P is for Pie: Android P finally gets a name

Imagine after all those guesses Google just settled on Pie?

I have to admit, we are to blame. We were slow to get Google’s joke.

The references to pie were hidden in plain text sight when Android P beta was being demonstrated on stage at Google I/O 3 months ago. I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard to understand that they meant slices of pie, right? Aaargh.

The upcoming version 9 of the world’s most widely-used mobile operating system’s simple naming is a reflection of what it holds dear as far as what it is promising users: simplicity.

Thanks to a new approach that Google has taken for the last 4 years, Android 9.0, Pie, won’t be very new to those of us who follow recent developments religiously and without fail. This is because it has been available, at least in beta, for the last few months.

Even better, this year, Google increased the number of devices that could join in the testing from the usual handful of devices from its Nexus/Pixel fold to an even bigger pool that comprised devices from the likes of OnePlus, HMD Global, OPPO etc. Progress.

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The quest for simplicity has seen Google make some radical changes that present a learning curve for long-time users while even iPhone X users, who should be pretty much at home with gestures as they are the hallmark of their almost bezel-less device, may also find themselves needing a moment or two to get a hang of things. This is because in place of the ubiquitous bottom button selection of home, back and recent apps/task switcher (physical or virtual), there’s just one button to take care of things. It’s an entirely new navigation system.

Android Pie will be taking advantage of all the data that Google has gathered about users to provide them with better options in terms of ease of accessibility of features by tailoring them as well as anticipating use cases. Even better, when the system figures out that you need to be protected from yourself, it will let you know that you’re spending way too much time watching useless videos on YouTube. Looking after your digital wellbeing, Google says. The availability of this feature is currently limited to Google’s own Pixel devices but it should become available to Android One smartphones as well when Android 9 Pie finally starts rolling out.

“Starting today, an over-the-air update to Android 9 will begin rolling out to Pixel phones. And devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall (after September oh ye Kenyans). We’re also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.”

We have previously covered in great detail all the new stuff coming to Android in the Pie update including the notification channels meant to make what is already a very good notification system (compared to the mess that our iPhone-totting brothers have to put up with) even better and privacy enhancements in this day and age when digital privacy is a big concern to users as well as legitimizing a monstrosity: the notch. You can find all that information here and here.

Now, what is this that’s supposed to happen on August 20th?

One more thing: it’s perfectly okay to be jealous at everyone who owns an Essential phone (see – thanks, Project Treble). More so those who picked it up on the cheap recently. The device’s future may not be assured but at least the owners of those devices are making the most out of them. Lucky bastards.

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Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com