Google is going all-in on smartphone notches for Android P

Android P is here.

Image: google

It’s that time of year again. Google just released the first version of Android P for developers.

The update, which is only available for Pixel devices for now, adds camera improvements, better notifications for messaging apps, and support for all those notches.

Like other recent Android releases, Android P is more about improving the core features of Android than adding flashy new features. But there are a couple of bigger changes to look forward to.

A multi-camera API means apps will be able to access both cameras simultaneously on phones that have dual rear- or front-facing cameras. This should open up a lot of possibilities for camera app developers, who will now have more flexibility in building apps to take advantage of dual cameras.

The company is also refreshing notifications, with the ability to surface more information in messaging notifications, which can now include photos, stickers, and smart replies

Messaging notifications will get more useful.

Messaging notifications will get more useful.

Image: google

But what Android P will probably be most remembered for is Google officially adding support for “display cutouts” — i.e. the notch — to make it easier for developers to control how their apps look on the growing number of devices that have non-rectangular displays, like below. 

Image: Google

Google is also making lots of under-the-hood improvements to enhance battery life and memory usage. On the privacy side, the company is doing more to cut down on shady apps’ access to your phone.

Starting with Android P, apps won’t be able to access your phone’s mic or camera while your phone is idle. 

Can you spot the notch?

Can you spot the notch?

Image: Google

Developers who are interested in getting their hands on the update will have to manually download it — Google says it’s too early to even release it as part of the official Android Beta program. But expect to hear much more about it in the weeks leading up to the company’s annual I/O developer conference in May.

As for the name, we won’t know Android P’s official dessert-themed code name for some time. Google typically waits until sometime after I/O to announce it (though “Android Pie” seems to be an early favorite).

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