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 Oreo.
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.
Later, at Google I/O 2018, Google released the DP2 aka first Beta in May and 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 release and the codename of Android P will be revealed in August 2018, according to the roadmap announced by Google. We expect that in late July or early-August, the DP5 of Android P may come.
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. The first beta of Android P arrived to Xperia XZ2 in May soon after Pixel devices. So most likely, in late-September or Early-October the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact users will taste the latest flavour of Android P either as Beta or final version. The official rollout dates will be posted here, as soon as Sony announced them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update on 15/7/2018 :
Google released the third beta of the most awaited Android update on July 2nd. Till now, only the registered Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users got the latest beta of Android 9.0. The Xperia XZ2 Beta users may receive the update in coming days. Many interesting changes came with this Beta including UI changes and optimizations.
The User Interface changes in Android 9.0 are removal of background fill in icons of Quick Settings toggles, Media volume icons and in Settings menu. The shape of the Back button has also changed. The remaining are minor changes in the UI and normally unnoticeable to users.
Update on 29/7/2018 :
The Search Giant started the rollout of Android P DP5 cum Beta 4 to Pixel and Pixel 2 series beta testers on July 26th. The VP of Android Engineering, Dave Burke posted in the official blog that this is the final preview of Android P and the public release version is coming soon. So in a few days the codename of the next iteration of Android will be revealed.
The final preview is very stable and appears near to the public release version. In the final preview, there are no major changes but the Assistant launching Microphone button removed from Pixel launcher search bar. There are some minor UI changes in Beta 4 which are probably unnoticeable to normal users.
The Search Giant finally releases the Public release of Android P today and Pixel, Pixel 2 users starts receiving the update of size 1.1 GB. Google reveals the official codename of Android 9 as ‘Pie’ which is simple, indeed. The Android 9 Pie update is regarded as the first AI powered Android operating system. Essential also begins the rollout for PH-1 users shortly after the official release of Android Pie. The Partner devices like Xperia XZ2, Nokia 8 Sirocco and 7 Plus will receive the update very soon.
Previously some reports indicated the release date of Android 9 for August 20th. But Google decides otherway and releases the Android Pie update earlier than expected dates. The rollout dates for Xperia XZ1 and XZ2 compact devices will be revealed soon.
We will update this post soon with more details about the Android P update for Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact devices.