Android P notch options get a bit odd

Android P notch options get a bit odd

Google is promoting Android P as smart and simple with special emphasis on simplicity.

But it is with the next phase of the Google Assistant that the real power of AI and language understanding comes to the fore. It will teach the battery to adapt to how you use apps in order to conserve energy.

What's missing in all this is the resulting full-screen experience you get on the iPhone X. Apps don't stretch to take up any extra space, as there's still a (perhaps slightly smaller) navigation bar at the bottom. There is also going to be a Google Assistant button on the remote, so you can press the button and start talking to it, without saying "Hey Google" or "Okay Google".

After finally figuring out how to enable gesture navigation in the Android P beta, I was happy to discover that it works wonderfully.

Google Assistant is also being taught to better understand people and interact with them more naturally - and will be getting new voices, including one based on the voice of singer John Legend, as well as programming to improve conversation performance. Google still hasn't announced any of its own Android TV hardware, akin to its Pixel smartphones and Pixelbook laptop, and if that doesn't change, it's unclear if other vendors will do a good enough job of carrying the platform forward.

These include image labelling, text recognition, face and landmark detection, barcode scanning, and a smart reply feature. Gesture Navigations is meant to allow users to navigate the system without needing the old navigation bar.

App Timer lets you set time limits on apps, and will nudge you when you're close to your limit and then gray out the icon to remind you of your goal. Moreover, for the first time, Google pushed the Android beta version for the non-Pixel devices. It can show you just how many times you unlock it (constantly), check in on social media without even thinking about it (obviously) and spend hours mindlessly watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

Currently, Do Not Disturb on most phones just prevents you from hearing notifications. These apps are suggestions based on your recent usage.

From time to time, and depending what app you're in, you will still rely on that back button to retreat to a prior screen, but in some views it too disappears. It's common to look at your smartphone and realize that all the apps you've left open have sucked away the battery life. Google is referring to the new feature as "visual disturbances". And there's another feature called Wind Down, which turns on Night Light when it's dark and activate DND and fade the screen to grayscale at your chosen bedtime.

One of the biggest pluses for users is that with Android P, Google will crackdown on companies and services that harvest data from users via apps.

Android P is available in beta right now and is expected to ship to select Android devices this autumn.

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