Android P Developer Preview: Here are all the major new features

Earlier than we expected, Google introduced the first Android P Developer Preview. The news broke last week and we recently wrote up a post with all the official information. Android O, which we know to be Oreo, has reached less than 5% of all Android devices worldwide as of February, with Google already on to the next version. Android 8.1 is still relatively new, and very few flagships have been updated as of yet by manufacturers who will soon turn their attention to preparing the next major platform release.

Android P is not yet in beta form, so it is not yet on the Android Beta Program. Only developers and those who don’t mind wiping their device should test the software at this time, which is only available for flashing. It’s not recommended by Google nor us to flash images unless you’re familiar with the process and have a spare phone lying around, as the software is dense in bugs being in the alpha stage. Though, this should get better with each consecutive preview release of the overhaul. Nexus devices have reached the end of support for Android system updates, so Google is moving forward with nothing more than Pixel and Pixel 2 as the eligible devices for the Developer Preview program. This pretty much puts an end to Nexus with Pixel being the wave of the future.

The below list consists of the major new features that can be found in Google’s first Android P Developer Preview. Since there will be five preview builds in total with the beta coming next in May, don’t get too attached to your favorite features as there’s no telling whether or not they’ll stay for the public release that’s expected in late Q3 of 2018. Even then, beyond Pixel, there’s no telling whether your device will be sent the update since manufacturers have become unpredictable with software updates.

Some of the major new features in Android P include: a fresh launcher, a new Markup feature for screenshots, a relocation of the clock, notch support, text zooming, updated Do Not Disturb, improved Always On Display, a refreshed notifications panel, a new settings menu, updated volume controls, a new screenshot button, indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT, and enhancements for notifications as well as notification channels. The full in-depth list below comes from Android Developers.

What’s new in P?

Android P introduces great new features and capabilities for users and developers.

Work profile user interface

Android P includes user interface changes in the default launcher to help users separate personal and work apps. Device manufacturers supporting this can now present users’ apps in separate work and personal tabs. We’ve also made it easier for device users to turn the work profile on and off by including a switch in the launcher’s work tab.

When provisioning work profiles and managed devices, Android P includes new animated illustrations to help device users understand these features

Unified fingerprint authentication dialog

In Android P, the system provides fingerprint authentication dialogs on behalf of your app. This functionality creates a standardized look, feel, and placement for the dialog, giving users more confidence that they’re authenticating against a trusted fingerprint credential checker.

Indoor Positioning with Wi-Fi RTT

New RTT APIs support indoor positioning in your apps.

Android P adds platform support for the IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol—also known as Wi-Fi Round-Trip-Time (RTT)—to let you take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps.

On Android P devices with hardware support, your apps can use the new RTT APIs to measure the distance to nearby RTT-capable Wi-Fi Access Points (APs). The device must have location enabled and Wi-Fi scanning turned on (under Settings > Location), and your app must have the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATIONpermission. The device doesn’t need to connect to the APs to use RTT. To maintain privacy, only the phone is able to determine the distance to the AP; the APs do not have this information.

If your device measures the distance to 3 or more APs, you can use a multilateration algorithm to estimate the device position that best fits those measurements. The result is typically accurate within 1 to 2 meters.

With this accuracy, you can build new experiences like in-building navigation, fine- grained location-based services such as disambiguated voice control (for example, “Turn on this light”), and location-based information (such as “Are there special offers for this product?”).

Display cutout support

Developer options screen showing different cutout sizes


Android P introduces several enhancements to notifications, all of which are available to developers targeting Android P and above.

Messaging notifications
Messaging notification

Enhanced messaging experience

Starting in Android 7.0 (API level 24), you can add an action to reply to messages or enter other text directly from a notification.

Channel settings, broadcasts, and Do Not Disturb

Android O introduced Notification Channels allowing you to create a user-customizable channel for each type of notification you want to display.

Multi-camera support and camera updates

You can now access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. The API also lets you call a logical or fused camera stream that automatically switches between two or more cameras.

Other improvements in camera include new Session parameters that help to reduce delays during initial capture, and Surface sharing that lets camera clients handle various use-cases without the need to stop and start camera streaming. We’ve also added APIs for display-based flash support and access to OIS timestamps for app-level image stabilization and special effects.

Android P also enables support for external USB/UVC cameras on supported deveices.

HDR VP9 Video, HEIF image compression, and Media APIs

Android P adds built-in support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) VP9 Profile 2, so you can now deliver HDR-enabled movies to your users from YouTube, Play Movies, and other sources on HDR-capable devices.

Neural Networks API 1.1

The Neural Networks API was introduced in Android 8.1 (API level 27)to accelerate on-device machine learning on Android. Android P expands and improving the API, adding support for nine new ops — Pad, BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Transpose, Strided Slice, Mean, Div, Sub, and Squeeze.

Autofill framework

Android 8.0 (API level 26) introduced the autofill framework, which makes it easier to fill out forms in apps. Android P introduces multiple improvements that autofill services can implement to further enhance the user experience when filling out forms. For more details, see the Autofill Framework page.

Security enhancements

Android P introduces a number of new security features, including a unified fingerprint authentication dialog and high-assurance user confirmation of sensitive transactions. For more details, see the Security Updates page.

Client-side encryption of Android backups

Android P enables encryption of Android backups with a client-side secret. Because of this privacy measure, the device’s PIN, pattern, or password is required to restore data from the backups made by the user’s device.

To learn more about backing up data on Android devices, see Data Backup Overview.


Android P introduces several actions, attributes, and methods to make it easier for you to work with the accessibility framework in order to enhance accessibility services for users.

To learn more about how to make your app more accessible and build accessibility services, see Accessibility.

Navigation semantics

We’ve added new attributes that you can use to improve navigation from one part of the screen to another. You can use these attributes to help users move through text in your app and bring users to a specific section in your app’s UI quickly.

For example, in a shopping app, a screen reader could navigate users directly from one category of deals to the next, without having to move through each item within those categories.

Accessibility pane titles

Prior to Android P, accessibility services couldn’t easily determine when a specific section of the screen had updated, such as during fragment transitions.

In Android P, sections now have titles called accessibility pane titles. Accessibility services can receive changes to those titles, enabling them to provide more granular information about what has changed.

The below steps are necessary for app developers. They include the processes involved in downloading, building and previewing updates on the Android P Developer platform.

Get started in a few simple steps

Welcome to the Android P Developer Preview! From this page you can download system images for Pixel devices that you can use for testing your app. If you don’t have a Pixel device, just use the Android Emulator to test your app and explore Android P.

To get started with a Pixel device, download a system image and flash it to your device. Then read the Program Overview for timelines and the migration guide for steps to compatibility and building for P.

Again, it is not recommended that you try the software on your daily driver. However, if you’re willing to take the chance, Google is asking for your feedback. Instructions on how to contact Google can be read below.

Give us your feedback

As always, your feedback is crucial, so please let us know what you think — the sooner we hear from you, the more of your feedback we can integrate. When you find issues, please report them here

The upcoming schedule looks like this: Preview 2 in May, Preview 3 in June, Preview 4 in July/August, and Public in late Q3. Are these features worthy of Android version 9.0? And what do you think Android ‘P’ will stand for? I have some ideas, but we want to hear yours. Let us know in the comments and we’ll be there to let you know our opinions.

More Android P Coverage:

View our full Android P guide at the link below. 

SOURCE [Android Developers]

About Doug Demagistris 1627 Articles
Doug Demagistris is the Founder and current Editor In Chief of Droid Turf. He grew up in New York and now attends Bryant University where he is studying marketing and communication. He has been and always will be a Google enthusiast thanks to Android’s customization, flat design and exceptional integration with various Google services. Currently, Doug uses a Pixel 2 XL as his daily driver for its unique design, powerful hardware, exceptional camera, and stock experience. For shorter instances, he’ll glance at his Huawei Watch. And for more productive work, you’ll find him typing away on his Pixelbook. Doug is hopeful his productivity will make lives easier, more meaningful and help down the road.