After releasing various different betas throughout the summer, Google has officially released the final version of Android 9.0. Known as Android 9 “Pie,” the update is beginning to hit Pixel devices over the air.
Android Pie includes many different features that fall in line with Google’s efforts to make Android simpler and more intelligent. The company includes a new Adaptive Battery feature that monitors your app usage and optimizes your device to consume as little power as possible, while Adaptive Brightness can automatically adjust the brightness of your screen based on your preferred setting in various environments.
Android 9 also includes App Actions that predict different actions you need within an app at certain times during the day. The actions will appear in your app drawer and changed based on the time of day and what you’re doing on your phone.
The update is also introducing Slices which let Android take advantage of certain features within an app and let you, the end user, access them simply by searching for the application. For example, if you search for Lyft, Android 9 will let you instantly see prices for the way home and the ETA for your next driver.
Of course, while these features are relatively small, they do play a major role in the ways Android 9 is becoming smarter. But alas, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Potentially the biggest update in Android is the new navigation system Google design. With Android Pie, you won’t need to use the traditional array of software keys at the bottom of your display. Rather, by flicking a switch within the settings app, you can enable a new way to navigate your phone with swipes and different gestures.
Swiping up on the home indicator brings you to the new Overview screen that gives you a full-screen preview of recently used apps. You can horizontally scroll through this list and even perform actions such as selecting text from one app and pasting it in another.
Another swipe up will present you with the new app drawer, while tapping the indicator will take you back home. In addition, swiping to the left will take you to the previous screen, much like how the traditional Overview button works.
There are also several UI redesigns within Android 9 as well. You’ll find new ways to control your device’s volume, a redesigned Quick Settings interface, updated notification management, a new settings app, and more.
And then there’s one more major new feature within Android Pie that will be launching in the future: Digital Wellbeing. The feature hasn’t been in any of the Android P betas, but starting today, you can sign up to test the feature so long as you have a Pixel device running Pie.
The function’s pretty simple. Within the settings app, you can access a new dashboard that lets you monitor your phone usage and how often you have your apps open. You can then control how much time you can spend on certain apps each day by using the App Timer. You’ll also find new features including Do Not Disturb, Wind Down, and more to help with your smartphone addiction.
This is all in part to limit the amount of time people spend on their phones each day. With companies including Apple, Facebook, and even Instagram joining in the conversation regarding your digital wellbeing, it makes sense to see Google play a role in controlling just how much time you spend on your phone each day.
Of course, Google is also including various new under-the-hood security measures to make Android 9 Pie the most secure version of the operating system to date. For instance, there’s a new security model for biometrics, support for new hardware security capabilities, and new privacy improvements such as choosing TLS by default and selecting DNS over TLS to keep your web connections private and more secure.
According to Google, Android Pie is rolling out to all Pixel phones today. Manufacturers who participated in the Android P beta process including Essential, HMD Global, Sony, Xiaomi, and OnePlus will likely release the update to their devices in the coming weeks. In addition, Google says its working with various manufacturers to get the new software on more devices by the end of the year.
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