Android P Features: Dashboard and Home Button Guide, How to Download and More

The public beta is here.

Android P

Ready for Android P? The first day of Google I/O introduced everything from an A.I. capable of making phone calls to emails that write themselves. But no Google developer conference is complete without the announcement of the next generation of the Android operating system — and this version is game-changer.

Google’s mobile OS got a complete overhaul from last year’s Android Oreo. It now comes with a built-in way to curb your smartphone addiction and an iPhone-esque navigation system. A developer preview of this OS came out in March, but Google has now released a beta version of Android P with all its new bells and whistles that anyone with a compatible phone can get their hands on.

Here is how to download the Android P beta and a rundown of all its newly announced features.

Android P: How to Download the Beta

Android P isn’t being officially released until sometime late in the summer. But luckily Google understands the tech fiend inside of us all and has released a public beta for all of its Pixel smartphones and seven other non-Google phones. These include:

Naturally, Pixel users have it the easiest. All you have to do is head over to the Android Beta Program website and sign up with the account tied to your phone to gain access. This should prompt a system update notification on your phone that will let you take the new Android version out for a spin.

Non-Pixel users have to jump through a few more hoops. Each phone has its own set of instructions on how to retrofit them with Android P, which are all linked in the list above. Keep in mind that since this is a beta there’s always a chance to run into bugs or glitches and a majority of these phone companies won’t provide customer support if you’re on the beta. So on the off chance that something goes wrong, you might need to revert back to Oreo.

Android P: New Features, Design, and Dashboard Guide

  • Dashboard: As was previously mentioned, Google knows that we’re all smartphone fiends. That’s exactly why Android P’s new dashboard will help users curb their scrolling habit. This new menu screen will break down exactly how much time you spend using every app on your phone. It will even let you set limits for yourself. This is all part of Google’s “digital well being” initiative, which roughly translates to “maybe look at the person in front of you sometimes.”
  • New Design: This OS update completely changed Android’s feng shui. The home button has been slimmed down and the search bar that once resided at the top of the screen is now at the bottom for easy thumb access. Sliding the home button up will take you to a horizontal list of all of your apps for easy multitasking. So you can quickly send a text and switch songs on Spotify without ever having to close out of an app.
  • Gesture Navigation: Must like the iPhone, depending on how long you hold down a tap Android P will prompt you with different commands. There’s even a “Shush” gesture, which is essentially a Do Not Disturb mode that actives when you simply place your phone face-down on a surface.
  • App Actions: A.I. was core to this year’s Google I/O and the company has implemented this tech into Android P as well. App Actions will try to predict what action you want to take next while scrolling through your phone. It’ll take your daily phone habits and other cues to suggest apps you might want to open. So if you plug in your headphones you’ll see an “action notification” for Google Play Music or Pandora.
  • A.I. Powered Battery Saving: Google is also using A.I. to maximize your phone’s battery life. This will automatically adjust your brightness when needed and based on your app habits it will prioritize certain apps while putting others to sleep.

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