Bloomberg detailed several significant changes being prepared for this year’s Android “P” release in a report yesterday. According to the publication, Google wants to enable a “new generation” of smartphones which have bezel-less displays. They’ll be adorned with a characteristic sensor “notch” at the top.
The iPhone X’s notch is one of the handset’s most distinctive and divisive design components. Unable to fully integrate the earpiece and sensors into the display, Apple added a cut-out at the top to keep them included. It’s the company’s best effort to combine the iPhone X’s intended design with the core functionality of a smartphone.
Viewed by some as unsightly but by others as a unique approach to aesthetics, the resulting design clearly differentiates the X as separate from Android devices and other iPhones. Like with any major iPhone redesign, the look’s likely to be included in competing high-end Android smartphones launching over the next few months.
According to Bloomberg, Google thinks that adding notch compatibility as a native Android feature will improve the software’s design and help convince Apple fans to switch. Apple still retains a lead in high-end smartphone sales, something Google’s increasingly discontented with.
Google’s also said to be planning deeper integration between Google Assistant and core Android components. It wants to increase adoption of its AI in an effort to develop more meaningful relationships with consumers. The company is trying to present its brand as a digital companion service, moving away from its reputation for web-based search technology.
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Combined with other changes including support for foldable displays and improved battery life, Android P is shaping up to be a milestone in the platform’s history. Google’s intentionally building a “dramatic redesign” to capitalise on the anticipated lack of new features in Apple’s upcoming iOS 12. With Apple cutting some planned additions to refocus on quality, Google’s taking the opportunity to develop a bevy of user-facing capabilities intended to attract existing iPhone customers.
Android P development is currently ongoing under the reported codename of “Pistachio Ice Cream.” It’s unknown when it will be publicly unveiled. Last year’s Android Oreo release arrived in developer preview form in March, suggesting Android fans might not have much longer to wait before they can start to try out the new features.