Is Android Pie Coming to Your Phone?
Google released Android Pie, the latest version of its mobile operating system, on August 6, 2018. The new OS offers some big improvements over previous version Oreo, and some features that have never been seen before. The latter could change the way we use our phones dramatically. Here's what you need to know...
What's New in Android Pie?
Everyone loves pie, but how long will you have to wait for Pie? Anyone with a Google-made Pixel phone already has Pie. All others must wait until it is customized and pushed out to their devices by the vendors of said devices. That could take months to years, depending on who made or sold you your phone.
Screen addiction is now recognized as “a real thing” by technologists as well as medical professionals. (Anyone with a child over the age of three knows that already.) Apple and Google have announced plans to help users of mobile devices use them less, a startling reversal of the companies’ normal intent.
Google’s “Digital Wellbeing” tools are being rolled out to Pie Pixel users right now. They include a dashboard that show to the minute how many hours you spend with each app on your device. There is also a timer that “greys out” apps after set periods of time, making them unusable for a few hours. There is even a “Wind Down” feature that greys out the screen in preparation for bed time.
On a related note, I recently viewed a video titled "Waking up at 5AM is changing my life" by a young man named Jordan Taylor. He starts by saying that "according to Common Sense Media, 50% of teens said that they feel addicted to their phones, meaning that only 50% of teens are actually self-aware enough to know that they are." He tells the story of his own phone addiction, and how he took steps to break it. I recommend this video highly, especially to teens.
The line between work and home has blurred. Android already has profiles for a user’s work persona and home persona. Pie has added a switch that lets one turn off “work mode” for a spell. Paradoxically, this feature could lead to greater Pie adoption among corporations, which are increasingly concerned about employees who do not have a “balanced work-life mix.”
If you want some of these "balancing" tools now, and you don't have a Pixel phone, check out the OFFTIME app in the Google Play Store. It allows you to restrict access to apps, limit phone usage, and track your usage. AppBlock has similar features, allowing you to temporarily block access to certain apps, or set a time limit for using them.
Power and Privacy
Batteries remain a great limiter of smartphones. Android Pie now determines which apps require more juice, and allocates more for them. The screen’s brightness also adjusts automatically.
Google is adding extra privacy protection to Android Pie. For one thing, app developers will now need users’ expressed permission to utilize call log data. Access to sensors and I/O devices like cameras, microphones, and headphone jacks will also require apps to seek users’ permission.
Buttons are being replaced by voice and gesture commands. A lot of people are going to be upset to see the “back” button gone from Android Pie. They will have to adapt to using a combination of swipes and swirls, or maybe saying “OK, Google, back.”
Talk to Your Phone
On the subject of voice control, I am rapidly warming to Android’s voice-to-text feature. I hate typing on keyless, tiny keyboards. The ability to dictate to the Google Assistant, “Text Loreli” followed by “Honey, what did you want me to get from the store?” is really progress! Voice-to-text works for email, too.
Voice-to-digital tech has reached an inflection point where it will take off sharply. The elderly, people with Parkinson’s, arthritis, and other afflictions that make typing difficult will be able to enjoy the benefits of hands-free communications. It can’t help but prevent driving accidents, too.
If you have an Android-powered smartphone that's not a Google Pixel, contact your mobile carrier and ask when Pie will be available for your phone. If enough people make noise, it could make a difference.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 21 Aug 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is Android Pie Coming to Your Phone? (Posted: 21 Aug 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved