Android 9.0 P for Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact : Features and Release
Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact flagships arrived in February 2018 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 9.0 P.
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.
Android 9.0 P Release for Sony XZ2 and XZ2 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. The first beta of Android P arrived to Xperia XZ2 in May soon after Pixel devices. So most likely, in September or October the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact users will taste the latest flavour of Android P final version. 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 XZ2 and XZ2 Compact devices.