Android P May Integrate Google Assistant More Tightly & Better Support Atypical Display Types
Apple’s iPhone X and the Essential Phone have a controversial feature in common: A “notch” cutout near the top of the phones’ screens that accommodates front-facing cameras, proximity sensors, and, in iPhone X’s case, 3D facial recognition scanners. Google’s set to embrace the trend — according to a report in Bloomberg, the tech giant’s overhauling Android with support for a “new generation of smartphones” with atypical displays.
The next major Android revision, Android P, will support phones with “multiple screens” and “foldable displays”, Bloomberg says. (Presumably, phones such as the ZTE Axon M would fall under that definition.)
The Essential Phone, the first phone from Andy Rubin-backed startup company Essential, is the only major smartphone other than the iPhone X with a notch design. In December, we exclusively revealed that Huawei is working on a similar notch-style smartphone — codenamed “Emily”, and potentially the upcoming Huawei P20 — with an unusual 6.01-inch 2244×1080 LCD display, which the Bloomberg article corroborates.
The redesign will come as part of Android P later this year, alongside tighter integration of the Google Assitant and improved battery life. Google’s working on an SDK that’d allow developers to build the Google Assistant into their apps, according to the report, and it’s also considering integrating the search bar on Android’s launcher with the Google Assistant. But neither of those changes have been finalized for Android P.
Though Bloomberg doesn’t explicitly mention it, it’s possible that the design changes in Android P are a part of Material Design 2.0, an upcoming refresh of Google’s Material Design aesthetic that debuted alongside Android Lollipop. Earlier this month, we uncovered commits in the Chromium Gerrit that point to an updated Material Design with darker colors and new iconography.
Whatever the case may be, it won’t be long before we find out for sure. Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off May 8.