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series_android_p_feature_spotlights

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Android 9 Pie feature tracker: Everything that made it in

It's been a long journey traveling from P to Pie through the Android 9 developer previews, but Google has recently finished its newest version of Android. The platform has worked its way down Alphabet's alphabet all the way to "P," with this latest version first landing back with the March 7th release of developer preview 1. We've since learned that Android P stands for Pie, but that's only one among a long list of changes present in Android 9, and we've been keeping track of all of them. 

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[Update: Now widely available in Pie update] Android P Beta 2 adds 157 new emoji, brings back some gender-inclusive ones

Android P Beta 2 / DP3 just landed earlier today, and while we're digging in to look for new features, a few of the more visually apparent additions have already been revealed. Today's release includes support for Unicode/Emoji 11.0—which was technically only officially released yesterday—as well as some tweaked gender-inclusive family and couple emoji which more closely follow the Unicode standard. 

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[Update: US English only] First-gen Pixel's Overview screen allows for text selection on Android 9 Pie

A cool little feature in the Android P Developer Previews was that you could select text and images from any item on the Overview screen. Unfortunately, it stopped working on original Pixel devices — intentionally, it seems, as Google support marked an Issue Tracker complaint about it "Won't Fix (Intended Behavior)." But the feature has now made it to the full release of Android 9 Pie, even on 2016 Pixels.

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Assistant-launching microphone button removed from Pixel launcher in Android P DP5

Moving the Google search box to the bottom of the Pixel launcher was a divisive change, although it makes complete sense to me. From the moment the first developer preview of Android P was released, Google began messing around with unimportant things like the transparency of the launcher dock, but one useful little addition was that of a microphone icon in the search widget that could be used to summon the Assistant. As of the latest (and final) developer preview, the mic has vanished.

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Android P gets a new auto-rotate icon in Developer Preview 5

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.

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[Update: Google says it's coming back] Android P doesn't support WPS, and it may be gone for good

It was recently pointed out to us that Android P lacks support for the Wi-Fi Protected Setup authentication mode. WPS, as its known, is a protocol that allows a client Wi-Fi device to connect to a router using a PIN or a push-button and is widely regarded as being deeply insecure.

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Google has removed the option to reorder homescreens on Android P's default launchers

It's been years since I've used anything more than two homescreens on my Android devices, let alone tried to reorder any of them in different ways. However, if switching your screens around is something you're used to, prepare yourself for disappointment with Android P. The Pixel Launcher has removed the feature, and seemingly so has Launcher 3.

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[Updated: Still there for some on first use] Android P: 'Turn off mobile data?' quick setting prompt has disappeared in DP4

Since Android 8.1 (even 8.0 on Pixel phones), the OS has had a divisive prompt that warns you if you toggle mobile data on or off using the quick settings toggle. Personally, I find this useful, since I never turn data off intentionally. If I do, it's probably by mistake, so this extra step is a good way of mitigating against that risk.

Many users were less enthused (check the comments) when this prompt was introduced, as it made toggling data that little bit more difficult. If you do this often, I can see why it might be frustrating.

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[Update: Working again] Android P shows current weather conditions on the lock screen and in ambient mode

Remember when you could add whatever widgets you wanted to the Android lock screen? Unfortunately, those days are long gone, but Android P is bringing a subset of that functionality back. If you liked using weather widgets on your lock screen, you'll be happy to know that Android P now displays the weather underneath the clock.

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[Update: Back for some] Android P test brings upcoming events to your lock screen

Android P's second developer preview is making quite a few changes to the lock screen. We already discussed its display of the weather on the lock screen and ambient display, but it turns out that upcoming events are being shown on the lock screen now as well.

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