Android 9.0 P for Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact : Features and Release
Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact flagships arrived in September 2017 and run on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. The flagships are equipped with Project Treble, according to Sony, thus, the future updates will be delivered quickly. The next big update for these Sony flagships is Android P after Android 8.1.
Google released the first developer preview of Android P in March 2018. The DP1 of Android P arrived with many exciting features and significant improvements over Android Oreo. The new features coming with the next flavour of Android include Indoor navigation, Screenshot button, Markup screen editor, Refined Volume slider, Redesigned Quick Settings, Refined Settings Menu and so on.
The development of Android 9.0 has started very early, indeed as in August 2017 just a few days after the official release of Android Oreo. Now, the roadmap announced by Google says that the 2nd Developer Preview aka Beta version will come in May, 3rd Preview in June, 4th in July and the final release in Q3 of 2018. So it seems that in early-August or mid-August the consumer version of Android 9.0 P will come out.
Android 9.0 P Release for Sony XZ1 and XZ1 Compact
Earlier Sony released the Android 8.0 Oreo to Xperia XZ and XZs in end-November 2017 and stands as one of the OEMs that release updates quicker. This year, Sony may rollout the Android P update to XZ1 and XZ1 Compact much faster, because of Project Treble. So most likely, in late-September or Early-October the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact users will taste the latest flavour of Android. The official rollout dates will be posted here, as soon as Sony announced them.
Android P Exclusive Features
Screenshot Button and Markup Editor
The preview of new flavour of Android has come with a dedicated screenshot button in the Power Menu which helps to take screenshots much easier. Some custom roms got this feature long back, now arrived to stock Android. In the Power Menu, the screenshot button appears separated from the Power Off and Restart buttons and users can easily identify it.
After taking a screenshot, a screenshot editing popup with ‘Edit’ option will appear. On tapping the Edit button a ‘Edit with’ popup appears with ‘Markup’ option. When the user taps on Markup, the native Markup editor exclusive for screenshots will open up. In the Markup editor, users can highlight or write with pen option on the screenshot in pre-selected seven colours. The Editor also features undo, redo options and also cropping. As the update is still in preview stage, more features to the Markup editor may be added in upcoming previews.
Improved Neural Network API
The Search Giant brought the Neural Network API feature which provides a base layer for machine learning frameworks, with Android 8.1. Now with Android P DP1, Google brought the Neural Network API 1.1. The new API contains many improvements regarding speed of on-device processing and support for new ops. The NNAPI 1.1 supports nine new ops : Pad, BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Transpose, Strided Slice, Mean, Div, Sub, and Squeeze. More details about Android P Neural Network API 1.1 will be revealed in coming days.
The DP1 of Android P comes with Wi-Fi RTT (Round Trip Time) support which helps in indoor positioning. So on supported devices, Android P lets users to determine their position indoors through Wi-Fi access points without even connecting to them. So only device knows the position not the access points to protect the user’s privacy. With this feature, the user can determine the location with accuracy of 1 to 2 meters. Through the upcoming previews and final release, more details about indoor positioning will be revealed.
New Navigation Bar
In Android 8.0 Oreo and 8.1, Google several optimizations to the navigation bar to reduce the screen burn-in issues. Consequently, in the upcoming the Android 9.0 P update, the search giant going to revamp the it totally. According to a screenshot shared in the Android Developer Blog, the Navigation bar shows no multitasking button and new home button.
So it seems that the Multitasking button is replaced by Gesture control and it might be difficult to operate, according to some users. However, we have to wait till the release of the Android 9.0 P final version to know more details about the new navigation bar.
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.
New Volume Slider
The Volume slider in Android P is appearing gorgeous and also works more conveniently. Google totally revamped the slider in the upcoming android update. The position of the slider has shifted to side of the screen and also the slider is rotated to appear vertically. The vertically volume slider appears to be more suitable for one handed operations. Bluetooth Volume slider appears besides the ring volume slider when any Bluetooth devices are connected.
The square button below the slider has ringer modes and user can easily toggle between ring, vibrate, and mute modes. The UI of the slider appears elegant and many improvements may come in upcoming previews.
Gesture based Interface
Android P beta brought a revolutionary modification in the user interface with the removal of app previews button. So users should swipe up on the home button in the navigation bar to access app previews. The back button also appears only inside the apps when needed. So most of the time, navigation bar shows only a small pill shaped home button, thereby the interface appears more clearly.
The app previews can be scrolled horizontally instead of vertically as in earlier android versions. So multitasking seems similar to that on Apple’s iOS. More changes in Android interface may happen in upcoming previews.
The Adaptive battery feature of Android P works to reduce the CPU wake up calls by about 30 percent thereby reduce unnecessary battery drain. The feature uses advanced machine learning and determines which app, user is going to use and which apps are not going to be used in near future and switch off the unnecessary apps reducing the wake up calls.
So battery efficiency will be improved further with the Android P update. The feature is developed by the DeepMind, Alphabet’s division of AI development. Many improvements to the adaptive battery feature may come in upcoming previews.
We will update this post soon with more details about the Android P update for Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact devices.
Update on 9/5/2018 :
The first Public Beta of Android P has arrived, Google announced the Beta at I/O 2018 event, a few hours ago. The Beta arrived many improvements over the DP1 of Android 9.0 which was released back in March. In addition to Google Pixel and Pixel 2 series devices, Sony Xperia XZ2 devices are also getting the public beta of next Android, this time. Sony may announce the Beta program for select devices soon.
The key features of Android P Beta include Gesture based interface, Digital wellbeing, Adaptive battery, App actions and so on. According to the installed users, the Beta is stable and can be used as a daily driver. The Android P developer preview 2 factory images are also available on the official website.