Top 9 Breakthrough Android P 9.0 Features Every Developer Should Know About

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07 Jun 2018
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10 min
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Alexander D.
Copywriter

What is Android P? It's the following Android OS which brings considerable changes for programmers. Android P's release date is not far off. It's expected in August 2018. This means that you should examine the Android P's new features to leverage them in your applications. Most of them, which were presented in Android P developer preview 1, make the coding process simpler and more efficient. Besides, it may inspire you as well instead of only giving the knowledge of demanded technologies.

Are you ready? Let's dive into these amazing features:

Android P: indoor positioning

Android P indoor positioning

A new Wi-Fi standard lets you track your location indoors.

If GPS is intended to monitor a person's location outdoors, then RTT makes it possible to locate it indoors. RTT is a new 802.11mc Wi-Fi standard that stands for 'Round Trip Time'.

Here's how it works. Android P indoor positioning determines the distance for a signal to reach the Wi-Fi access point (AP) from your gadget. If we expand the search to 2 or more access points, it'll give us a decent accuracy, amounting from one to two meters. What's more, there's no need to turn the Wi-Fi on. RTT simply pings the APs to calculate your indoor location without having to establish a connection to those APs.

Are you scared that such a precise location tracking can interfere with personal privacy? There's no need to worry! Only phones and not APs are capable to monitor location.

This Android P feature looks very promising for many uses:

Indoor mapping

Wi-Fi RTT can make it more convenient to navigate in large facilities such as malls, hospitals, universities, etc.

Search based on location

For instance, If you're looking for website development, RTT will locate you nearby companies that offer such a service.

To enhance digital assistants functionality

For instance, when asking it to switch the lights off, a digital assistant will find your position to switch them off for this specific room.

Android P changes to video and other multimedia services

Multimedia upgrades brings support for double cameras, HDR format, etc.

Multimedia improvements include support for multi cameras, HDR videos and latency minimization.

A significant number of modern phones are equipped with double back or front cams. To leverage both of them simultaneously, Google invented a multi-camera API. It generates a combined stream for two+ cameras. It also enables to switch automatically between the combined and each cam's physical stream.

Multi-camera bring unlimited opportunities to video professionals and enthusiasts. Plenty of methods to use this API may appear in the future.

Android P changes also include native support for HDR videos. A phone must support HDR technology to be able to watch them.

Additional video enhancements comprise Session parameters. They are intended to minimize latency while capturing. There's also Surface sharing that aims to reduce the necessity to pause/launch the camera to deal with certain situations.

Improved audio processing

Improved Audio Processing

Android P has a simple but powerful audio processing tool

Google presented a Dynamics Processing API as a comfortable method to configure sound in Android P apps. It contains pre- and post-equalizers, a multi-band compressor and a linked limiter. Most of the settings are available for real-time handling. The number of processing phases and frequency ranges are fully customizable.

There're unlimited ways to apply Dynamics Processing in your apps. You can change quiet sounds to become more distinct, reduce loud ones or eliminate unwanted frequencies. Another idea is to optimize sound in accordance with users' favors or their environment.

Android P: Notch support

Display cutout support

Notch support will help to adjust your application to fit modern phone displays

A recent smartphone trend is notches on the display. Essential Phone was a pioneer that introduced notches. After that, Apple iPhone X made it a mainstream. Android P Notch support lets the programmers leverage full benefits of full screen content for the newest smartphones. Whether you like notches or not but they are about to conquer mobile screens in the next few years. That's why the new OS brings a toolkit to adjust the UI design produced by apps. It will be used to cut the content on the spot of a notch to be displayed properly.

Google also introduced an option for Android P developers to test a display cutout on any gadget.

Testing Android P notches on any gadget

Android P also brings a tool to simulate display cutouts on any device

There is the Detailed documentation on display cutouts. Right now we'll cover the most basic functions:

ImageDecoder

There's a convenient decoder for pictures to *.bmp and drawables in Android P. It allows to generate these formats from a URI, file or byte buffer.

Some useful benefits it gives compared to BitmapFactory

Android P developer preview 1 introduces the new High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF). It boasts to have an improved data compression. Try HeifWriter to write *.Heif from *.bmp, YUV data buffer or Surface format. Either way, you should try to convert images to heif by means of ImageDecoder.

Boost User Engagement with App Actions

App actions

This latest feature offers personalized suggestions showing the most relevant applications to perform the desired task.

App actions leverage machine learning at their core. It's a nice Android P feature that helps to remind of your application when it's desperately needed. It's best understood through the following example. If you're searching for a movie on Google search, a booking app is displayed too, suggesting to book tickets for this movie. In such a way all your app capabilities can be used as proposals to help a user perform the task. App actions are usually shown in such regularly visited places as the Home Screen, Google Search, Play Store, etc.

App actions suggestions during Google Search

App actions suggestions will be shown in places like Google Search, Home Screen, Play Store, etc.

App actions bring a convenient method to execute the internal app functions in one click or voice command. Actions will react to the accessories too at a time when you plug them in. For instance, having attached the headphones, you can be offered to launch your audio player.

In short, to leverage App actions you should begin with activating semantic intents. Then link each application's capacity to a proper intent. You can also build your custom intents. Machine learning allows App actions to pick the most relevant Android P app based on user's intents and past activity.

!

Do you know how to attract users to your app or website? Find out how by watching our brief video below. Otherwise, you can learn about it in our related article.

3 Effective Steps for Startups to Acquire and Retain Users

This feature is currently under development. You can fill in a Google Form to receive notification when App Actions become available.

Security and other upgrades

Android P 9.0: Biometric Sensors

There's a new Biometric P that provides a fingerprint, facial and even iris recognition.

Android P developer preview 1 brings a renewed verification to utilize increasingly popular biometric sensors. Instead of developing your own verification dialogs you can use Biometric Prompt API. It lets you not only undertake fingerprint verification but also provides facial and iris recognition. The Biometric prompt was made for the replacement of Fingerprint Dialog API. Google recommends switching to the Biometric API at an early date.

Google also plans to protect mobile traffic using more secure TLS protocol. Unsecure HTTP traffic is going to be blocked by modifying the configuration of network security. That's why you'll have to establish connections via TLS. And if you need HTTP for particular websites you'll have to set it manually.

Optimized Kotlin

Kotlin upgrades

Kotlin developers community grows and Kotlin gets better as well.

Another valuable Android P upgrade includes Kotlin improvements. As you might have heard, it was announced as the official language for Android development in 2017. From that time, the amount of Kotlin programmers have increased six-fold.

Android P brings a couple of compiler upgrades to boost code performance. In particular, they include loops improvements. Upgrade your Android Studio regularly to receive the most recent version of Kotlin.

Improved Messaging

Android P 9.0: Improved messaging

Messages support image sending and instant one-click replies.

The new OS brings new features to notifications as well:

Give Android P 9.0 a try

Don't delay to taste Android P on your own. We know that there can be a ton of descriptions online. At any rate, nothing helps to understand a new functionality better than your own experience.

To install Android P you should:

1) Get the Android P developer preview system image.

2) Get the Android P SDK. You should have Android Studio installed with a version of 3.1 at least. However, it's better to get the 3.2 version to avoid bugs.
3) Launch AVD manager to generate a new Android emulator.

Also, don't forget to change the target version to make your app compatible with the new OS. There also some requirements to meet when targeting your app's version to 'P'.

In conclusion

As you see, there're a lot of noteworthy APIs that are about to change Android development significantly. However, some efforts should certainly be made to implement them in your apps. Especially if your application involves a lot of data processing or background services. Though every app might require optimization to support notch cutout.

We hope this article motivated you to dive deeper into an exploration of Android P. But more importantly, that it could inspire you to build some breakthrough software solutions like Google does. Right now we are generating fresh ideas for applying Android P's new features. If you have some on your mind too, contact us, and we'll be happy to help you bring them to life.

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