Android P Developer Preview Arrives, Embraces Display Notches And Revamped Notifications

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Google today released the first developer preview of Android P, which will replace Android 8.0 Oreo later this year. Google is adamant that this release is solely for developers at this point, so we don't suggest that you try downloading images right this instant to install on your personal Android device.

So, let's dive right into what Android P offers this time around. If you've been following the news recently, you know that Android OEMs have jumped on the display notch bandwagon that Apple brought to the public limelight with the iPhone X. While the iPhone X's notch is probably its most controversial design choice, we've seen a slew of Android OEMs copy the design trend.

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Google wants to make sure that these new Android devices are fully supported in Android P, so it has added "display cutout" support and new APIs to properly render apps around the notch. "You can check whether the current device has a cutout by calling getDisplayCutout(), and then determine the location and shape of the cutout area using DisplayCutout," writes Dave Burke, Google VP of Engineering. "A new window layout attribute, layoutInDisplayCutoutMode, lets you tell the system how and when lay out your content relative to the cutout area."

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Google will also enable simulated views to see how display notches will alter the look of your app.

A new multi-camera API has been introduced, allowing you stream video footage from two or more cameras at once on an Android P device. Google says that pairing this new API with dual front or rear cameras will allow you to enable some trick effects like seamless zoom and stereo vision.

Message notifications have been improved, allowing for great visibility and interactions. You will be able to use Smart Replies, stickers and images directly from within a notification when responding.

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There are a lot of other new additions, but we will hit a few of the highlights here. Support has been added for HDR VP9 Profile 2 (which will allow you to playback YouTube and Play movies among other on HDR-compatible device), HEIC image encoding, and the Neutral Networks 1.1 API. Android P also continues Android's steady improvements for the Autofill Framework and power efficiency (via Doze, App Standby and Background Limits).

The Android P Developer Preview is available in the form of system images for the Pixel, Pixel XL Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL devices [grab them here]. The Android Emulator has also been updated with support for Android P.

"As we get closer to a final product, we'll be inviting consumers to try it out as well, and we'll open up enrollments through Android Beta at that time," added Burke. "Stay tuned for details, but for now please note that Android Beta is not currently available for Android P."