Google has launched Android 9, the next in line Android Operating system. Named Android Pie, after Android’s convention of naming their OS on sweet treats, Android 9 comes with machine learning based interactive UI, security and privacy features, updates to connectivity and location, and more.
With the filling of Machine Learning
With Machine learning as its core, Android 9 helps a phone learn, by picking up on user preferences and adjusting automatically.
- Google has partnered with DeepMind for Adaptive Battery that uses machine learning to prioritize system resources for the apps the user frequents the most.
- Android 9 Pie uses Slices, which are basically UI templates to display interactive content from an app from within other sources such as Google Search app or Google Assistant. It helps users perform tasks faster by engaging users outside of the fullscreen app experience.
- App Actions takes advantage of machine learning to bring an app to the user at just the right time. It is based on the app’s semantic intents and the user’s context.
- Another feature, the Smart Linkify lets users take advantage of the TextClassifier models through the Linkify API, providing options for quick follow-on user actions.
- Android 9 adds an updated version of the Neural networks API, to extend Android’s support for accelerated on-device machine learning. Neural Networks 1.1 adds support for nine new ops. You can take advantage of the APIs through TensorFlow Lite.
Baked in UI features
Android 9 uses simpler and more approachable UI to help users find, use, and manage their apps.
- There is a brand new system navigation for easily discoverable apps and to make Android’s multitasking more approachable.
- Android 9 also has a display cutout support to take full advantage of the latest edge-to-edge screens. For immersive content, users can use the display cutout APIs to check the position and shape of the cutout and request full-screen layout around it.
- Messaging apps can take advantage of the new MessagingStyle APIs to show conversations, attach photos and stickers, and suggest smart replies. Android 9 will soon get the support of ML Kit to generate smart reply suggestions.
- Android 9 uses a Magnifier widget to improve the user experience of selecting text. The Magnifier widget can also provide a zoomed-in version of any view or surface.
With the sprinkling of Security and privacy
Major updates of Android 9 have been based on preserving the privacy and security of users’ data.
- Android 9 uses the BiometricPrompt API to show the standard system dialog instead of building their own dialog. In addition to Fingerprint (including in-display sensors), the API supports Face and Iris authentication.
- The Android Protected Confirmation uses the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to guarantee that a given prompt string is shown and confirmed by the user. Only after successful user confirmation will the TEE then sign the prompt string, which the app can verify.
- StrongBox is added as a new KeyStore type, providing API support for devices that provide key storage in tamper-resistant hardware with isolated CPU, RAM, and secure flash.
- Android 9 adds built-in support for DNS over TLS, automatically upgrading DNS queries to TLS if a network’s DNS server supports it.
- Android 9 restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle.
These are just a select few updates for the Android 9 operating system. The full list of features is available on the Android Developer Blog. Starting today, Android 9 Pie is rolling out to all Pixel users worldwide, and then to many other devices in the coming months.