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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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30

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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58

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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14

Android P feature spotlight: HDR VP9 video and HEIF image format now supported

HEIF, or 'High Efficiency Image File Format,' is a relatively new format that was developed by the MPEG Group in 2015. It's designed to maintain twice as much image data as a JPEG image, while keeping the file size roughly identical. Android P now includes native support for this file format, along with a decoder for HDR VP9 video.

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21

Android P developer preview images and OTA files are now live, but no beta program yet

Android P is making its first appearance today, and you can give it a shot right now if you've got the right hardware. The system images are now available on the Google developer site, but there aren't as many supported devices this time around. All you've got to choose from are the first and second generation Pixel phones.

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54

Android P feature spotlight: Google introduces support for display cutouts and notches [sigh]

If the design of the iPhone X is notcha cup of tea (sorry), a slew of incoming copy-cat designs from Android OEMs is sure to get your blood boiling. Google's opinion on this is unknown, but it knows Android devices with notches are on their way and appreciates the need to accommodate such hardware designs with its next OS version.

Android P will support screen cutouts natively, with APIs to manage how content is displayed on panels with various bites taken out of them. The system will manage status bar height so that it matches any notch, allowing app content to be separated out easily.

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189

Google announces Android P: Notch support, multi-camera API, indoor positioning, and more

We expected Android P to land in mid-March, possibly as a whimsical reference to Pie day (3/14), but it turns out we don't have to wait this long. Android P is now official and as with years past, we're getting the first developer preview today with zero allusion as to what the full name might be. The image above could be a bit reminiscent of popsicles, but that's possibly Google just trolling everyone.

There are many new features and APIs available to developers, but before we get started on that, let me answer your most urgent questions:

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31

Android P SDK and emulator images appear in Android SDK Manager

If you've been curious about the next version of Android, there's a hint that something special may be coming soon. Check the Android SDK Manager on this morning and you'll spot packages for a new API level: Android P. There are packages for the SDK itself, plus Android TV, Google APIs, and Google Play variants of emulator images for x86.

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