Google unveils Android Pie for Pixel phones

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Google has released the latest version of its mobile operating system, dubbed Android Pie. 

It uses artificial intelligence to adapt to how users operate the device, improved notifications and extended battery life.  

The update is the ninth version of Android and is available on Pixel phones starting today.  

 

‘We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you – and work better for you – the more you use it,’ Google said in a blog post. 

‘From predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take, to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, to helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day, Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone.’ 

Google first announced Android P at its annual I/O developer conference in May. Not all the features mentioned at the event will arrive on every device just yet, however.

Among them is Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature, which aim to give users greater control over their time spent on different apps. 

For now, that feature will be available to Pixel phone owners in beta. ‘Other devices’ will be able to get their hands on the feature later this year, the firm said.

As part of the Digital Wellbeing feature, users can set time limits on apps, so that after a certain amount of time, the app will turn gray and be set to do not disturb.  

A Wind Down feature lets users tell Google Assistant when they want to go to bed, and it will set the phone to Do Not Disturb mode, as well as adjust the phone’s display to greyscale. 

Google names its Android versions after sweet treats, such as its previous version, dubbed Marshmallow.  

Google chose Pie in part because an upcoming feature called Slices will try to offer slices of information from your favorite apps without opening them. 

For example, if users put in a Google Search for Lyft, a ‘slice’ of the app will appear on the screen, asking if they’d like to book a ride.

Slices also won’t be available on devices until later this year. 

Another big part of the update uses AI to learn how users are operating their device.  

For instance, Android will set screen brightness by studying your manual adjustments, rather than automatically switching to a certain level based on ambient light.

But the most noticeable change coming in Android P are its new gesture controls. 

Now, users can swipe up once to see which apps they have open. Swipe up again, and it’ll open the phone’s apps page. 

🎉 Introducing Android 9 Pie 🎉
Packed with smarts and tailored to you. Learn more: https://t.co/LGeZUrz2BV #Android9 pic.twitter.com/gwUEjqHH1l

Sliding to the right will scroll through recent applications, while the back button will allow you to return to the previous screen.

Tapping the new home button will go to your home screen and long-pressing it will activate Google Assistant.

Volume change is also getting a new design, with a vertically-oriented panel that appears next to the physical keys on the side of the phone.

Additionally, rotation changing is getting easier, with a new button that appears at the bottom of the phone, so you can easily switch from portrait to landscape mode. 

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