Android P’s final beta preview is live

Good news for people who like near-final previews of mobile operating systems. Android just dropped Beta 4 for Android P, marking the last preview milestone before the full version launches. That means the still unnamed OS is just around the corner — promised to arrive at some point later this summer.

As all of the above implies, this build should be pretty close to final, including all of the systems you’ll see in the shipping version. The release is primarily focused on developers, looking to make sure their apps are up to date with Android P when it ships.

That includes a number of the new OS features, which will impact usage across apps, including multi-camera support, display cutout, enhanced notifications and ImageDecoder. More details on all of that can be found here.

Of course, the build is open to anyone who signs up for the Android Beta Program, so long as you also have access to a Pixel device to test it on — there’s a sign up form here. Those who have been testing out earlier builds should be receiving Beta 4 as an automatic update at some point in the near future.

No specific date has been given for the final build — just that it’s “coming soon.” Ditto for the name — though there’s no shortage of dessert foods starting with “P.” These days, I’m leaning toward Pop Rocks. But then, I’m kind of always leaning toward Pop Rocks. Hey, anyone know where a guy can get some Pop Rocks in 2018?

Anyway, more info here

Google releases Beta 3 of Android P

It still doesn’t have an official name (Popsicle? Peppermint? Your guess is as good as ours), but Google’s just dropped what it says is a near final version of Android P. The new version arrives a month after Beta 2, bringing with it what largely amounts to bug fixes and stability tweaks.

This is the last major beta update the company is sending out to developers prior to the final version of the mobile operating system, due out for the rest of us, later this summer. From the sound of it, there shouldn’t be too major major visible tweaks this time out — Google brought a number of those with Beta 2.

“With the developer APIs already finalized in the previous update,” Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke says in a blog post tied to the announce, “Beta 3 now takes us very close to what you’ll see in the final version of Android P.”

Among the key updates this time out are finalized APIs so developers can start testing and building apps for the new version of the software. Among the system tools available here are multi-camera support, enhanced notifications, display cutout (notches for days) and ImageDecoder.

The update is available today for developers with access to a Pixel device. Those who are already running Beta 2, meanwhile, will get the update automatically. For good measure, the company will also be hosting a Reddit AMA on July 19 to field all of those technical questions about the new OS.

 

 

Android P Beta 2 brings updated system images and 157 new emojis

A month after releasing the first beta version of Android P at I/O (and right in the middle of Apple’s own developers conference), Google has just released Beta 2 of its upcoming mobile operating system. The update is available to users enrolled in Google’s developer program, who have access to a Pixel device. Those who’ve already downloaded Beta 1 will get the new version automatically.

The latest build features new system images and tools designed to help developers create apps for the upcoming version of the mobile operating system. Adaptive Battery is on-board here, leveraging DeepMind to decide which apps should get the most system resources. App Actions helps developers make their apps more prominent in places like Search, the Google Assistant and the Google Launcher, while Slices provides a way to offer elements of an app without having to open it up. 

Also of note is the addition of 157 new emojis. The list includes two gender neutral emojis, offering additional options for the Family and Couple With Heart emojis, joining last year’s addition of a gender-neutral Adult emoji.

There’s a Red Hair and Superhero emoji, both of which are available in two genders and five skin tones, a bagel with cream cheese, a llama and a lobster. Sounds like a fun crew.

A handful of existing emojis have also gotten a facelift here, including Bacon, Turtle, Cricket and Salad, which drops the egg to go full-on vegan. Google notes that the new emojis may be further updated prior to Android P’s final release.

More information on the updates for devs can be found here. 

Is Android Popsicle next?

Barring any sort of major shakeup at Google’s mobile division, there are two things we know for sure about the next Android’s name: it will start with the letter “P” and it will be a dessert food. That already narrows things down quite a bit — you’ve got pudding, pecan pie, peanut brittle…

Then, of course, there’s Popsicle — a fact the company might well be alluding to in its new Spring Wallpaper Collection. 9to5Google noted a colorful array of frozen confections in amongst the selections. Granted, it’s not thematically too far from the rest of the outdoor, sunshine-themed offerings.

Google’s never shied away from such cheeky suggestions — and it’s certainly teased us before, including in the lead up to Oreo. Though that could just as easily mean it’s a bit of a red herring — remember Android Pocky?

It’s worth noting that Popsicle is, in fact, still a trademarked name — like Kleenex and Xerox and Frisbee. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Google in the past. See such recent examples as Kit-Kat and Oreo. And while Popsicle-owner Unilever has flexed its muscles maintaining its ownership of the name, it’s hard to imagine a better/cheaper promotion than stamping your name across the latest build of the world’s most popular mobile operating system.

There is, of course, the issue of the fact that the Popsicle name isn’t as globally synonymous with the ice pop as it is here in the States. You may know it, perhaps, as an ice lolly, ice block or ice drop, depending on where you happen to be reading this.

Whatever the case, Google’s probably just happy that we’re talking about it at all.

Here’s the first developer preview of Android P

 Just like in the last two years, Google is using the beginning of March to launch the first developer preview of the next version of Android. Android P, as it’s currently called, is still very much a work in progress and Google isn’t releasing it into its public Android beta channel for over-the-air updates just yet. That’ll come later. Developers, however, can now download… Read More