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Android 9 Pie With AI-powered Gesture-based Navigation Released On Google Pixel Phones

Android 9 Pie, the next iteration in the Google Android family, has officially been released today. The new mobile operating system whch was previously speculated to debut as Pistachio Ice Cream today released with artificial intelligence (AI) baked in to make the phone smarter, simpler and more tailored ‘as it’s able to learn from users the more they use it.

The latest release of Android saw five developer preview builds claimed to be tested by over 140,000 beta testers. Google also formed a partnership with seven OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to enabled them to bring the Android P beta to their flagship devices.

Android Pie toda is first arriving on Pixel handsets, including original Pixel and Pixel XL as well as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. However, the new mobile operating package isn’t designed for Nexus models, including the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C.

From predicting your next task to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, the newest release of Android delivers AI-powered productivity tools, security enhancements, new features to promote digital wellbeing, and support for a range of use cases.

Android 9, a  successor to Android Oreo, aims to makes the phone even smarter by learning from users and adapting to their usage patterns. Here is what’s new in Android 9 Pie:

Adaptive Battery learns the apps most used and prioritizes battery for them, while Adaptive Brightness, learns how a user like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for them automatically.

Here is a GIF animation of new Adaptive Battery and Brightness in Android 9 Pie:

Android 9 Pie Adaptive Battery and Brightness

App Actions, an AI-powered feature predicts suggested actions in the Android launcher, Smart Text Selection, the Google Search app, Google Assistant, and the Play Store. For example, if an employee is working, they might see a suggestion to share a Drive folder. You can see App actions in the animation below:

Android 9 Pie App Actions

Slices, which will be rolling out later this fall will show you the relevant information from all your favorite apps, like a “slice” showing prices for ride back home and the ETA for a driver will show up when you start typing “Lyft” into Google Search.

Here is an GIF image demonstrating Slices:

Android 9 Pie Slices

New System Navigation is designed to help make discovering apps much easier—Just swipe up from anywhere and you will see full-screen previews of recently used apps and a simple tap jump back into one of them.

An image of new system navigation and Smart Text Selection:

Android 9 Pie System Navigation and Smart Text Selection

Display cutout let apps take full advantage of the latest edge-to-edge screens with the system managing status bar height to separate content from the cutout in Android 9. To help developers test the feature a new Developer Option is added that simulates several cutout shapes on any device.

An image below shows display cutouts on edge-to-edge screens:

Android 9 Pie Display cutout

Text Classifier, through the extended ML models identify entities in content or text input to support more types like Dates and Flight Numbers through the TextClassifier API.

Smart Linkify lets you take advantage of the TextClassifier models through the Linkify API, including enriched options for quick follow-on user actions. It also delivers significant improvements in accuracy of detection as well as performance.

Android 9 Pie Smart Linkfy

Notifications and smart reply
Messaging apps by taking advantage of the new MessagingStyle APIs can show conversations, attach photos and stickers, and even suggest smart replies. Soon, using ML Kit will let you generate smart reply suggestions for an app.

Digital Wellbeing Tools

Previewed at the I/O, beta of following features is available now including “Dashboard,” that helps understand time spent on the device, an “App Timer,” lets you set time limits on apps and grays out the icon on the home screen when the time is up, “Do Not Disturb,”  silences all the visual interruptions that pop up on your screen, and “Wind Down,” switches on Night Light and Do Not Disturb and fades the screen to grayscale before bedtime.

Digital Wellbeing, is scheduled for an official launch on Pixel phones this fall, with Android One and other devices coming later this year. You can try them out on Pixel phones running Android 9 Pie by following these steps:

  • Sign up for the beta with the email address you use with Google Play here.
  • Accept your invitation to become a beta tester by clicking the link in your welcome email.
  • Once you’ve accepted your invitation, Digital Wellbeing will appear in your phone’s Settings app. It may take up to 24 hours for Digital Wellbeing to appear on your device.

Here you can digital wellbeing tools, like dashboard, app timer, and do not disturb:

Android 9 Pie Digital Wellbeing Tools: Dashboard, App Timer, Do Not Disturb

Text Magnifier lets users precisely position the cursor or text selection handles by viewing zoomed text through a draggable pane. It can also provide a zoomed-in version of any view or surface. You can attach it to any view that is attached to a window, so you can use it in custom widgets or during custom text-rendering.

ART now uses profile information for on-device rewriting of DEX files, with reductions up to 11% across a range of popular apps. ART is exapnded to use execution profiles to optimize apps and reduce the in-memory footprint of compiled app code. ART

Optimized for Kotlin by including improvements to several compiler optimizations and JetBrains to optimize Kotlin’s generated code.

Biometric prompt
Android 9 Pie introduces a system-managed dialog for any supported type of biometric authentication. Apps can use the BiometricPrompt API to show a standard system dialog. In addition to Fingerprint, including in-display sensors, the API also supports Face and Iris authentication.

Security and privacy
Android 9 Pie by leveraging a phone’s tamper-resistant hardware, similar to the “secure elements” built into credit and smart cards enables industry-leading hardware security capabilities. Also, it support secure transactions via Protected Confirmation APIs as well as leverages tamper-resistant hardware (Strongbox) to protect sensitive app data.

Android 9 uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) by default for all data that enters or leaves a device and support DNS-over-TLS for private browsing.

Android 9 is also tailored on a range of devices, including Android Enterprise Recommended devices and those featured in the beta program.

Work Profile introduces a new toggle feature that let users turn off work apps and notifications quickly and easily. Apps in the work profile are bundled together, with a toggle available for switching off.

Through the “All Apps” menu it’s become easier to find and distinctly separate work with personal apps. Also, the new “in-app” switching let user move between apps that exist in both the work and personal profiles.

Admins can use custom launcher and select multiple apps and can enable switching between a set of apps. Admins also now have full flexibility to show or hide elements of Android user-interface, including status bar and navigation buttons. While, Enterprise mobility management providers can set a custom home screen, and populate it with the apps of their choice.

Kiosk mode let admins configured devices to erase a user’s data at the end of every session or set it up to share among multiple employees. “An employee working the day-shift can hand off their device to their colleague working late with data preserved between sessions but fully separated at all times.”

Additionally, IT administrators can require different PINs and timeout rules for personal and work profiles and set policies to further prevent data sharing across profiles.

The update is already live as an over-the-air (OTA) package, and can also be manually check by going to your Pixel device Settings -> Software updates.

Updare 08/08: As part of Android 9 Pie announcement, Google just released a new Kotlin-friendly Android SDK that contains nullability annotations for some of the most frequently used APIs.

“This will preserve the null-safety guarantee when your Kotlin code is calling into any annotated APIs in the SDK,” wrote Google. Even if you are using the Java programming language, you can still benefit from these annotations by using Android Studio to catch nullability contract violations.

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