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InfoQ Homepage News Android Pie Brings Adaptive Battery, Neural Networks API 1.1 and More

Android Pie Brings Adaptive Battery, Neural Networks API 1.1 and More

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Google has released Android Pie, the successor to Android Oreo. Android Pie brings display cutout support, Neural Networks API 1.1, Magnifier widget, Adaptive Battery, Slices, Indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT, and more.

Neural Networks API (NNAPI) is an API for running computational operations for machine learning on mobile devices, designed to provide a base layer for machine learning frameworks, such as TensorFlow Lite, Caffe2, etc. NNAPI has been updated, adding support for nine new operations, two element-wise mathematical operations, Div and Sub, and some array operations such as BatchToSpaceND, SpaceToBatchND, Squeeze, Stride Slice, Transpose, Pad, and Mean.

Slices are UI templates that can display rich, dynamic, and interactive content on your app from within the Google Search app and in other places like Google Assistant. Slices can help users perform tasks by enabling engagement outside of the fullscreen app experience.

Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness are two new features that take advantage of machine learning. Adaptive Battery uses machine learning to prioritize system resources, and should work well in apps that are optimized for Doze, App Standby, and Background Limits. Adaptive Brightness learns how to adjust the device brightness throughout the day based on conditions. For example, a user who likes a screen brightness a bit lower than the default setting initially can adjust it manually. Over time, Android will adjust to get a better automatic setting.

App Actions is another feature that takes advantage of machine learning. According to Google, developers will be able to raise the visibility of an app using App Actions. This feature recommends an app for users as a way to fulfill their needs.

Android Pie adds support for the latest edge-to-edge screens with display cutout for the camera and speaker. The new DisplayCutout class can be helpful in finding out non-functional areas where content shouldn't be displayed. Developers can check out the documentation to learn how to manage the cutout area.

Notifications have received a series of enhancements. Developers can now show conversations, attach photos and stickers, and even suggest smart replies. Google says developers will soon be able to use ML Kit to generate smart reply suggestions.

Magnifier is a widget to improve the user experience of selecting text. The magnifier helps users precisely position the cursor or the text selection handles by viewing magnified text through a pane that can be dragged over the text. Furthermore, any view that is attached to a window can use magnifier widget.

Users can now stream from two or more physical cameras simultaneously. Developers can create new features not feasible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. Furthermore, there is a new API for display-based flash support and a SessionConfiguration that helps to reduce delays during initial capture.

A series of new security features has been added on Android Pie, including a unified fingerprint authentication dialog and high-assurance user confirmation of sensitive transactions. Developers no longer need to build their own dialog; they should use BiometricPrompt API to show the standard system dialog. In addition, the API supports Face and Iris authentication. For more details, check the Security Updates page.

Android Pie has introduced significant improvements in privacy, such as DNS over TLS, when a network's DNS server supports it. In addition, Android now restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle.

Dynamics Processing API is an audio effect for equalizing and changing dynamic range properties of sound. It is composed of multiple stages including equalization, multi-band compression and limiter. Audio apps can use Dynamics Processing API to modify the audio coming out of Android devices and optimize it according to the listener or the ambient conditions.

Now developers can build indoor positioning features using Wi-Fi Round-Trip-Time (RTT). With RTT APIs developers can calculate the device position with an accuracy of 1 to 2 meters. With this accuracy it is possible to support use-cases like in-building navigation and fine-grained location-based services, such as disambiguated voice control and location-based information.

Initially only Pixel will receive an update to Android Pie. Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of the fall.

For a complete list of the new features and APIs, take a look at the Android Pie features overview.

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