Google has released the latest major update to Android, version number 9, and named it Android 9 Pie. Codenamed Android P during testing, the new update has a number of new features which include a new gesture based multitasking interface (very similar to iPhone X), a Digital Wellbeing feature for tracking device usage, improved battery management, app actions, Slices and more. The update is now rolling out over-the-air to Pixel phones. Other devices that were part of the Android P developer beta will receive the update this fall.
Since Android 9 Pie is a major release, a large number of features are included. I’ll be doing a deep dive into those over the coming days, along with a comparison with iOS 12. Meanwhile, here is a list of all the highlight features in Android 9 Pie:
Android 9 Pie Features
- Adaptive Battery – Android 9 smartly learns your app usage patterns and prioritizes battery accordingly. So the apps you rarely open will not be able to drain your phone battery.
- Adaptive Brightness – your phone will learn how you set brightness at different times in different light conditions and start setting it automatically for you.
- App Actions – quick links will appear as buttons in the app launcher. These will predict your next activity such as starting a phone call or navigating to your next destination. Tapping on them will automatically open the app for and perform the action.
- Slices – when you perform a search, apps will be able to show relevant information right in the results. This could include ETA to your next destination, countdown to the next sale and the likes.
- New navigation – while this feature is similar to iPhone X’s navigation where you can just swipe to switch between apps, and swipe up to go to the app switcher – the implementation was not as smooth. It will be interesting to see if Google nailed it down in the final release.
- Digital Wellbeing – this will give users a new dashboard to track their app usage and set time limits on apps. Google claims that this will help users avoid distractions. A new Do Not Disturb will also help users disable all notifications, while a wind down mode will turn on Night Light, Do Not Disturb and turn the screen gray before sleep.
Digital Wellbeing is going to be available as a beta only for now, for Pixel users using Android 9 Pie. You can sign up for the beta here. The feature will rollout to all Android Pie users this fall. Slices is also being delayed and will be available this fall.
For now, first and second generation Pixel phones and Essential phone will be getting the update. The update is rolling out as an OTA to all compatible devices. If you have not received the update yet, you can download the OTA image or factory image to flash your Pixel phone, however, this will wipe all data from your phone.
Other devices might receive the update someday.