Android P will hear no evil, see no evil, support evil notches

MAC randomisation, indoor location, TLS-by-default and more coming to next 'Droid

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Android P logo
Google's Android P logo

Poll Google's revealed the stuff it's added to the next version of Android, which for now is known only as "P" while the world waits for it to earn a confectionery-related name.*

To The Register's mind, the most interesting bits relate to security, as Google's decided that "Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle." This change has been made to stop apps snooping, which is hard to argue against!

Android P will also "enable encryption of Android backups with a client-side secret." Google's also said "we're working to bring support for per-network randomization of associated MAC addresses to the platform." This feature will be an experimental feature on supported devices. Another security change will see Android P default to make connections over TLS "unless you explicitly opt-in to cleartext for specific domains."

Other new features include:

  • Improvements in how JobScheduler learns about network conditions, so it can better prioritise actions based on carriers' reports of network conditions;
  • Support for "notches" like that found in the iPhone X. Or as Google calls them "display cutouts";
  • Simultaneous use of multiple cameras at once;
  • Indoor positioning over WiFi, thanks to support for 802.11mc, aka WiFi Round-Trip-Time (RTT);
  • Enhanced notifications features that thread conversations and can include images;
  • Replacing the BitmapFactory image decoder with a new one called "ImageDecoder" that's better at handling memory and scaling images;
  • Support for HDR-enabled video.

Android P will also warn users when they consider apps written for older versions of the OS, by showing "a dialog when they install an app that targets a platform earlier than Android 4.2 (targetSdkVersion less than 17)".

The first preview of Android P can be found here. The downloads incude "an updated SDK with system images for testing on the official Android Emulator and on Pixel, Pixel XL Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL devices."

Google's also said there will be a Beta for Android P, but has offered no data on when that might happen.

Which brings us to that *asterisk from our lede, which we inserted to ask you to consider just which lovely sweeties Android P will be named after.

If our list is insufficient, hit the comments! ®

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