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Android P means new features for Android TV too
There’s been plenty of excitement for the new smartphone features heading our way with Android P, but there are also new features in store with the OS upgrade for Android TV devices too. Extra details about exactly what’s in store for Google’s multimedia platform were divulged at this year’s Google I/O. The changes fall into three main improvements: better performance, easier setup, and better access to settings.
Starting with performance, it’s lower-end devices that will see the benefit. The requirements have been tweaked to enable Android TV to run on less powerful devices with Android P, which should also mean a smoother experience on more powerful hardware. Google also wants to encourage developers to make use of the isLowRAmDevice() function to identify lower end products and use the Android Studio Memory Profiler to fine-tune application behavior for devices that have limited amounts of RAM.
The more noticeable upgrades to the user experience will come from the improved setup process with Android P. The process has been streamlined to be faster and easier, hopefully ending those frustrating experiences of entering details with a TV remote. First, there’s a new nearby phone notification to quickly link and setup your TV account using your Android handset. There’s also an improved web browser version if you’re not an Android smartphone user.
If you link up the same Android account that you use on your phone, then the setup will introduce an additional Play Auto Installs step, which will ask if you want to automatically download the Android TV version of media apps you use on your handset. So you won’t have to trawl through the Play Store to manually install Netflix if you already use it on your phone or tablet. Autofill with Google also makes its way to the platform with Android P, speeding up password entry for third-party apps that you use on other devices.
Finally, the settings menu has been streamlined and decluttered, making it easier to find the settings that you actually want with Android P. Navigation should also be simpler, as Google has implemented auto-suggestions in the menu to bring the most likely settings up to the top. So, for example, you might want to find the “add account” option if you skipped that step during setup.
Upcoming Android TV products shipping with Android P should be easier to setup and faster to use. Now we just have to wait for P, the eventual slow stream of updates, and for new devices to be announced.