Say what you will about smartphones that sport a “notch,” but the next version of Android is jumping onboard the new design trend.
Google today released an “early baseline build” of Android P for developers. Anyone can download it, but Android P is not yet intended for consumer use.
Among P’s features? The ability to build around notch-carrying phones. While nothces first apperaed on Apple’s iPhone X, the small indent atop otherwise bezel-less phones is slated to pop up in more Android phones with displays that wrap around the camera and speaker at the top.
Building software to account for this design choice can be a hassle for developers, so Google’s Android P will include new “display cutout” tools that can make apps notch-friendly, the company said in a blog post.
The cutout support means apps will be able to automatically detect when a phone has a notch, and prevent the content from accidentally falling under it. Google has also included a new option in Android P that can simulate a cutout on any device. Developers can use it to make sure their apps are notch-compliant.
The support doesn’t mean much for existing Android phones. But the upcoming Android P release will also introduce some other enhancements, including how notifications are displayed.
Messages that come over your phone will better highlight “who is messaging you and how you can reply,” Google’s VP of engineering Dave Burke said in the blog post.
For instance, photos and stickers attached to messages can appear in the notification bar. Messages that pop up can also include suggested ways to answer them from Google’s Smart Reply feature.
With Android P, Google wants to also help developers tap a feature found in more advanced phones: dual cameras. The release will include APIs that can access data from both cameras simulateneously. “On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you [developers] can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision,” Burke said.
In addition, Android P will come with some privacy and security enhancements. The most notable one is that the upcoming release will restrict access to your smartphone’s mic, camera and sensors for idle apps that silently run in background.
The company will share more details about Android P at Google I/O in May.