In this guide we’ll go over everything you need to know about Android 9 Pie. From what devices will get the update, release details, upcoming betas and what’s new in Android 9. Google’s new Pie is filled with features, AI, new gesture controls and tons of behind-the-scenes changes making it the best version of Android yet.
Google officially released Android 9 on August 6th, 2018. It’s available now for the Pixel and Pixel 2. Then, the Android P Beta is available for 11 different devices from seven manufacturers. You can install it right now, or get the beta on phones from Sony, Oppo, OnePlus, Essential and more.
There’s plenty to get excited about in the next version of Android for your phone or tablet. There’s a lot to cover, and we’ve detailed it all and more below.
Android 9 Pie Release Date
Google surprised everyone and debuted Android P on March 7th. Albeit in a very early “alpha” preview form, only for developers, as a developer preview. After four more Developer Preview betas over the summer and rumors of a late release, it officially arrived on August 6th. This is one of the earliest releases in history for Android.
Important Android P Links
If you’re a developer you’ll want to go to the Android 9 Developer page. Google also released an overview page showing all the nitty-gritty details. Then, don’t forget to submit feedback to help improve the software moving forward.
What Devices Can Get the Update or Try the Android P Beta?
For starters, you can get Android 9 Pie today on the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Or, wait for an update for the Essential phone. Then, owners can try the Android P beta on any of 11 different phones from seven manufacturers. The list of supported phones is: OnePlus 6, Essential PH-1, Sony Xperia XZ2, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and Vivo X21/UD.
For more information click on these links from Essential, Nokia, Sony, Vivo, and Oppo to get started. We expect each of these “beta members” to release official software updates within the next few days, weeks, or month. Faster than any previous release cycle.
Join the Android P Beta Program and Try it Today
While you can wait for the official update to Android 9 Pie, those in a hurry can get it early through the beta program. The beta is over, now that the software is official, but the beta program and site is still the easiest and fastest way to get the update.
To get started head to Google’s beta program website. That’s where you’ll see what device you own can try Android P. Go to Google’s Android P beta page, opt-in, agree to the terms, and wait for the Android P update to hit your device. I already received it on the Pixel XL, and it was over 400MB in size. On my smaller Pixel 2 I received the 5th beta, then another OTA file to the official release all on August 6th.
- Go to the Android Beta Program website
- Sign into Gmail (if you aren’t already)
- Scroll down and find your list of eligible devices
- Find the phone you want to use, then click the blue Opt-In button
- Agree to Google’s terms, and tap OK
If you have a phone from one of those other manufacturers, the process isn’t quite as easy. You’ll have to go to their developer-focused websites and flash the files. This is really easy if you own a Pixel or Pixel 2. Here’s more information about joining the Android beta program.
Additionally, you can manually install Android 9 if you’d like.
What’s New in Android 9 Pie
Android P is officially Android 9 Pie. Instead of Android 7.0 or 8.0 like previous years, Google is simply calling it Android 9. That’s just an FYI, for those interested.
And while some features are still missing, here’s everything that’s new, everything that changed, what to expect and what you need to know.
We’ll start with new Android P features announced at Google I/O, the highlights, new features from the betas, and end with changes from the official release. Again, a few features are still missing, but they’ll be here soon enough. For a huge list of what’s new, check out Google’s list.
- Gesture Navigation Controls: A single home button that allows you to swipe up and down to get into app switching, swipe to scroll, and more. Similar to gesture controls from OnePlus or Apple. Check out these new controls in our video below.
- Adaptive Battery: To extend battery life, Adaptive Battery limits battery for infrequently used apps. Your phone will learn how you use apps over time, and adapt accordingly. (Limit battery for apps you don’t use often)
- Android 9 Dashboard: This feature gives you a detailed overview of the amount of time you’ve spent on your phone. Everything from apps, unlocks, video watching timers and more. Helping with your “digital wellbeing”. (Coming Soon)
- App Usage Timers & Limits: Google added new app usage timers and limits you can set. That way your phone reminds you if you’ve watched too much Netflix. You can even use a new “Wind-down” mode at night that will turn everything black and white, helping you get off your phone and go to sleep. This way we use our phones less during the day, understand our usage, and put phones down at night.
The idea here is the Dashboard in Android 9 will show us just how obsessed we are with our smartphones, or what we do the most and for how long. Then, you can set usage timers and limits for the apps you overuse, that waste too much of your valuable day. Google wants us to look up at the world, or our spouse, not looking at our phones 24/7. This includes at night.
- App Actions: In the app tray you’ll see smart and helpful “App Actions” on top of your most-used apps. Like a button to call a friend or start a workout playlist. Instead of just the Phone app or the Spotify app icons. You’ll even see “Slices” of an app while you try to perform certain tasks.
- Family Link & Kid’s Time: Similar to the Dashboard and app limits for adults, Google is adding more controls to limit children in a smart and helpful way.
That’s only the beginning. Those are a few of the biggest announcements from Google IO regarding Android Pie. Here are some other exciting changes.
- Display cutout support (The “notch”): Whether we like it or not, Android manufacturers are copying Apple’s iPhone X and the notch. The cutout on the screen is an eye-sore, but Google is making Android prepared for it. Android 9 makes it easier for developers to optimize apps and services to embrace the notch.
- New Display Color Profile Previews: When you’re changing display color profiles, you see the changes in real-time thanks to a preview and image sample. Similar to Samsung and other devices.
- Dark Theme: Android 9 lets you choose between a light theme, dark theme, or automatically based on your wallpaper.
- Multi-camera API: Devices with two or more cameras will have more features on Android 9. Developers an access both cameras simultaneously, and pull video or streams at the same time and blend it together. A lot of phones will have dual rear cameras moving forward, and this API will allow developers to do more with them. Expect this to change drastically throughout the beta period.
- Improved notifications & Messages: Notifications are once again getting a small overhaul, especially for text message or message notifications. App developers can now properly show media like images, GIF, stickers, contact information, conversations, smart replies and more all in the notification bar. Basically, making message notifications smart and better.
- Indoor positioning: With Android 9 Pie Google added support for indoor positioning. Supporting the IEEE 802.11mc WiFi protocol (WiFi RTT). This improves indoor GPS, positioning, distance to an access point, and other things.
- Open Mobile API for NFC payments: Apps now have access to secure elements in devices, which will enable smart cart payments and improved mobile payment solutions.
- Data Cost and JobScheduler: A new platform to improve data usage by requesting large amounts of things to a carrier when the network isn’t congested, and other smart controls. Basically, a data scheduler to lower data usage.
- ImageDecoder: Better decoding, scaling, post-processing, and support for animated images and more
- Idle Apps Control: Google’s new system in Android P prevents idle apps from accessing the camera, microphone, and other sensitive aspects of a phone. Basically, for improved security apps in the background can’t access your microphone.
- Google Assistant Integration: We’re expecting tons of improvements to the Google Assistant and expect further integration into multiple aspects of our devices.
- Much More Coming Soon
This is just a small list of some of the highlight changes you can expect when you get Android 9 today, or in the near future. Or, check out our detailed Android 9 vs Oreo comparison.
Android 9 Updates (For everyone else)
So when will Android P actually get released for other devices? Well, that’s anyone’s guess at this point. As you can see in the timeline below Google planned to release it in August all along. The problem, though, is when will OTHER manufacturers do the same.
The official Android 9.0 Pie update arrived on August 6th for Google’s Pixel. On the same day, the Essential phone got it too. Now, we’re expecting some of the bigger companies from the beta to follow shortly behind. As in Sony, OnePlus, Oppo, etc.
However, the most important one is Samsung and the Samsung Galaxy Android 9 update. That’s a complete mystery, but we’re hopeful that it will arrive before the end of 2018. If so, that would be the fastest update ever from Samsung. Here’s what Google had to say about Android 9 Pie today, and it’s release date.
“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. We’re also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.”
So, beta program members might release updates in the next few weeks, or it might take until the “end of this fall”. We just don’t know. To end the statement, Google said they’re working with a number of partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9.
Will My Device Get Android 9?
Any device released within the past two years or so should technically be capable of getting the update to Android 9. Manufacturers must support a device for at least 18-months from the day it’s released to the public. So a device like the Galaxy S7 may or may not get it, and any device released in early 2016.
You will get Android P on your device eventually, as long as it’s a somewhat new phone or tablet. Additionally, groups like Samsung will probably start its own beta program, offering the software early for select users ahead of time.
In closing, this is everything you need to know right now. We went over some important details, shared helpful links for those interested, and broke down a list of new features. Now, we’ll have to wait for Google to release the Digital Wellbeing, which is still in beta testing. It’s not in Android 9 yet. As things change and companies start releasing information, we’ll update this post to keep you informed.
Aside from what’s available now or coming soon, the new Google Pixel 3 will likely be the first phone on the market with Android 9. Well, unless Samsung or LG beat Google to the punch. Get Android 9 right now, or, stay tuned for more details.
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