Android P (9.0): What’s New?

The public beta version of Android P was rolled out on May 8 and some of the exciting features were discussed at Google I/O 2018. If you’ve tuned into the Google I/O 2018 live stream or been there, you must be aware of the features in Android P or Android 9.0 (as you prefer). In this article, we’ve compiled a big list of new features introduced with Android P.

What Devices Will Be Getting Android P Beta?

The list of devices that support Android P beta update currently (in case you want to join the beta bandwagon after knowing the features) are as follows:

  • Essential Phone
  • Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL
  • Nokia 7 Plus
  • Oppo R15 Pro
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
  • Vivo X21UD
  • Vivo X21
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

For more information about the Android P update to your device, you should check out Google’s dev blog.

Android P: So, What’s New?

1. A Whole New Design

The design has been completely revamped with round corners, new icons, and a relatively new color scheme which makes the new UI look like that it has been inspired by the Flux White theme available on the Play Store for a theme engine aimed for rooted Android devices to help them utilize custom skins on top of stock Android.

Even though the design is not super unique, it is still pretty impressive and does focus on making the user experience a lot more cleaner and intuitive.

2. Notification Enhancements

There are some visual enhancements and some advances in the functionalities of how a notification helps you. For example, now you can copy your 2FA codes received via SMS directly with a single tap. It basically detects the messaging containing the One-time passcode or the 2FA code, and when you tap on “Copy” from the notifications (or the messaging app), your code will directly get copied for use.

So, you don’t have to select the code and copy/paste the authentication code received via SMS. It is definitely a useful feature for Android users in a country like India because a lot of reputable services rely on 2FA codes / One-time passcode for authentication via SMS (instead of using code generators) in those countries.

3. New System Navigation

New system navigation in Android P giving faster access to recents and predicted apps.

With Android P, Google has decided to introduce smart gestures for navigation (similar to the ones on iPhone X) over the soft button keys.

The gestures might be confusing for some and would really take several days to get comfortable using it over the soft keys. For instance, swiping up all the way up to launch the app drawer or swiping halfway to see the recent apps may not be the go-to solution for some.

But, the gestures definitely add more value to the user experience once you get acquainted with them.

4. Indoor Positioning Using Wi-Fi

android p

With the support of Wi-Fi RTT (Round-Trip-Time) IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol, Android P can calculate the distance to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots or access points to approximate your position indoors. So, this could facilitate a service which would be responsible for in-building navigation, and more accurate position tracking.

5. Adaptive Battery Feature

android p

 

Android P brings in a lot of A.I implementations and the “Adaptive Battery” feature is one among them. With the help of machine learning, it will study your usage patterns (which app you use the most/rare) and prioritize the utilization of system resources by the applications you have on your device.

6. App Actions Feature

App Actions surfacing apps in the All Apps screen.

App actions is a feature closely related to the frequently used applications displayed in the first row of the App Drawer. Just like you observe the most used applications in the first row of the app drawer, you can notice certain “action shortcuts” below it for even quicker access to the tasks you want to achieve.

For example, you regularly utilize the Skype app to call “Martha“. So, after a while, you will notice a direct action shortcut to call Martha using Skype app with a single tap instead of launching the Skype app separately and searching for Martha.

7. Smart Reply In Notifications

android p

I should have mentioned this feature as an enhancement to the existing system of notifications but it’s not just a tweak, it is a very useful addition. You may have observed the smart replies while using “Inbox” app by  Gmail.

If you haven’t, let me explain a bit – “When someone sends you an email, and you try to send a reply – Google’s Inbox app suggests you some preset replies for a quick reply to the email”. Now, with Android P, you can start utilizing this feature for other 3rd party applications as well (the dev team of the app needs to add the functionality for you to use it).

8. Text Magnifier

When you select a text, you will get a magnified view of it just above the selected text to easily set the position of the text cursor.

9. Background Restrictions

If an application has a very high background battery usage, Android will automatically detect that and list it in the Battery settings for you to easily restrict the background usage of that particular app in a single tap. So, if you observe an abnormal battery drain, simply head to the battery settings and check whether an app with high background activity is the culprit.

10. Biometric Prompt

android P

While purchasing something / confirming something that requires biometric authentication, Android will now be able to display its own biometric authentication prompt (instead of a separate dialogue prompt designed for the app).

11. Protected Confirmation

There have been several under-the-hood improvements to provide better security in Android P. Here, the Android Protected Confirmation feature introduces a Trust Execution Environment to verify user’s confirmation to initiate an action (such as initiating a sensitive transaction).

12. Dashboard

android p

Android P brings in a dashboard where you can see how much you have been using the device (and what you’ve been doing). For example, the number of times you’ve unlocked the device, time spent on YouTube, and so on.

The dashboard feature will help you be more productive while analyzing the usage patterns.

13. App Timer

android p

Google did mention about the Digital Wellbeing of the users. App Timer is exactly a feature addressed to the same. It lets you set a timer for the applications you use so that you get notified when you use the app for a longer time.

14. Enhanced Do Not Disturb

Normally, the DND mode takes care of the notification sounds but not the visual interruptions (you still check your screen when a notification pops up even with the DND mode enabled). But, with Android P, you get the option to disable the visual interruptions for notifications. You can enable the feature by activating the “Shush” mode in the Do Not Disturb settings.

15. Wind Down Feature

android p

The “Wind Down” feature introduces a grayscale color scheme which makes everything look dull on your screen. When enabled, it reduces the strain while checking your smartphone just before going to sleep (thereby promoting Digital Wellbeing). The color scheme of the screen will automatically turn back to its original state in the morning.

16. Adaptive Brightness

You might have already heard about this feature on Android smartphones. But, this time, it is different.

Android will learn your preferences when you manually adjust the brightness and after a certain period of analyzing your behavior, it will automatically tweak the brightness in similar situations.

17. Battery Icon In Ambient Display

In Android P, you will now notice the battery percentage icon in the Ambient Display screen.

18. A New Screenshot Button

You no longer have to juggle between the volume down button and the power button to take a screenshot.

With Android 9.0, you just need to hold down the power button and you should notice a screenshot option in the power menu. It’s definitely a handy addition.

19. System UI Notifications

Don’t want the notification icon to show up when you take a screenshot?

Fret not, Android P has the solution to your problem.

You can now disable/enable some system notification icons to show up from within the App Notifications settings using the System UI Tuner.

20. Lockdown

If you want to temporarily disable the fingerprint sensor to prevent someone to forcibly unlock your device (usually an assailant), simply hold down the power button and tap on the “Lockdown” option.

You can unlock the device using the PIN/Passcode/Pattern, which will automatically re-activate the fingerprint authentication feature.

Wrapping Up

As we keep using the Android P beta, we will start noticing new things/features which we haven’t spotted yet. So, make sure to bookmark this article to check back for updates on what’s new in Android 9.0. If you are a developer, you might want to check Android’s developer blog for the detailed list of enhancements and features in Android P.

What do you think about Android 9.0? Are the features useful to you? Also, what could be the possible name for Android P? Is it going to be Android Pie?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Android P (9.0): What’s New? , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Review: Lumos is a Clever Smart Bike Helmet With Apple Watch-Enabled Turn Signals

Earlier this month, smart bike helmet Lumos debuted at Apple retail stores and online, leveraging technology to help make your ride safer. Outfitted with a total of 48 LEDs on the front and back in red, white, and yellow, the Lumos helmet significantly increases your visibility to drivers and pedestrians while also allowing you to signal upcoming turns.



Since its Kickstarter launch, Lumos has supported bike helmet turn signals using a two-button remote mounted on the handlebars, lighting up yellow LEDs on the corresponding side of the helmet at the front and rear. A brand-new feature adds Apple Watch gesture support, letting you calibrate the system to detect bicycle arm signals based on watch orientation and automatically turn on the left or right signals on the helmet accordingly.

My wife Laura is an avid cyclist, so she was a good test subject for the Lumos helmet, which she has taken out on several group rides over the past few weeks. She came away impressed with some of the helmet’s features and the comforting feeling of being more visible as it became darker in the evening, but other aspects still need some tweaking.

Installation

Mounting the turn signal remote is a relatively simple affair, using a pair of rubber rings to wrap around the handlebars and secure the remote base, and then the remote itself simply twists onto the base to lock it in. It’s an easy installation process that fits a variety of handlebar diameters, although if you’ve already got a headlight and bike computer mounted on your handlebars you might find yourself running out of room to mount the Lumos remote.

Remote base attached on left side of handlebars


In fact, given the other items already on her handlebars, Laura’s only option was to mount the remote base on her grip tape, which made securing it a bit tricky with the uneven and somewhat squishy surface. She would have preferred some sort of stem mounting option to keep it within easy reach on her crowded handlebars. But depending on the style of bike you ride and the accessories you have, the crowding may not be an issue for you.

Remote attached to base


Crowding issues aside, the simple installation process is a benefit for commuter cyclists in particular, making it easy to take the remote with you so that it doesn’t get stolen from your parked bike. The remote also needs to be recharged periodically, so easy installation and removal are key.

Getting on the Road and Signaling

Pairing everything up is also simple, just holding some buttons on the helmet and remote and coordinating with the iPhone app and then you’re good to go. It’s easy to use the remote to signal left and right turns, with large, easy-to-press buttons that light up while a turn is being signaled, although you do have to manually press the button again to turn off the signaling.

Gesture-based Apple Watch signaling should make life significantly easier while also encouraging riders to use arm signals that help make drivers aware of upcoming movements, although Laura had a bit of trouble getting it to work consistently at first. There is a calibration process that walks you through holding your left arm straight out to signal a left turn and then pointed upward to signal a right turn.

Yellow lights in chevron shape flash when signaling a left turn


The calibration process is quick, requiring you to hold your arm in a neutral position on the handlebars and then while signaling left and right, but once she was out on the road for her first ride, Laura found that gesture recognition was rather finicky. Initially, it would register only one direction, and after she stopped and recalibrated only the other direction would register. Several recalibrations during that ride failed to result in consistent signaling.

On her second ride, however, she apparently found a sweet spot in the calibration, as it was much more consistent in recognizing her arm movements and properly signaling. On the downside, limitations in the movements the watch’s accelerometer can detect did result in some unintended signaling. Waving to a friend or even scratching her nose activated the turn signals, and with your hands frequently moving around on the bike to adjust grip, wipe away sweat, or grab a drink of water, it’s easy to unintentionally activate the turn signals.

When using the Apple Watch to initiate turn signals on Lumos, you have to shake your wrist to turn off the signal once you’ve completed your turn, and Laura found that she had to shake rather vigorously to get the signals to turn off.

The helmet also beeps while the turn signal is activated, which gives you some important feedback considering you can’t see the lights on your head. The beeping is clearly audible to others around you, which can be a benefit or annoying depending on your environment and your biking companions, although you can adjust the frequency of the beeping.

The beeping is also nondirectional, as it comes from the main electronics center in the rear of the helmet. It would be nice if Lumos had a speaker on each side near your ears to give you audible confirmation of which signal is flashing. At the very least, different beeping tones or patterns for each direction would be helpful.



It would also be nice if the remote and Apple Watch worked better together, such as allowing either one to deactivate the turn signal regardless of which method was used to activate it, or having the appropriate button on the remote flash when the signal has been activated via Apple Watch. As it stands, the two methods of triggering the turn signal work essentially independently.

One interesting benefit to using Lumos is that it encourages more consistent use of arm signals in general. With many riders not adequately signaling their turning intentions, tying those signals into the watch on your wrist and your helmet gives you extra motivation to use those arm signals. Some of that is undoubtedly a novelty effect that will wear off with regular usage, but it still provides a bit of incentive to signal.

Lighting Modes

Lumos offers three distinct lighting modes, steady, rapid flash, and slow flash. Which one you use is largely personal preference based which one you believe will make you most visible, but it’s worth noting that the helmet’s battery will last significantly longer if you use one of the flashing modes rather than steady mode. Switching between modes is accomplished by short presses on the single power button at the rear of the helmet. It’s easy to do unless the helmet is on your head, so make sure you decide which mode you want before you start riding, or else pull over to a safe place to change it. For the most part, however, it’s simply going to be “set it and forget it” at the beginning of your ride.

Rear lights at dusk


Laura felt that all three modes were sufficiently bright, offering a comforting feeling that she could be easily seen on the road, particularly as it started to get darker out in the evening. The lights appeared roughly as bright as the taillight she uses on her road bike, although Lumos advises that the helmet should not be used as a substitute for mounted bike lights.

The front helmet lights in particular are only intended to make you more visible, and you’re still going to want a more focused headlight for your bike to help you see where you’re going and make you even more visible at dusk or at night.

Front lights in daylight


As with regular bike lights, Lumos really won’t do much for you during the day, particularly in bright sunlight.

Braking

Lumos has rolled out a new beta feature that illuminates extra red lights on the rear of the helmet to signal that you’re coming to a stop. The feature is intended to automatically sense hard braking using an accelerometer inside the remote control.

Unfortunately, Laura was unable to get the feature to activate properly during her on-road testing. The feature seemed to work in simulated stopping scenarios holding the remote in the hand off the bike, and it briefly worked during some testing on the bike when the helmet stopped registering gestures from her Apple Watch, so maybe there was some conflict between the watch and the remote. Hopefully this is something Lumos can continue to refine to make it perform more consistently, and as noted it is still considered a beta feature.

App Tracking

The Lumos iPhone app includes a variety of features, including battery status of the helmet and remote, as well as advanced tracking for your rides. With GPS tracking, the Lumos app will map your rides and break down various statistics like calories burned, watts generated, and more.



The app can also be set to automatically start tracking when the helmet senses you’ve begun riding, so you can’t forget to hit the start button on your tracking. Lumos also supports Strava and Apple Health, making it easy to integrate with your other exercise and health tracking.


Battery Life

Lumos says the battery on the helmet last about six hours in flashing mode or about three hours in steady mode. That’s pretty accurate based on Laura’s testing, which saw a fully charged helmet drop to 46 percent at the end of a ride that lasted about an hour and 45 minutes with the helmet in steady lighted mode. The remote should last anywhere from a week to a month on a single charge, depending on use.

Both the helmet and the handlebar remote charge using a USB-A cable with a proprietary magnetic connector on the other end. The connector allows for low-profile ports on the helmet and remote, but the magnetic connection isn’t the strongest. On the helmet in particular, Laura had to be very careful to make sure it was connected properly and then be extremely gentle when moving the helmet at all during charging to prevent the cable from coming loose. Fully charging the helmet takes a couple of hours, while the remote is a bit faster.

Wrap-up

A decent bike helmet can cost $100 or more, and lights for your bike quickly add up as well, so $180 for a helmet with a bright array of lighting mounted high on your front and back doesn’t seem out of line, not to mention the added safety factor of turn signals and potentially brake lights. If you don’t need the turn signals and brake light capabilities, Lumos offers a cheaper “Lite” version of the helmet for $140 that only has the front and rear lights for visibility.

The regular Lumos helmet is offered in Pearl White, Charcoal Black, and Cobalt Blue, while the Lite version is available in Polar White and Charcoal Black. The regular and Lite versions are also available through Amazon.

Laura was impressed with the fit of Lumos, as she frequently has trouble finding helmets that fit well and that was certainly not the case with Lumos, even though it’s designed as a one-size-fits-all helmet for head sizes of 54–62 cm (21.3–24.4 inches). The helmet does not, however, include the increasingly popular MIPS technology that can lessen forces experienced in certain types of impacts.

Lumos is really aimed at commuter cyclists, where frequent turns in congested urban environments and relatively short rides are the norm. It’s a bit less useful for road cyclists who take fewer turns and for whom longer rides might exceed the battery life of the helmet, although those rides are typically in daylight when lights are less important. Even for road cyclists, the bright lights mounted on your head offer great visibility to vehicles around you, and it’s comforting to know the most important part of your body is most visible.

There are a few quirks with Lumos, most of which should be able to be fixed via software updates, so hopefully Lumos will continue to refine performance based on user feedback and data collected from testing.

Even with those quirks, the safety factor Lumos brings is a tremendous benefit that makes the helmet worth considering, and the Apple Watch turn signal gestures are a clever way to make the technology integration feel more natural. Overall though, Lumos does seem to require a decent bit of fiddling to keep things working properly, which might be okay if you’re into the latest tech gadgetry, but if you just want to hop on your bike and go, you might not get as much fun out of it.

Note: Lumos provided the bike helmet to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

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