Everything We Love About The New Android P
For the past few years, the divide between Apple and Android devices has only gotten wider with each new evolution of the platforms. From developers to designers to content creators, every sector of mobile technology has felt the impact of the split, and especially in the Roller office, the debates between which platform is better have never been louder.
But earlier this week, Android made public their early release of Android P – a new version of their classic interface with plenty of new features for developers to get excited about. Available only in its preview stages for now, and just for Google Pixel devices, the newly adapted software is the latest evolution of an ongoing journey for Android as it makes its first big leap towards equal footing with Apple.
So what’s new about Android P?
Initially, the biggest change to the existing Android content is the visual elements, with the new P interfaces holding a much more minimalistic and user-friendly design. Seen strongly in the Settings function, bright block colour has replaced the standard grey loops implemented in the Oreo last year, introducing a new touch of UX creativity to the admittedly functional menu.
Usability is another key design element to feed through the version, placing a much higher priority on user interaction than all previous versions. Following the user-driven iOS usability touches, P has increased their inclusion of human-first interactivity, making for an overall enjoyable experience. Making even the most basic of functions, such as screenshotting, activating a hotspot, battery saver, and volume sliders, simpler has had a significant impact on how the software functions in a much larger sense. Some of the user favourites so far have been the ability to edit screenshots post-snap, and being able to see whole conversations and reply to them with AI powered quick replies straight from the notifications.
Almost imperceptibly integrating some subtle desktop features into the phone, the dock has been re-designed to actually look like a dock in the P version – becoming unmissable for user interactions, and even easier to access than before. One tap access and voice activation have also been prominently highlighted in the hierarchy of the design, making for a much clearer instructions premise for users to follow – flagging the increased push for AI development in Samsung and Google devices.
Cluttered quick settings have now been stripped back to the most essential and constant features, such as the clock, battery and wifi, leaving little room for busy notifications and overwhelming colour clashes in the top bar. Yet these features haven’t been cast aside, they’ve instead moved into the pull down menu, with its new light and unmissable blue background making for a crisp and clear selection of enabled and disabled user options.
Giving the user an elevated sense of power appears to be another key feature in the new P design, as transition animations take precedence over standard click-to-activate functions. Making the version appear more responsive, fluid and expressive, switching between activities on Android devices is even more enjoyable when accompanied by these animations, encouraging not only a continued use of the software, but a more user-reactive interaction.
But possibly our favourite new feature in Android P is its ‘Always On’ function. Taking the black screen of Apple and introducing an illuminating constant on-screen which reveals vital information and notification means that Android devices can now take their place as a constant user accompaniment. Though the impact of this feature on device battery is yet to be tested, the user will still be able to see their battery usage, without ever needing to unlock their phones at all. And, although this feature was available, if limited, in some of the older versions of the Android, making this bold move into an improved design concept has been long awaited in digital devices. It is surely set to begin a new trend in Always On tablets, desktops and phones across the board.
Set to be officially released in the next few months, the Android P update is looking to be one of the biggest changes to Android UX development ever experienced, and the developers of the world should be ready.