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Let's kick the tyres on Google's Android P... It's not an overheating wreck, but UX is tappy

Swipe right to like then tap, tap, tap away

Developer land

New APIs flesh out some of the promises. Job-scheduling APIs should handle network traffic better, and can prefetch data for an app. The Neural Network API mentioned above is enhanced, too.

Android App Studio 3.2

Android App Studio 3.2. Click to enlarge

There's a new build target, a Bundle, which, when allied with Google Play Store updates, only supplies the resources the user really needs, rather than every conceivable language or bitmap.

Android P Bundle

Bundles should mean leaner apps

Slices are a new P feature. Like Microsoft's cards, slices are templates for squirting your content into other processes, which differs by being serialised rather than static. It's reasonable to speculate that this is for assistant-type apps Google envisages, and should be top of the must-read list for Android developers.

Android P Slice example

Slices – your stuff in someone else's process, in an interactive format

Google has also tuned the runtime ART for the Kotlin programming language, which it says has proved hugely popular with Android developers since Google embraced it a year ago.

Other changes include support for multiple concurrent cameras, HEIF media formats, and dozens of other small tweaks. You can find more here.

It's too early to say if this is sufficiently stable for daily use. Google Pay works, remarkably for an Android beta. I've used it so far with Nova Launcher with no problems – but you'll need to turn the Card view on for the App Drawer icons to be visible. But unlike some earlier Previews, it isn't an overheating crashing wreck. Check the release notes for known issues.

Installation is painless for Pixel owners, but surprisingly open to owners of other devices prepared to flash their phones: these include the new Sony Xperia XZ2, the Nokia 7, the OnePlus 6, and the Essential phone. Four more from Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo are also on the list.

Android traditionally ships in September. The verdict after a few hours? It's beautiful. But those extra tappy taps... ®

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