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article imageGoogle introduces radical design changes with Android P preview

By James Walker     Mar 8, 2018 in Technology
Google has launched the first preview of Android P, the upcoming release of the company's mobile operating system due this summer. The current version is a very early build and should not be installed by end users. It includes several major UI changes.
New notifications
The debut Android P preview was officially announced by Google late yesterday in a developer's blog post. The update is currently far from finished and will receive new features and additions in the coming months. Some of the most prominent alterations are already implemented though, including support for "notched" displays and a radical new notification tray.
Android P notifications
Android P notifications
As has become typical of new Android releases, Google has again introduced sweeping changes to the presentation of notifications. Android O's transparency effects are gone, replaced by a new bright white look that places notifications on cards with rounded corners. Individual notifications have expanded vertical space and are designed to be more interactive.
The quick settings toggles are now circles with a grey background. Information on the current time, battery charging level and SIM status information has been removed altogether. This corresponds with other changes to the status bar made to support "notched" displays.
Making way for the notch
In one of the most surprising alterations, Google has relocated the clock from the top-right of the screen to the top-left. This leaves more space free on the right for status icons.
Android P notch support in emulator
Android P notch support in emulator
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Google's also truncating the number of notification icons that are displayed, so they no longer span the entire width of the display. This will improve the experience on phones with notches and cutouts by allowing manufacturers to neatly place icons around the gap. If more than four apps have unread notifications, the status bar will show a white dot to indicate there are additional alerts to view.
Further adjustments to the interface include a revised layout and design for the home screen app dock, a more colourful settings menu and new overlays for volume controls. The dock includes a clouded background and a Google Assistant search bar, providing one-tap access to voice controlled assistance.
API changes
As with any Android release, Google's also preparing a slew of under-the-hood improvements to let app developers build new experiences. Android P will support accurate indoor positioning, the ability to simultaneously stream from multiple cameras, more image and video codecs, an expanded Neural Networks API and enhancements to performance and security.
Android P supports accurate indoor mapping
Android P supports accurate indoor mapping
Android P is shaping up to be another major Android version that adds more powers to the platform and modernises the interface for users. While some of the design changes might prove controversial, Google's clearly heading towards a new design language built around bright colour blocks contrasted with translucency and blur effects.
Google advised consumers not to attempt to install the current preview build. It's described as an "early baseline" to allow app developers to start testing their products against the new APIs. The company said later preview builds will be more suitable for use by end users, once Android P is closer to launch and has had some time to stabilise.
More about Google, Android, android p, android 90, Devices
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