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Quick tiles, dark mode, and more: Highlights from today’s Android dev AMA
Periodically, members of the Android development team do a Reddit AMA to keep other developers in the loop on what’s going on with Android. It’s a rare and terrific opportunity for professionals and amateurs alike to get answers to pressing questions.
With the stable release of Android P right around to corner, today’s AMA was especially active. While a lot of the questions and answers were extremely technical in nature – and therefore difficult to explain to a non-development audience – there still were some interesting tidbits about Android P (and beyond).
We’ve compiled some of the more general statements from the AMA below. If you feel like taking a deeper dive, the full AMA is available here.
- Battery saving: Right now, each OEM institutes its own battery-saving functions within Android. These different, unregulated processes can sometimes interfere with apps, especially notifications. As an example, OnePlus’ OxygenOS has a feature that will often prevent an app from issuing any notifications at all until you manually open the app (learn more about that here). In Android P, a new Background Restrictions feature is the first step to unifying these kinds of features so it is consistent across all devices. In the meantime, the development team is giving helpful guidelines to OEMs…although it’s still their choice whether to follow those guidelines.
- Adaptive Battery: Android P features an “adaptive battery” program that will use AI and machine learning to extend battery life based on your individual usage habits. One of the concerns brought up by a Redditor is that erasing what’s learned to start over from scratch is only possible through a factory reset. However, the Android team says that this is intentional and that the model learns your habits quick enough that a manual reset shouldn’t be necessary in most cases.
- Dark mode: The development team clarified what’s going on with the “Dark Mode” in Android P. Contrary to what many Android fans would want, there is no intention to develop a true dark mode inside Android (i.e. pure black backgrounds with pure white text). Instead, the “Dark Mode” in Android P’s purpose is to filter blue light, and that’s all. Although the development team didn’t have any announcements to make about a true dark mode coming to Android, they said the suggestion is under advisement. In other words, don’t hold your breath.
- Quick tiles: In Android P, Quick Tile actions become universal: a tap on a Quick Tile toggles the associated function “on” or “off” (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, etc.), while a long-press on a Tile opens the options for that function. This new rule will make all Quick Tiles work in the same fashion, bringing cohesion to the feature. However, this is likely to upset some folks who like the fact that certain Quick Tiles open options with a tap, rather than a long-press. C’est la vie.
- Android release frequency: Why are Android releases happening once a year? Why not twice a year, or every other year? A member of the Android team explained that releasing too many versions too quickly is a burden on device manufacturers and causes customer issues. On the other hand, releases that are too far apart would prevent essential functionality from getting out fast enough. Annual releases make the most sense and are how the team sees things going for now.
Is there anything you read in the AMA that you thought was cool? Let us know in the comments!