Google is rolling out Android Pie, the latest version of its operating system, to phones across the globe — starting with its own Pixel devices.
While Google officially started the rollout last week, most have not seen the update. It started with Google phones and some select models from other makers such as Sony, Essential and Vivo. The company did not specify a time frame when it will come to other phone makers.
However, as the world’s most dominant operating system, changes to Android forecast how most of the world will be using their phones in the future. Here are key things to know about Android Pie:
The first update uses more artificial intelligence, from a phone’s ability to read your battery consumption and adjust to your needs to the “adaptive brightness” feature that does the same for the intensity of your screen.
Google has also been working on its digital assistant — Google Assistant — to give people better answers to their questions and greater hands-free control over their phones.
Android Pie also sports cosmetic changes aimed in part at making it easier to search through your phone.
The biggest change to the way Android looks is the navigation system, which now consists of one on-screen software button rather than the three icons that have served as Android guides in the past.
With a single button, Android users will now have to swipe up to see their most recently used apps or to switch back to the last app they had open.
Android Pie will also have a new feature, called Slices. (Yes, pun intended.)
A “slice” is essentially a preview of an app: Type something such as “Lyft” in the search bar, and you will get a look at the cost and time estimate for a ride near you without having to open the app.
The goal here seems to be getting you into apps faster but also to have more of your phone’s navigation come in through the search bar — rather than having you flip through pages of applications. It will roll out later this year.
Overall, Android Pie shakes up a lot about how we navigate our phones — which also happens to give Google more ways to touch your smartphone experience — with App Actions, which allows search and voice to eliminate some of the swiping and tapping to which we’ve all become accustomed.