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Android Pie Is Here, Promising Smarter, Simplified Interface | News & Opinion

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Google has released the next version of Android, and it’s called Pie.

Starting today, Google is rolling out the new Android 9.0 update to the company’s Pixel smartphones. Other handsets from Sony, OnePlus, and Essential will begin receiving the update by the end of this fall, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

Android Pie, which was simply known as P, includes a whole host of new AI-powered features that are designed to make your phone smarter, and simplify the experience of using it. Perhaps, the most visible change is a tweak to Android’s three navigation buttons on the bottom of the interface. Google has chosen to replace them with a pill-shaped on-screen home button, and a tiny diminutive back button.

To see a preview of the apps you’re using, all you need to do is simply swipe up from the home button. You’ll be presented with a carousel view of every app. To get to the phone’s app drawer, you’ll need to swipe up twice from the home button. “You’ll notice small changes like these across the platform, to help make the things you do all the time easier than ever,” Google said in its blog post.

Among the other upgrades is a new “Adaptive Battery” system, which promises to help your phone save battery life by better restricting idle apps that run in the background. The phone will also attempt to predict what apps you like to run by displaying short-cuts to them during certain pairs of the day.

“Say it’s Tuesday morning and you’re preparing for your commute: you’ll be suggested actions like navigating to work on Google Maps or resuming an audiobook with Google Play Books,” the company said. “And when you put in headphones after work, you may see options to call your mom or start your favorite Spotify playlist.”

Another big addition is the new “Digital Wellbeing” system, which introduces a dashboard that’ll tell you how much time you’re spending your phone. The same system includes a few tools to help keep your device use down, like setting time limits on your favorite apps and new “Wind Down” mode that’ll fade your phone’s screen into grayscale right before bedtime.

Unfortunately, not all the new features in Android Pie will be immediately live starting today. The upcoming Digital Wellbeing system, for instance, will officially launch on Pixel phones in the fall. However, the beta version of the feature will be available to users with a Pixel phone, who can sign up here.

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