We all love our pizzas when they are baked with extra cheese. The story remains the same in other realm of our life, which is home to a few of such foodies (read techies), who crave not for pizzas but for smart software experience on their gadgets. So Google, with the introduction of Google 9.0, i.e. Android Pie has baked the OS with some extra cheese, also known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to cater to all the techies out there. The Android 9.0 Pie is one of the most significant upgrades of Android in the recent years. It is well optimized, well-polished, has a new navigation system (gesture control), and even has AI embedded into it.
Google’s CEO, Mr. Sundar Pichai has been very keen on integrating AI to make the lives of the consumers easier and to make the devices smarter by giving them a brain of their own. During one of his interviews he mentioned,
“We have already seen incredible spaces with AI… especially with healthcare. AI is helping doctors predict diseases and even predict the patients’ risk for a heart attack or stroke. We all know AI holds enormous promise for the world. We are using Google to rethink and reimagine our own products with an AI first approach. That’s what our cloud journey is all about.”
This clearly tells us how focused he is about making the integration successful. And they have officially declared that Android Pie is all about three themes – simplicity, intelligence and digital well-being. The intelligence they are constantly harping on is none other than the OS’s integration with AI.
This new intelligent android device from google has a list of promising features that are integrated with AI, let’s check these out one by one.
- Gestures, the new navigation system –
With the introduction of Android 9.0, Google has unveiled the new and much more user friendly ways to navigate, the gesture based controls. Though the consumers are given an option to toggle it off currently, but it is the undeniable change that is gradually taking place. This feature has been made available currently by many Android OEMs already before Google made it official and the users of such OEMs have given a positive response to this addition. The various controls available as of now are –
1. Tap for home
2. Swipe right and release for most recent app
3. Swipe up to show recent apps menu and suggested apps
4. Swipe further up to open app drawer (or swipe up again from app overview)
5. Long press for Google Assistant
6. Swipe right and hold to scroll through recent apps
We will though agree that this feature has not been fully optimized as of now and the gesture navigation on Apple’s iOS feels much more friendly. But Google is constantly trying to improve the way it feels. And with AI capabilities, it will improve with time and will become more convenient for the user.
- Adaptive Battery –
Android Pie brings in changes in various aspects of our battery life by learning how we use our smartphone, our general time slots for topping the battery and by subordinating the infrequently used apps to the lower-powered, battery-efficient cores. This helps to reduce CPU usage and also improves the battery life. Dave Burke, the VP of Engineering on the Android team claims that it happens due to AI integration and can result in upto 20% to 30% improvement in the battery output. I mostly forget to turn off the charger before going to sleep. I’ll be happier if my smartphone becomes smarter and learns to switch off the inflow itself.
- Reduction in Smartphone Usage –
The improvements in the smartphone world are praiseworthy but it has a big negative impact on the users, addiction. People all over the world are raising concerns about increased smartphone usage and its possible impact on the human beings. So Google, with the help of AI, has promised to help the consumers find the right balance. Personally saying, if Google manages to deliver whatever it is saying in this regard, this will be a major achievement for them. They will bake in features that will help the users to keep track of the red lines that they should not cross. Some of these are –
1. A Do Not Disturb mode has been created to silent all the visual notifications that may well pop up on your screen. This will let you concentrate on whatever you are doing.
2. An App Timer that will set the time limits of usage of some apps and once the time limit has been exhausted, it will grey the icons of the respective apps on the home screen. This will be like an alert signal to you that you are going overboard with it.
3. A Wind Down option, which will apply the grayscale so as to reduce the screen’s impact on your eyes and also a Night Mode with Do Not Disturb mode that will let you and others around you have a sound sleep with minimum distortion.
4. A Dashboard which will summarize the total time the user spends on his smartphone. This will help them to keep the track of the usage and also change it if they find it excessive.
These may be irritating at first but these features have been designed keeping in mind the Digital Well-being of the consumers. These features are now in the developmental stage and we can expect their arrival before the end of the year 2018.
- An improved Adaptive Brightness –
The Adaptive Brightness is a feature that is available on most current phones but those who have tried using it know well that it is a case of hit-and-miss. It misses more often than not in my case. So I prefer manual brightness adjustment as per my requirements. It may work well for some. But with AI baked in Android Pie, Google is promising that the smartphones will learn about the brightness requirements of the user in different conditions and automatically adjust the screen brightness when such conditions knock the door. This will save us from the continuous need to adjust the brightness bar whenever we go outdoors or whenever we reach our homes.
- Slices –
We all love Pies. So Google is giving us a Slice of Pie, for free. Google has integrated App Actions which read how and when a user uses an app and based on such usage habits, it will try and give the user a ‘Slice’ to the user depending on the screen activity of the user. So you needn’t constantly hop between apps. Rather Google will give you a chunk of information that might be relevant for you. For example, if YouTube allows Slices, users won’t require to open the app to get a glimpse of the new song from their favorite rapper. Slices will do that for them.
- Improved Security –
We all are constantly in fear of spilling our personal information to the outside world because of a flaw in the OS that we use. So Google with Android 9.0 has promised improvements in the security of the user’s data and it has also added a chip for securing personal information of the user like debit card information or credit card information and some highly sensitive information. This is a welcome change and most of the users will appreciate the thought that has gone behind Google taking such an action. At least we will now be able to sleep better! Personally I would love to have a software as secure as Blackberry’s.
Google is clearly trying to make Android mainstream and that is evident with the introduction of Android Pie. The mess created by the previous versions of Android, along with many unkept promises, is being cleared off gradually. They are trying to match the software prowess of Apple and even bettering it in various aspects. It also gives us a realization that AI is here to stay and that it will gradually make decisions on our behalf, like Google Assistant replying to calls or battery being disconnected from power source. The change is visible and we are hopeful of a better and a more fulfilling experience.