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Google releases Android P beta
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-05-08 20:06:40

Ten years ago, when we launched the first Android phone - the T-Mobile G1 - it was with a simple but bold idea: to build a mobile platform that's free and open to everyone. Today, that idea is thriving - billions of people around the world rely on their Android phone every day.

To make Android smarter and easier to use than ever, today we're unveiling a beta version of Android P, the next release of Android.

There's tons of new features, mostly about Android trying to anticipate what you want to do next. Android P takes Android's already pretty good inter-application communication a step further, by exposing actions and even parts of applications outside of the applications themselves, with App Actions and Slices.

App Actions, for instance, help you get to your next task more quickly by predicting what you want to do next. Say you connect your headphones to your device, Android will surface an action to resume your favorite Spotify playlist. Actions show up throughout Android in places like the Launcher, Smart Text Selection, the Play Store, the Google Search app and the Assistant.

Actions are a simple but powerful way for helping you get what you need quickly; but what if we could surface part of the app itself, right when you need it most? Slices do just that, giving you an even deeper look into your favorite apps. If you search for "Lyft" in Google Search, you can see an interactive Slice that gives you the price and time for a trip to work, and it’s interactive so you can quickly order the ride.

Other than that, Android P also brings gesture navigation to Android, to deal with phones with smaller bezels. Furthermore, Google put a lot of emphasis on what it calls "digital wellbeing", which aims to make you more aware of how and how often you use your phone. For instance, a feature called Wind Down will make the screen go black and white at a chosen time, encouraging you to put the phone down and go to sleep, and Dashboard gives you detailed information about how you use your phone.

The beta version of Android P is available starting today, for Pixel phones and a variety of other phones.

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