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Android 9.0 Pie is here: How to get it and what’s new

Android 9.0 Pie is here: How to get it and what's new

It’s official: Android P is Android 9 Pie and it is rolling out on Google Pixel devices

The wait is finally over! Google has officially rolled out the stable version of Android 9.0 for smartphones. The next version of Android operating system is called Android 9 Pie and is now available on Google’s own Pixel Android phones via over-the-air (OTA) updates. These are Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.

“The latest release of Android is here! And it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you. Today we’re officially introducing Android 9 Pie,” Sameer Samat, VP of product management, Android & Google Play wrote in the official blog that announced availability of the Android 9 P .

Besides the Pixel phones, the Android 9 Pie will also be soon available on phones that were part of the Android P beta program. Google said “Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall! We are also working with many other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.”

However, Essential phone has already started receiving Android Pie.”We’re proud to bring Android 9 Pie to Essential Phone the same day it’s released! Check your phone now for the update,” Essential tweeted out from its official twitter account.

Coming to Android 9 Pie, the new OS “harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to give you more from your phone. Now it’s smarter, faster and adapts as you use it,” says Google.

Features like Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness uses machine learning to prioritize system resources for the apps, which means these will give your phone greater longevity and your phone’s screen will also adjust better to surrounding conditions. Further, new features like App Actions predicts what you’re about to do, so that you get to your next task more quickly.

Also, Google has replaced the traditional three-button navigation bar with a new gesture-based system in Android 9 Pie. It is a new gesture-based system that’s similar to what Apple uses on the iPhone X. You can simply switch between apps and get to what you need more naturally by using gestures.

Another feature ‘Slices’ brings relevant parts of your favorite apps to the surface. For instance, you can see real-time pricing and driver ETAs from services like Uber or Lyft when you are searching for a ride. However, Slices will not be available until the Fall for non-beta users.

However, another notable feature of Google’s IO presentation about Android P was a broad feature called “Digital Wellbeing.” This feature includes ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode that blocks both sound and notifications, while ‘Wind Down’ mode will set a daily schedule to get your phone ready for bed and even turn fade your screen to gray to avoid any disturbance. Also, included in Digital Wellbeing is ‘App dashboard’ that shows users how much time they spend on apps through visual graphs and pie charts, whereas ‘App Timers’ will allow users to set time limits on apps and when that time is up, the app is paused for the rest of the day.

However, these Digital Wellbeing features will be offered as a beta for Pixel users. These features will roll out only this fall for non-beta users. The signup for the beta is here.

“We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you — and work better for you — the more you use it. From predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take, to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, to helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day, Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone,” said Samat.

Those who own the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL and Essential Phone can upgrade their devices to Android P by going to Settings > System > System Update and tapping on ‘download and install’

Also read:  Android phones cannot have more than 2 notches on display, says Google

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10 Best Android Emulators for Windows PC and Mac

android simulators for PC

Android gained popularity after Google took over the nascent startup and released it publicly in 2007. Since then, Android emulators for PC gained popularity for various reasons.

Some use it for trying different apps before installing on their phones while others try it for business purposes. A new breed of users has emerged as well who utilize Android emulators for gaming. It can be attributed to games like PUBG Mobile

What is an Android emulator?

An Android emulator is an Android Virtual Device(AVD) that emulates the Android environment for other devices to run the Android operating system. It is generally used for testing, bug-finding, running various apps on a virtually controlled system on devices other than actual Android phones.

It lets the host(mainly computer system) behave like another hardware or software system for different purposes. The idea of Android emulator gained traction with the release of Android SDK by Google, in 2007(2008 for Public)

List of some of the best Android emulators for PC

1. MemeU Play

First on the list is Android 5.1 Lolipop based Android emulator for Windows. It is among the most customizable Android emulators for PC in the segment.

The installation is quick and simple with no bloatware third-party apps to install like we come across in some emulators. The installer is also one fancy thing, I might add.

It takes around 2-3 minutes when launching for the first time. Time varies according to the processing power of your computer, among the performance of other components.

MemU, android emulators for PC

The emulator comes pre-loaded with some third party apps, preferably the ones sponsoring them so can’t really a complaint. There is no option to remove them. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry unless I’m running on 2 GIG of RAM and a Pentium 4 processor which really can’t handle multi-tasking.

One of the hot selling points of this emulator is Key Mapping. What Key-Mapping does is that you can put markers anywhere on the screen and assign a keyboard key or mouse button.
When you press that key or push a button, the controls or app present on that part of the screen gets pressed/triggered. It comes in handy when playing FPS, RPG or any game that require multiple button control.

The emulator is already keyboard-mouse compatible to an extent, worked with most of the games without any hiccup.

What I liked

Customizability: The emulator is flexible in terms of general resource usage. You can set the amount of RAM, Screen resolution, FPS, and graphics engine to be used by the emulator according to your machine’s capabilities.
Custom DNS, Root mode, and Cache performance policy can also be changed according to user’s requirements.

Key-mapping can help gamers play games with a variety of onscreen controls on the snap of a finger.

Cross-platform installation of apps is a bliss. You can browse folders present on Windows and install APKs directly without the intervention of Play store.

Even the option of synchronizing folders between Windows and emulator for a variety of purposes is provided. That makes it easier to transfer files from Windows filesystem to Emulator and vice-versa.

What I did not like

• Not really a con per se but Microphone integration could be more efficient given the stability the platform provides.

Download: HERE


2. Bluestacks 3

BlueStacks is one of the oldest emulators for Android out there that are still active in the market. It’s not a sin to say that perhaps it was the market-defining player during its peak days.

Blue Stacks 3 android emulator for windows

The key reason for its success was its ease of usability and access to the consumers. This android emulator is pretty easy to use and comes in FREE and PAID variants.

Installation is simple but filled with their sponsor ads. Setting up emulator is pretty easy. You launch the emulator and a welcome screen appears. You select the language and Google account sign window appears. Sign-in with a Google account and you are golden.

The ad-filled experience might be bitter-sweet for few as you launch the emulator, ad of some sponsored game appears in one tab.

Talking about ads and bloatware, the pre-installed apps are fewer than what you get on normal free versions of certain emulators. However, it is compensated by ads at various creative placement blocks

What I liked

• Ease of use. The emulator is extremely easy to use with one click Emulator setup.
• Separate key-mapping for different games
• Customizable resolution up to 4K
• Tabbed applications. Every application is windowed separately in a tab which can be closed
• Forum support. Being one of the segment leaders, Bluestacks has built quite a community on their forums. It is helpful for troubleshooting and creative aspects.

What I did not like

• Excessive ads. Given the competition in the freeware segment, competitors are not flooding your screen with ads.
• Lacks native Android experience. Users who are looking for vanilla Android experience might not entertain such an emulator.

Download: HERE


3. KOPlayer

Touted as the Android emulator for GAMING, it is an Android KitKat 4.4 operating system emulator.

In the era of Android P, this may seem like an obsolete choice for a general user. The emulator can be crucial for developers who are looking to test it on older versions of Android.

KOPlayer is a feature rich emulator, ideal for users looking to get the most of out if emulating experience.

Best Android emulator for PC

Android 4.4 is still used on over 11% of the smartphones based on Android OS, according to the official statistics by Google.

What I liked

• Drag and drop option between cross-platforms
• Dual-graphics option to switch according to the demand of the respective application
• Ease of access buttons on either side of the display
• One-click recording and basic editing. The edit video feature is pretty basic but still gets the thing done.

What I did not like

• It is not bug-free. Minor bugs pop up from time to time. One of them being unresponsiveness of the window.

Download: HERE


4. Nox Player

Amongst the list of best Android emulators for PC, this is one of the fastest, in terms of installation and operations. One click installation without any bloatware or third party apps.
The Android version is 4.4 KitKat.

Android emulator for PC

One of the things that stand out is the Macro step record option. You can record your steps in Macro recorder and re-enact them later.

Some apps only work for certain phone models and it really sucks when it is not compatible with the respective emulator.  This Android emulator has a workaround for that.

You need to hover over to settings. Set the respective smartphone model. By default, the only option you get is on Samsung smartphones. However, you set is on custom with the model of your choice with some custom presets available online.

You can drag and drop files from Windows to the emulator and vice-versa. It is a small but a useful feature.

For some odd reason, I could not find PUBG mobile on the Play Store. Only the competitors of the much-celebrated game were present.

What stands out

• Macro Recorder is helpful for developers, content creators
• You can lock the mouse to the emulator window. It is useful when playing video-games on the emulator so that your cursor/pointer does not fall out of the game’s scope.
• The full-screen mode is seamless. When I say seamless, it really is easy without any hiccup.

What can improve

• Computer resource usage for running the emulator can be optimized further.

Download: HERE


5. LeapDroid

Another Android Kitkat 4.4 based Android emulator for PC. Hands down the simplest Android emulator in the list.

free Android emulator for PC

Installation is fairly quick and bloatware free. There are no advanced features like the formerly mentioned emulators in the article.

You get Key Mapping feature to get around. The mouse 360-wheel mapping is something that is crucial while gaming. As soon as the emulator is installed, two virtual machines, named VM1 and VM2 are created. I honestly could not find a way to run more instances. However, two should suffice.

It is an easy going emulator for quick gaming and app testing/usage.

What I liked about it

• Simplicity
• Ease of use. The emulator is easy to operate and does not require a tutorial. I asked my neighbor’s kid who has a Samsung Tab. He found it easy to operate.
• Low resource usage

What could have been better

• APK integration from Windows
• Full screen(non-window) feature would have given a better emulation experience.

Download: HERE


6. Tencent Gaming Buddy

PUBG Mobile is possibly the most popular online multiplayer battle royale game. Well, if you are one of those people who love playing PUBG in leisure time then Tencent Gaming Buddy will definitely impress you.

This emulator is developed just to play PUBG Mobile on PC. Consequently, if you using an emulator to play PUBG then nothing will be better than Tencent Gaming Buddy.

Tencent Gaming Buddy helps to utilise your computer’s hardware to its full potential while playing PUBG. Furthermore, Tencent Gaming Buddy also supports GPU, which further enhances the gaming performance.

What I liked about it

  • Installation is pretty straightforward.
  • The emulator allows users to record the gameplay.
  • Ability to remap keys as per users preference.

What could have been better

  • Support for other games and applications.

Download: HERE


7. Bliss

Bliss is a capable Android emulator that runs on a PC via a virtual machine. You can install and run this emulator using a USB stick. We recommend this emulator only to tech-savvy or a pro user.

The major highlight of Bliss is that its the only emulator that runs on Android 8.0 Oreo. Furthermore, since this emulator is directly installed on your PC, the performance is comparatively better than other emulators.

As for downsides, Bliss is not well optimized for every different PC configuration. Lastly, many normal users will find the installation process of Bliss fairly difficult.

What I liked about it

  • Bliss helps you to actually run Android OS natively run on your PC.
  • Bliss runs on Android 8.0 Oreo
  • It definitely serves the need of pro users.

What could have been better

  • The installation process is fairly complicated.
  • This emulator is not well-optimized for different PC configurations.

Download: HERE


8. Droid4X

Droid4X is another impressive android emulator for playing games and running apps on Windows PC. This emulator offers a very simple and easy to navigate UI. Droid4X runs on an older version of Android, so latest games and apps won’t be compatible with this emulator.

Installing and using Droid4X is fairly simple. Surprisingly, Droid4X is compatible with both Windows and MacOS.

As for downsides, Droid4X’s development was completely stopped on March 28th, 2016. That said, you can still download and use it, but you won’t get the best hardware and software optimization.

What I liked about it

  • Compatible with both Windows and MacOS.
  • Simple to install and use.

What could have been better

  • It’s no more in development so bugs and compatibility issues won’t be fixed.

Download: HERE


9. Remix OS Player

Remix OS Player is the next perfect emulator for using Android OS on PC. This capable emulator offers reliable performance and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. You can use almost every Android game or application on Remix OS Player

Remix OS Player is actually a dedicated gaming emulator. Furthermore, this emulator also supports Nvidia graphics cards. Consequently, you will get exceptionally great gaming performance on Remix OS Player.

Remix OS Player offers customizable keyboard controls, which helps in improving the gameplay. Overall, its a perfect emulator for running applications and playing graphics-intensive smartphone titles on PC.

What I liked about it

  • Supports Nvidia GPU
  • One click installation process

What could have been better

  • Support to AMD GPU’s should be added

Download: HERE


10. AMIDuOS

The last Android emulator on the list is AMIDuOS. Similar to every other Android emulator you can run applications and play games on AMIDuOS. The free version of AMIDuOS runs on Android Jellybean while the paid version of AMIDuOS runs on Android Lollipop.

AMIDuOS supports 3D acceleration, this helps run graphics intensive games like PUBG Mobile run smoothly. Moreover, this emulator uses Windows OpenGL drivers for improved frame rates and enhancing the overall gameplay.

This capable emulator can use your computer’s hardware to its full potential. Lastly, AMIDuOs also supports SD card emulation and allows you to configure the SD card size with an easy-to-use configuration tool.

What I liked about it

  • One click installation process
  • AMIDuOS is ARM v7 compatible, so it can run most popular ARM applications as well.

What could have been better

  • Newer Android OS

Download: HERE

It’s your turn now

I have listed some of the finest Android emulators for PC that are available out there. The right emulator for you will be solely based on your personal preference. It can be baffling for you to chose the best android emulator. I suggest you take it slow. Try the ones you find falling in your criterion.

Also Read

Did I miss an emulator worth mentioning? Then let me know via the comment box

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Android P may get iPhone X-like gesture-based navigation bar

Google appears to be testing iPhone X-like gesture control in Android P

Google appears to be testing iPhone X-like gesture control in Android P

Looks like Google just leaked the iPhone X-style navigation gesture feature that may feature in its upcoming version of OS, Android P.

In an unrelated blog post about the “DNS over TLS support in Android P Developer Preview”, Google accidentally shared a screenshot from a device that appears to be running the second Android P Developer Preview. The screenshot suggested that Google is working on a possible iPhone X-like gesture navigation interface to replace the existing buttons for Android P. The post contained a screenshot of the DNS settings with a navigation bar that is completely different from what is currently on Android 8.1 Oreo.

The solid circular shape center home button is replaced by a pill shape button like on the iPhone X. Further, the blue color scheme indicates that the phone is running the Google Pixel 2 XL theme. Also, the Recent Apps button or multi-tasking button, is completely missing. However, the back button is still there, which according to Stephen Hall from 9to5Google, is only shown contextually.

Shortly after the blog post publication, Google quickly edited the screenshot to crop out the navigation bar. However, you can check out the original, uncropped image, which is still on Google’s servers by clicking here.

Whether the leaked screenshot is true or not, can only be confirmed once Google officially announces it. With the Google I/O 2018 coming up next month, we are hopeful to learn more about Android P.

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Cortana will soon read out your Android text messages

Cortana-Update-Android

Cortana for Android beta can now read messages aloud

Just less than a month ago, Microsoft had updated the Cortana app for Android that brought the ability to send text messages using the user’s voice. Now, Microsoft is rolling out a beta program for Cortana app on Android that can read incoming messages aloud.

Beta program testers will now find a toggle in the Settings menu titled as “Read incoming messages aloud.” Cortana by default will read messages loudly only when it is connected to a Bluetooth device when switched on. However, there are also alternatives to have the assistant always read messages aloud, or only when connected to a wired headset.

This feature will make it easier for the users’ to use their phone hands-free especially in situations such as cooking or where one is driving a car while connected to a Bluetooth handset. In such a scenario, the app can read out messages to the user who can then respond via return message using only their voice.

Cortana already allows Android users to interact with texts from their PCs. It is also capable of reading out SMS messages on Windows phones.

Since the SMS feature is already in beta stage, we can expect it to roll out on the release version of the app in the coming months. However, those who are Cortana beta testers on Android and do not wish to wait for the official release can check out the new feature with the app’s latest update. If you are not a Cortana beta tester, you can go to Cortana’s beta page to sign up and become a tester.

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Facebook has been collecting call and text data from Android users for years

Facebook is collecting call details and data for years

Facebook accused of accumulating text messages and phone call data from Android devices

Facebook has always been blamed for invading its users’ privacy by leaking its personal information and profile to third parties for advertisements and marketing purposes. Recently, it was revealed that a political data research company, Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from millions of Facebook accounts without users’ knowledge and consent on the social network.

If this was not enough, Facebook now has been embroiled in a new controversy for collecting users’ contacts, text messages, and call history data through the Facebook app installed on Android devices for the past several years.

Citing several users tech site Arstechnica said that when the users’ requested for a Facebook archive, they were provided with a ZIP file to download, which on downloading had complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages sent and received between 2015 and 2017. However, those using Apple’s iOS operating system are not seeing the data in their downloads.

One such Android user, Dylan McKay, a New Zealand-based programmer, who was the first to discover took to Twitter to tweet the issue. He said that when he requested for a Facebook archive, he found that the downloaded data had almost two years of call history from his Android phone, with metadata including contact names, phone numbers, and the length of calls made and received.

Other Twitter users supported McKay’s findings, as did Sean Gallagher of Arstechnica, who said his own downloadable data archive contained call log data and text messages “for a certain Android device I used in 2015 and 2016.” However, not all Android users are seeing this.

According to Gallagher, it depends on what kind of permissions one has previously granted on older versions of Android, which will continue into remain in the future versions unless one changes them.

If you granted permission to read contacts during Facebook’s installation on Android a few versions ago—specifically before Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)—that permission also granted Facebook access to call and message logs by default. The permission structure was changed in the Android API in version 16. But Android applications could bypass this change if they were written to earlier versions of the API, so Facebook API could continue to gain access to call and SMS data by specifying an earlier Android SDK version. Google deprecated version 4.0 of the Android API in October 2017—the point at which the latest call metadata in Facebook users’ data was found. Apple iOS has never allowed silent access to call data.

When Arstechnica contacted Facebook to explain why it collected phone and SMS data without users’ knowledge, a Facebook spokesperson responded in a fact check” blog post on Sunday, wherein he stated:

Call and text history logging is part of an opt-in feature for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android. This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about and provides you with a better experience on Facebook. People have to expressly agree to use this feature. If at any time, they no longer wish to use this feature they can turn it off in settings, or here for Facebook Lite users, and all previously shared call and text history shared via that app is deleted. While we receive certain permissions from Android, uploading this information has always been opt-in only.

We introduced this feature for Android users a couple of years ago. Contact importers are fairly common among social apps and services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with. This was first introduced in Messenger in 2015 and later offered as an option in Facebook Lite, a lightweight version of Facebook for Android.

When an Android user signs up for Messenger or Facebook Lite or logs into Messenger on their device, they are given the option to continuously upload their contacts as well as their call and text history. “This lets friends find each other on Facebook,” the blog post states.

Certainly, the users are provided with the option to skip that step. “If at any point, you no longer wish to continuously upload this information, you can easily turn this feature off in your settings,” the blog post adds. “You can also to turn off continuous call and text history logging while keeping contact uploading enabled.”

The company also reiterated, that “We never sell this data, and this feature does not collect the content of your text messages or calls.” However, it did not provide a reason as to why exactly it needs phone call and text message information.

If you want to know if Facebook has been logging your calls and text, you can check your own data archive on Facebook. Go to Settings (facebook.com/settings), and select Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of the General Account Settings section, and click Start My Archive. Allow the downloading process to complete. Once done, you will receive an email from Facebook with a link to your download.

Source: Arstechnica

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Google Launches Android P Developer Preview 1

Android P Developer Preview 1 released: Here’s what is new and how to install it

Finally after a lot of speculations and rumors, Google has announced its next major version of its mobile operating system – Android P (referred internally at Google as “Pistachio Ice Cream”).

The search giant has launched the first developer preview of Android P with updated SDK with system images Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL phones, and the official Android Emulator along with support for new features and APIs.

While there are lots of new features, one of the most notable is the built-in support for display cutouts (read: notches) for all the new phones that decided to emulate the notch. Android P introduces support for the IEEE 802.11mc Wi-Fi protocol, also known as Wi-Fi Round Trip Time (RTT), which allows you to take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps. Devices will be able to view the distance to Wi-Fi access points, which means it will be able to tell accurate location that is within 1-2 meters.

Android P also introduces several enhancements to notifications, such as support for images and conversation participants, suggest AI-powered smart replies, set semantic action for an intent, and much more. Further, the Quick Settings menu has also been tweaked. It has the ability to access streams from multiple physical cameras at once along with built-in support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) VP9 Profile 2, HEIF and Media APIs. A multi-camera API so that an Android app can individually request the data from more than one camera sensor at once. It also includes consistent UI for fingerprint authentication, and privacy improvements to restrict what apps can do in the background.

Besides the above, there are many improvements made to security, privacy, Kotlin optimizations, power efficiency, ART performance, and more. You can read more information about all of the new features and updated APIs that are included in the first Android P developer preview here.

The first Android P developer preview is available for download from developer.android.com. However, this preview won’t be released to the Android Beta Program, which allows users to get early Android builds via OTA (over-the-air) updates on select devices. Google has made the first preview solely available by manual download and flash, to warn that the preview is solely for developers, and not intended for consumer use.

Meanwhile, the next preview will arrive in May, which will be a beta release. The final update will be made available to the public in the third quarter of 2018. More information about Android P are expected to be shared by Google at the Google I/O Developer Conference 2018, which begins on May 8th. Keep watching this space for more updates!!!

Source: ZDNet

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Android P could turn your smartphone into a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse

Android P could allow you to use your smartphone as a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard

The next version of Android will turn your smartphone into a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard

With the Google I/O Conference 2018 just a couple of months’ away, one can expect Google to release the first version of Android P Developer Preview in the coming weeks.

The two important features that are expected to be coming with Android P (referred internally at Google as “Pistachio Ice Cream”) are revamped Material Design interface and support for atypical display types.

However, according to a new report by XDA Developers, suggest that Android P could add support for Bluetooth HID (human interface device) profile service that will turn your Android device into a wireless Bluetooth Keyboard or Mouse. Although, the Bluetooth HID profile concept has been around for a while, but Google never supported it until now.

This newest discovery was made by a XDA developer who found two commits to the OS enabling Bluetooth HIDD. Once the Bluetooth HID feature is enabled, developers will be able to include the feature into their apps, which will allow your smartphone to be used as an input device for a laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2 are likely to be the few of the first devices to get the Android P update and access to the new features. While Google has not yet confirmed the news, we can expect to know more about the new OS when the Android P Developer Preview 1 is rolled out on Pi Day next week.

Source: XDA

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Android P to get new iPhone ‘X’ style notch design in 2018, says Google

Google’s next Android P update is said to embrace iPhone X style notch design

There is no denying that even the top smartphone manufacturers try to copy or clone some of the best smartphone features of its competitors and implement it in their devices so that they can attract more consumers and expand their market.

Apparently, Google is looking to enhance the design of its upcoming operating system, which is also expected to be a complete overhaul of its software, in a bid to attract more iOS users and make them switch to Android, reports Bloomberg citing sources close to Google.

Android P (internally referred as Pistachio Ice Cream), which is expected to be Google’s next major Android update, will be seen “mimicking” Apple’s new “notch” at the top of iPhone X that is assumed to be implemented in Google’s “new generation” of Android smartphones. By embracing the iPhone X style notch design, Google is looking to make its presence felt in the flagship and premium segment.

“While Android dominates the middle and low-end of the global smartphone market, Apple controls much of the high-end with users who spend more on apps and other services. Embracing the notch may help change that. The design will mean more new Android phones with cutouts at the top of their screens to fit cameras and other sensors. That will likely support new features, helping Android device makers keep up with similar Apple technology.

“What’s unlikely to change much is Android’s nagging problem: Most of the billion-plus Android devices globally run outdated versions of the operating system, exposing security holes and holding back Google’s newest mobile innovations.

“Alphabet Inc.’s Google controls the Android software, while other companies manufacture the devices. These partners can also tweak the software to their specific needs, so not all Android phones will have notches. Indeed, when the iPhone X came out in November, Samsung Electronics Co., the largest Android phone maker, mocked the feature in a commercial.

“Still, building notch capabilities into Android suggests Google expects the iPhone X look to catch on more broadly,” Bloomberg reported.

Android P is expected to integrate more tightly with Google’s Assistant, improve smartphone’s battery life and support new designs, like multiple screens and foldable displays. It will also allow third-party app developers to integrate the AI in their apps for a complete smooth function. Google is also thinking of adding the assistant into the search bar on the Android home screen, but “neither of these changes are finalized for introduction this year.”

Also, we had recently reported that Google’s Android P is expected to feature an inbuilt voice recorder with a call recording tone that will be played every fifteen seconds to warn the other person in the conversation that a recording is in progress. The sound will be added to the outgoing audio stream so that the party on the other side can hear it.

With Google expected to announce its next version of Android operating system, Android P, at the Google I/O Conference to be held later this year, we can expect more rumors and speculations coming our way until the official announcement is made.

Source: Bloomberg

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Google’s Android Messages Could Soon Let You Text From Your Computer

Google’s Android Messages Could Soon Let You Text From Your Computer

Google looking to come up with web version for Android Messages

Although Google has its own standalone messaging apps, such as Allo, Hangouts, Voice, and Android Messages, it is still lagging behind its competitors such as Apple’s iMessage, Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp. Hence, Google is looking to enhance its default SMS application ‘Android Messages’ on its Nexus and Pixel devices by bringing some major changes.

In a recent update to Android Messages app, a hidden code was found within the app that indicates Google is preparing to release a web-based service of the app, which will allow users to send texts, photos/videos and share files or locations, reports Android Police.

Another upgrade that appears to be in the works is messaging over Wi-Fi and viewing the messaging status (typing, delivered, read, etc.). There are also clues of Google setting up payments sharing feature in the app via Google Pay.

Currently, the project is codenamed “Ditto”, but the launch title is expected to be “Messages for Web” when it is officially rolled out.

“There’s a new version of Android Messages rolling out for the phones. So far, we haven’t seen any significant changes to the UI, but huge things are happening under the surface,” reports Android Police.

Similar in functionality to WhatsApp Web, this feature may require users to scan a QR code to link their smartphones and PCs, after which it would allow them to send text. The feature appears to be partially implemented in the latest Android Messages 2.9 APK, but one cannot send an actual text yet. It might support for browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer.

“Users will be guided to visit a website on the computer they want to pair with the phone, then simply scan a QR code. They will be able to send and receive messages in the web interface and it will link with the device to do the actual SMS/MMS/RCS communication through their network carrier,” the report added.

Google has yet to make any official announcements regarding implementation of these new features in a future version of Android Messages.

“It’s possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely,” Android Police notes. “Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it’s officially announced and released.”

Therefore, until we officially hear from Google, it is better to take these rumors with a pinch of salt.

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Android P might include native function to record calls

Android P might include native function to record calls

Android P: The next version of Android to offer call recording support

While call recording functionality has existed within Android over the years, Google often places restrictions on developers’ access. To use the call recording functionality on Android, one needs to install a third party application, as the system itself does not allow call recordings directly.

However, the latest commits which are available in AOSP (Android Open Source Project) site since February 2 indicate that this could change with Android P (or Android 9.0), the next iteration of Android’s operating system.

Apparently, some codes refer to the existence of “call recording tone”, which means Google is likely to integrate call recording capabilities. The codes reveal the support of a 1400Hz frequency tone that will be played every fifteen seconds to warn the other person in the conversation that a recording is in progress. The note indicates that the sound will be added to the outgoing audio stream so that the party on the other side can hear it.

“The tone itself is said to be of the 1,400Hz variety, meaning people of all ages should be able to hear it without any issues, with one of the commits referring to it revealing that it’s meant to be played every 15 seconds while the conversation is being recorded, presumably as to remind the person who didn’t initiate the recording that it’s still participating in one,” the report says.

In this way, the recording function will “meet regulatory compliance requirements,” cites commits note. However, each country may set different rules for privacy protection. As a result, the commits have implemented a feature that will allow the carriers to decide whether or not they want the call recording and the sound to be heard every 15 seconds.

“Adding carrier configuration option to specify whether the carrier requires the incall recording tone be played,” reads the information available on one of the commits.

Currently, it is unclear whether Google will new provide APIs (application programming interface) that will allow developers to integrate the call recording functionality into their apps. However, the built-in Android P feature is likely to work with recording apps after getting the required permissions, as noted in the commits.

Google will be announcing its next version of Android operating system, Android P, at the Google I/O Conference to be held later this year.

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