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Android P feature spotlight: The volume slider moves to the side of the screen, and there's superior control for Bluetooth devices

The volume slider wasn't really something that people had been complaining about in previous versions of Android, but Google has gone and changed it anyway. The slider is now vertical, moving to the side of the screen. It's technically more intuitive, but it'll probably take some time to get used to. There are also several new features.

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Android P feature spotlight: Quick Settings is now vertically scrollable instead of paginated [Update: It's changed back in DP2]

Google implemented revamped, customizable quick settings in Nougat, which meant users could end up with an extensive list of toggles. To accommodate longer lists, Google added pages to the Quick Settings. In the Android P preview, pages are gone. Instead, you can scroll up and down to see all your toggles.

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Android P feature spotlight: Night Light toggle now tells you when it'll turn on

Now that a large portion of our daily lives is spent staring at a screen, we've started becoming more and more concerned that this behavior may impact our circadian rhythms and the quantity and quality of our sleep. The hypothesis goes that humans have evolved to sync their sleep cycles to the cycle of the Sun, and that shining the pale blue glow of a phone screen into our eyes at night throws that sync off-balance and prevents our brain from recognizing when it's time to sleep. That's why so many devices now have a 'night mode,' where the color of the screen shifts to a more reddish tint at night so as to minimize the impact to sleep.

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Android P feature spotlight: Ambient Display shows current battery percentage and centers notifications

The Ambient Display feature in stock Android usually receives a change or two with every new major update, and Android P is no exception. Last year, there was a major push for Google to add the current battery percentage to the Ambient Display, and the feature request currently has nearly 4,000 stars on Google's issue tracker.

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Android P feature spotlight: Google improves neural network API for machine learning and AI developers

Last year, Google introduced a new neural networks API in Android 8.1 Oreo that provided developers with hardware-backed tools for machine learning. Now, with Android P, Google is expanding the API to support nine new operations. Pixel 2 devices will also have support for Qualcomm's Hexagon HVX driver, giving developers further improvements in performance on those devices. 

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[Update: Nexus Player confirmed] Android P drops support for Nexus 5X/6P, Pixel C, and possibly Nexus Player

The Nexus 5X and 6P were released in October 2015, and ended up being the last devices under the Nexus brand. The following year, Google released the original Pixel, marking an end to the company's lineup of affordable devices. Google has now confirmed to Ars Technica that Android P will drop support for the 5X and 6P, along with the infamous Pixel C tablet.

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Android P feature spotlight: Settings receives a splash of color and a rounded search bar

Were Android Oreo's settings just too boring for you? Did they look too black-and-white? Good news - Android P's settings menu has a lot of color, as well as a revised quick search bar. If anyone else is getting reminded of TouchWiz (back when it was still called TouchWiz) and ZenUI, you're not alone.

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Android P feature spotlight: Kotlin apps get a performance boost

Historically, Java has been the only officially-supported language for Android development. That changed last year, when Kotlin support was announced at Google I/O. Even though Kotlin still uses the Java Virtual Machine and can interact with Java code, there are some key changes that make some tasks significantly easier.

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Android P feature spotlight: ART improvements could allow apps to start faster and use less system memory

Android P will bring new improvements to ART – the Android Runtime – that sound kind of exciting. These performance and efficiency boosts are supposedly correlated with decreased app startup time and DEX memory usage. From the sounds of it, though, it seems like the difference will be marginal and noticeable only in certain cases.

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Android P Developer Preview timeline: 5 releases, final version scheduled for Q3

Just earlier this hour, Google released the details and images for the new Android P developer preview, and now we know what sort of schedule to expect for future releases—assuming Google sticks to it. The current plans are to push the 2nd Developer Preview in May. Two more are planned for June with a final image expected to land in July before the ultimate Q3 release. 

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