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


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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