earlier, the app previews button in the navigation bar has gone and a gesture replaced it. Users have to swipe up on the home button to access the app previews.
The navigation bar shows only small pill shaped home button, most of the time and the back button appears only inside apps when required. So the navigation system is similar to the one used by Apple in iPhone X. The app previews can be moved only horizontally similar to iOS.
The Android P dashboard feature shows how much time user spent on each app. A pie chart comprises of app usage times is displayed in the Dashboard, so user can easily recognize which app is taking most of the time.
The dashboard feature also displays the total time user spent on Phone, how many times user unlocked the phone and total number of notifications received. So user can use the features of Digital wellbeing to manage the time spent on Phone in a better way.
Update on 9/5/2018 :
Waiting is over, the first Public Beta of Android 9.0 P is now available to download and test for eligible devices. Google unveiled the Beta of Android P at the event I/O 2018 and explained some keyfeatures of the Beta. The system images of Android P DP2 are also available for Pixel and Pixel 2, Pixel XL and Pixel 2 XL devices to download. The new features coming with the Android 9.0 DP2 and Beta include Gesture based interface, Adaptive Battery, App actions, Digital Wellbeing, Android P AI support and so on.
Update on 26/7/2018 :
In July, the Search Giant released two developer previews of Android P with many refinements. On July 2nd, the third Beta aka DP4 arrived with some refinements to the UI and lock screen. Later, on July 25th, the final Beta of android 9.0 arrives for Google Pixel devices.
The changes in the DP5 are yet to be revealed but it is very stable and near to the public release. Dave Burke, the VP of Android Engineering suggested the android app developers to make their apps fully compatible with Android P API 28 and support notched Display. The public release of Android P is scheduled for Q3 of 2018, but most likely the final version may come in mid-August.
Finally the next iteration of Android comes out of development phase and the official codename of Android P is Pie. The Search Giant begins the rollout of Android Pie for Pixel and Pixel 2 devices a few hours ago. The Source code of Pie has been pushed out to AOSP, so the custom rom makers can develop their own roms based on Android Pie AOSP.
Essential also begins the rollout of Android Pie for PH-1, a few minutes after the official announcement of Pie. However, the Android 9 Pie update hasn’t come with Digital Well being and App Slices features. Google assured that the features will be rolled out to the Pixel flagships by the end of this fall. Google starts the Beta program of Digital well being and Pixel users can signup now. The rollout dates for HTC flagships will be revealed soon.
We will update this post soon with more details about Android Pie for HTC U11 and U11 Plus devices.