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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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Android P feature spotlight: Fingerprint authentication UI will be more consistent, plus unencrypted HTTP will be blocked by default by apps using Network Security Configuration

As anyone who uses apps that allow for fingerprint authentication will know, the UI for each app's prompt can differ wildly. Android P will attempt to combat this by providing a new API. Additionally, Google will be blocking cleartext (unencrypted HTTP) by default for apps that use Network Security Configurations.

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Android P feature spotlight: Time is now shown on the left side of the status bar

Many things have changed in Android over the last decade, but one thing has remained the same: the clock has always been on the right of the status bar. Well, no more. In Android P, Google has moved the clock to the left side of the status bar. It's going to take some time to get used to this.

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Android P feature spotlight: Apps can measure distance to nearby WiFi access points to determine your position

Your phone can already use a combination of signals to determine where you are, including known WiFi access points. However, that's designed to give you a geographic location. In Android P, Google has added support for IEEE 802.11mc, which allows apps to measure the distance to nearby WiFi access points and determine your exact indoor location.

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Android P feature spotlight: New multi-camera API and other improvements are on board

The latest as yet unnamed flavor of Android is now circulating for your unstable curiosity, and with it come a pile of new features, including a bunch of camera additions. The new multi-camera API available in Android P is an especially exciting enhancement because of its flexibility. Although there are obvious use cases, not even Google knows what novel applications developers might find for it.

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Android P feature spotlight: Google confirms idle apps can't access microphone or camera

Last month, a series of AOSP commits revealed that the next release of Android would block apps in the background from using the camera or microphone. It's a bit surprising that this feature didn't already exist, but recent privacy concerns (like the theory about Facebook listening to users) may have pushed Google to implement it.

As expected, the feature is officially part of Android P; idle applications can no longer access the microphone, camera, or device sensors.

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Android P feature spotlight: Notifications can now have inline photos and smart replies

Google launched its new 'Reply' app last month, which adds smart replies to notifications from messaging apps. It's a neat idea, and many believed that the feature would eventually become a native part of Android. Now it seems that has come true, as there is a new notification type that developers can use in Android P.

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