Google just dropped the fifth developer preview of Android P and there aren't an awful lot of changes for us to pick through. That makes sense since it's the last beta before the final release later in the year, which we can expect to look very much like it does right now. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed one small change, however, in the shape of a new auto-rotate icon.
As with all developer previews, Android P continues to surprise us with small but quite useful changes. This one is something I've always wanted since I keep my phone locked to portrait to avoid the flip flopping of the screen when reading in bed for example, but there are few instances I prefer landscape like when viewing photos or videos. Until now I had to toggle auto-rotate to do that then remember to lock it again, or use a third-party app that specifies rotation state on a per-app basis. But Android P has a nifty solution.
The Google app is an interesting beast within the Android Ecosystem. It provides speech recognition, Google Now, multiple APIs, and even a launcher. Next to Google Play Services, the Google app is by far the most multi-faceted apk most of us have on our phones and tablets. The latest couple of updates teased users of the Android M Developer Preview 3 with brief access to Now On Tap before it was quickly taken away with a promise that it was still "coming soon". There were also a few other smaller details waiting to be found in a teardown, including the likely return of rotation support on the Google Now Launcher and some more forward motion for offline voice commands.
Despite its appearance on Android One devices, we've had complete radio silence from Google about Android 5.1. Still, as long as it is in the wild, we're going to keep hearing about it. In this case, we have found out that the animation associated with toggling the auto-rotate feature has come back in 5.1 after disappearing in 5.0. Take a look.
This might not exactly change the way you use your Android phone or tablet, but it's nice. Google has done some big talking about being more of a design-focused company, which means the minutiae like this have to be important.
You know the routine - you're browsing Android Police, scrolling through our amazing content when you lie down in bed, only to have your phone go crazy. The narrow content you were scrolling through has switched from portrait to landscape view, even though the phone is still facing the same direction relative to your head as it was before. At best, you stand your phone back up, pull down your notification shade, and press the toggle. At worst, you navigate away from the app into system settings and dig around for the display options. Rotate on Shake is faster than both of these options.