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Android P Debuts New UI Gestures, Smarter Actions

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May 8, 2018, 1:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e
updated May 8, 2018, 1:45 PM

Google today revealed more details about its next-generation operating system, Android P. To start, the OS introduces new system navigation that is gesture based. Swiping up, for example, opens a multitasking view combined with app suggestions. This swiping gesture works from within any app on the phone. Scrolling the new home button sideways makes it simple to see recent apps. New controls make adjusting media and ringer volume levels simpler with an on-screen bar that appears next to the hardware buttons. An adaptive battery tool should help reduce CPU app wakeups by 30% to help conserve power. A new adaptive brightness tool should be more effective at controlling screen brightness in another way to help keep the battery from draining. A feature called App Actions helps predict actions within certain apps and provide deep links into apps. A tool called Slices, based on a new API, can surface relevant information in searches based on installed apps. For example, when searching for Lyft, Google Search will tap into the installed app with information on the closest Lyft car, estimated arrival, and more. App Actions and Slices will be made available to developers beginning next month. The last tentpole in Android P concerns wellbeing. The idea is to help people use their phones less to improve their quality of life. For example, Android P will show a dashboard detailing how people use their device, such as notifications, time spent in certain apps, and how many times they unlocked their phone. Developers will be able to take advantage of the dashboard to help people understand how they are using their phone. It can set time limits for apps and even gray out app icons once the limit has been reached. Improvements to Do Not Disturb mode will reduce distractions thanks to a new gesture called Shush. If you turn your phone over on a table, it will silence pings, vibrations, and all distractions. It will still allow whitelisted contacts who can always get through to the phone even when Do Not Disturb is on. Wind Down mode relies on Google Assistant to help people put their phone down. It grays out the screen at a predetermined time to coax people to stop using their phone. The public beta of Android P is available from Google today. It can be installed on Pixel devices. The full release of Android P is expected to arrive later this fall.

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