Pie Is On The Roll

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Pie Is On The Roll

Pie made its debut earlier this year on Pixel devices, and since then other users have been waiting patiently for it to expand.  Now Christmas presents have been delivered and Android has begun rolling out Pie to a number of other devices.  So read on and see if Google got you anything for the holidays.

Android Is SLOW:

Android’s OS offers some incredible experiences, but there’s no denying that rollouts take forever.  Roughly a year after Oreo’s release it made it onto 12% of Android phones.  Five months after its release it was only at 1%!  While these statistics aren’t perfect due to factors such as the Play Store’s unavailability in China, it still paints a good picture.  Things move slow.

With rollouts taking so long, every new wave of devices is big news when it’s yours.  Today rollouts have begun to a number of new phones.  These include the Galaxy S9/S9+, the OnePlus 5/5T, and the Infinix Smart 2 (a very popular phone in India).  Older phones will be receiving this update as the year goes on, but Christmas came just in time for these parties. 

Times Are Changing:

The Android circle of life must continue.  As new versions like Pie come out, they replace the older ones.  With a shrinking number of phones running earlier versions of Android support for them becomes difficult in an efficient manner.  Earlier this month Google Play Services ceased support for Ice Cream Sandwich.  The version came out seven years ago, and it’s userbase has dwindled below the 1% mark for a while. 

And along with this new Android apps must target at least Oreo when they are released to the Play Store.  It may seem tough to leave users behind, but it really just makes sense.  At a certain point upgrades need to take place so that companies/developers can make new features available in their apps without having to worry too much about ancient versions. 

There is still a span of versions that run any app on the Play Store, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.  The good news with this is that deprecating versions simply means that new and improved versions are being released.

Pie Is Hot

And for the most part Pie has been just that; new and improved.  Having played around with a Pixel 3XL running Pie for some time I have to say that its user interface has been very pleasant.  Pixel users have experienced a some bugs over the past months, but nothing has come close to outweighing the pro’s the new version has offered.  My personal favorite has been Google Call Screen to identify unknown numbers.  I’ve taken 0 calls from telemarketers since upgrading to this phone!

There are certainly things users wish Pie could do that it doesn’t.  One of these being multi-resume.  The software allows users to have two different apps open simultaneously, but as the Android Activity Lifecycle is currently implemented only one can be in the resumed state at a time.  This can lead to funky behavior if you’re trying to play two videos as the same time, but there are already rumors that this is in the works. 

The bottom line is Pie rolling out is good news, and it’s sure to continue doing so as time goes on.  Hopefully Pie proves to roll out faster than previous Android versions, but only time will tell.  And if you want to run your phone on a different version flashing is always an option.  What are your thoughts on the Pie rollout?  Let us know in the comments below!

Android Q for Quick Release

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Android Q for Quick Release

You may think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but Android Q is already on the horizon.  Yes, we just finished covering the release of Pie a few months ago.  But it looks as though rollouts are starting to pick up more speed in the Android community.  Android Q’s full scale release is slated for 2019, and last week it was hinted that it will be available on a wider scale than we’ve seen before.

Android’s History:

Unless you own a pixel device chances are there’s been a time where you were waiting for your phone to have the newest software.  While Android is an amazing operating system, it’s notorious for rolling out very slowly.  Many phones just updated to Oreo as Pie was already being released.  In July Oreo was only active on 12.1% of devices.  This is somewhat understandable since Google is not the only player in the Android user experience But people still want what’s new, and that’s never going to change.

Last week at Android Dev Summit Hung-Ying Tyan, an engineer for Google’s Project Treble team, hinted that Q may be coming out on a trial basis sooner than we thought.  He said “We are also exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version.  So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI, and at the same time, we can get early feedback from you, so the benefit is mutual.”  GSI stands for Generic System Image and is a version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project.

What will Q have to offer?

Things are of course mostly speculation at this point, but predictions exist for a reason.  One such prediction is that the software is going to develop to match the ever-expanding tablets and foldable smartphones.  With increased screen size and split screen functionality users are bound to want to use multiple apps at the same time.  Enter Multi-resume.  I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly frustrating when I’m trying to use split screen but one app pauses once I interact with the other.  Depending on the app, this could render the whole feature pointless.  Split screen is an amazing tool, but it needs to be perfected still.

In the Android activity lifecycle there are different states an app can be in.  Currently when an app is no longer the forefront of attention in split screen it goes into a paused state.  Then when a user interacts with it again it enters the resumed state.  In Q we may see a multi-resume where two apps can both be “resumed” at the same time.  It’s also speculated that Q will have features like multi-monitor support, but only time will tell what all is on the table.

Coming Soon to a Phone Near You:

Android Q source code will be shared with users and app developers for testing before the version officially launches.  The long term goal of this is to make users and developers more acquainted with the upcoming version.  Increased comfort equals an increased adoption rate.  I’m currently enjoying and exploring Pie, but as with the rest of you I’m looking towards the future!  What are your thoughts on Android Q?  Is there a feature it desperately needs?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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