Android 9 Pie Released with Gesture-based Navigation and More [Download]

Android 9, also known as Android 9 Pie was released today, officially by Google. This is the successor of  Android Oreo. As promised, it includes a number of exciting features like gesture-based navigation and much more. This version is the successor of the 5 of the debutant developer preview builds of Android P that has been claimed to be tested by more than 140,000 beta testers till date. Earlier this year, Google announced its partnership with seven other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). This was made so as to bring about beta releases of Android 9 Pie to their flagship devices. But this new software (which was speculated to be launched as Pistachio Ice Cream) hasn’t been designed for Nexus models (This includes Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C).  This, in no ways, means that the Google is against Nexus or its native hardware.

Pixel users will have an advantage over other phones because Android 9 Pie will arrive first on Pixel handsets. This includes the original Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This includes various improvements as compared to the previous Android versions- the most noticeable one being the gesture-based navigation system. This feature is highly inspired by the way of functioning of the interface on the much-raved about iPhone X. But this omits the traditional three-button navigation.

How to get Android 9 Pie?

Android Pie will be initially available for Pixel devices only. It has already been rolled out as an OTA (over-the-air) package. This can be manually checked on your Pixel device by going to “Settings” -> “Software updates“.

There is a bonus for companies that participated in the Beta program. Companies, namely Essential, HMD Global, OnePlus, Oppo, Sony, Vivo and Xiaomi will receive the Android Pie updates by the end of this fall. The Essential Ph-1 will receive the update soon.

On same lines, devices which are available under the Android One initiative will receive updates sometime around its rollout for the devices listed under the Beta programme. This device list includes Essential PH-1, Nokia 7 Plus, OnePlus 6, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21, Vivo X21 UD and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S.

Google, headed by Sundar Pichai, is also working on a number of OEMs to bring Android 9 Pie on to their other devices later during this year.

To download factory images for Pixel device, click here. To download the OTA images for Pixel device, click here.

Features of Android 9 Pie

  • It brings about the new system navigation which operates on a single home button, similar to iPhone X.
  • Swiping up the home button will go to the Overview and full-screen previews of your recently used apps can be viewed.
  • An enhanced Smart Text Selection feature is present, that works by recognising the meaning of the text that has been selected by the user and suggests relevant actions.
  • The user can swipe to switch between multiple apps.
  • To activate Google Assistant, the user can press and hold the tiny home button.
  • The new navigation system replaces the bar available at the bottom with three buttons for back, home, and overview respectively.
  • It has a variety of machine learning inputs to enable features such as Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness. These features offer a personalised experience.
  • There is a feature called App Actions that predicts what the user would want to do next based on the context and display the relevant action on your device.
  • It includes an upgraded “Do Not Disturb” mode that allows you to turn off all visual interruptions.
  • The security feature of Android Pie has drastically improved. An improved security model for biometrics as well as privacy improvements like TLS by default and DNS over TLS to protect web communications has been provided.
  • It brings enhanced messaging notifications that include conversations, photos, stickers, and smart reply options. Text selection has also been improved with a Magnifier widget that helps users precisely position the cursor or the text selection handles by viewing zoomed text through the draggable pane.
  • Display cutout is also a part of this update.

During May I/O in 2018, Google announced its Digital Wellbeing that helps make better use of your smartphone and curb the online addiction. This feature will be available with just a small update on the Playstore owing to the pre-installed stubs present in Android Oreo. This will be available sometime during the fall.

  • This initiative includes a new Dashboard to show the time you spend on your device, an App Timer to help user set time limits on particular apps and gray out the icon on your home screen when the time is up.
  • A Wind Down to switch on the Night Light and Do Not Disturb mode alongside fading the screen to grayscale before your bedtime.

The eager users can sign up by filling a form and email address to make good use of the beta release. After signing up, the Digital Wellbeing features will appear in the Settings menu of your smartphone.

Similar to Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative, Apple is planning to incorporate digital wellness as one of the key aspects while designing its next iOS version, so as to help users monitor how much time they spend on their devices and on certain apps. The beta versions of iOS 12 already offer a glimpse of the tools that are likely to reach the users during the month of September.

Google also announced its “App Slices” during the I/O 2018 which has been designed to highlight the rich and dynamic content from applications directly in the search bar and in places Google Assistant. But this feature has been decided for future implementation.

Apparently, Google is waiting for third-party application developers to implement certain changes so as to enable the slices functionality on their app.

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