The initial developer beta of Google's forthcoming Android P operating system looks to entice developers with enhancements for Kotlin coding, machine learning, and application compatibility.
The use of Kotlin as a supported language in Android Studio (via a plugin) lets developers improve the performance of their code, Google says.
For on-device machine learning, the Neural Networks API introduced in Android 8.1 will add nine capabilities: Pad, BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Transpose, Strided Slice, Mean, Div, Sub, and Squeeze. The C API runs computationally intensive machine learning operations.
To boost app compatibility with Android P, Google will gradually limit access over time to non-SDK-provided device interfaces. The Android P beta's updated SDK provides system images for testing on the Android Emulator and on various Pixel devices.
Other improvements in Android P include:
- For security, a more consistent UI for fingerprint authentication.
- More-accurate indoor positioning via Round-Trip-Time (RTT) APIs, with which apps can measure the distance to Wi-Fi access points. With knowledge of the distance to access points, device position can be calculated as granularly as one meter.
- Enhanced performance and efficiency on all apps in the ART (Android Runtime).
- New APIs in the Autofill Framework, to save time in filling out forms in password managers.
- To assist with mobile payments, an implementation of GlobalPlatform Open Mobile API.
- Display cutout support, to support full-screen content on new device screen sizes.
- New APIs have been added to manage display of content onscreen, such as to support notches.
- The MessagingStyle feature for message notifications that highlights who is messaging and ways to reply.
- A multicamera API, for access to streams simultaneously from two or more cameras. Developers can build features for devices that have dual-front or dual-back cameras such as seamless zoom and stereo vision. Also, developers can use this API to call a logical or fused camera stream and automatically switch among cameras.
- Sessions parameters for cameras, to reduce delays after initial capture.
- A surface-sharing capability, so camera clients can handle different use cases with no need to stop and start streaming.
- APIs for display-based flash support as well as app-level image stabilization and special effects.
Where to download the Android P developer beta
You can download Android P system images or install the Android Emulator from the Android website.