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Android P First Developers Preview Unveiled

Android P, the newest edition of Google’s mobile operating will not support the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C, Google said while announcing the Preview of the next major update to Android on Wednesday.

Android P, an early baseline developers only build contains lots of new features, such as support for an iPhone X-style notch, and developer preview images are already available for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL.

A look at some of the cool features in this first preview of Android P:

  • Indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT
  • Android P adds platform support for IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol — also known as WiFi Round-Trip-Time (RTT) — to let you take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps.
  • Display cutout support along with APIs can be use to manage how your content is displayed.
  • Improved messaging notifications so you can show conversations, attach photos and stickers, and even suggest smart replies.
  • Multi-camera API let you access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. Other improvements in camera, include new Session parameters and Surface sharing along with new APIs for display-based flash support and access to OIS timestamps for app-level image stabilization and special effects.
  • ImageDecoder for bitmaps and drawables — ImageDecoder, which deprecates BitmapFactory. ImageDecoder lets you create a bitmap or drawable from a byte buffer, file, or URI. You can also create Drawables directly, with ImageDecoder.decodeDrawable(). If the encoded image is an animated GIF or WebP, the Drawable will be an instance of the new AnimatedImageDrawable.
  • Built-in support for HDR VP9 Video Profile 2, HEIF image compression, and Media APIs.
  • Data cost sensitivity in JobScheduler as it handles network-related jobs better for the user, coordinating with network status signals provided separately by carriers.
  • Neural Networks API 1.1 adds support for nine new ops — Pad, BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Transpose, Strided Slice, Mean, Div, Sub, and Squeeze. For Pixel 2 device, the DP1 build now includes an Qualcomm Hexagon HVX driver with acceleration for quantized models.
  • Autofill improvements, includes new APIs that allow password managers to improve the Autofill user experience, such as better dataset filtering, input sanitization, and compatibility mode.
  • Open Mobile API for NFC payments and secure transactions
  • Security for apps
  • In Android P we’re moving to a more consistent UI for fingerprint authentication across apps and devices. Android now provides a standard system dialog to prompt the user to touch the fingerprint sensor, managing text and placement as appropriate for the device. Apps can trigger the system fingerprint dialog using a new FingerprintDialog API. We recommend switching to the new system dialog as soon as possible.
  • As part of a larger effort to move all network traffic away from cleartext (unencrypted HTTP) to TLS, we’re also changing the defaults for Network Security Configuration to block all cleartext traffic. If you are using a Network Security Configuration, you’ll now need to make connections over TLS, unless you explicitly opt-in to cleartext for specific domains.
  • Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle. Also, encryption of Android backups with a client-side secret is enabled.
  • ART performance, includiing use of execution profiles to optimize apps and reduce in-memory footprint of compiled app code. ART now uses profile information for on-device rewriting of DEX files, with reductions up to 11% across a range of popular apps.
  • Optimized Kotlin, including several compiler optimizations, especially those that target loops, to extract better performance. We’re also continuing to work in partnership with JetBrains to optimize Kotlin’s generated code. You can get all of the latest Kotlin performance improvements just by keeping Android Studio’s Kotlin plugin up-to-date.
  • Power efficiency as Android P refine Doze, App Standby, and Background Limits to further improve battery life.
  • Targeting modern Android
  • By November 2018, Google Play will require all app updates to target Android Oreo (targetSdkVersion 26 or higher) with support for 64-bit hardware on the horizon for 2019. In line with these changes, Android P will warn users with a dialog when they install an app that targets a platform earlier than Android 4.2 (targetSdkVersion less than 17), and future platform versions will continue to increment that lower bound.

Here is a look at the new features in Android P:

To get started with Android P, first, download and set up a device system image or emulator system image (Android Virtual Device), and install your current app to give users a P compatible app.

Next, change your app’s targeting to “P” and run it with the full Android P experience. After you’ve made any necessary updates, publish it to Google Play without changing the app’s platform targeting.

And, to started building with Android P, download the P Developer Preview SDK and tools into Android Studio 3.1 or latest Android Studio 3.2 canary version.

Also, available now is an alpha version of the 28.0.0 support library for you to try.

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