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The countdown to consumer release continues

Android P Beta 3 is available for devs; enroll and get beta testing!

Sarah Schlothauer
android
© Shutterstock / imdproduction

It’s time. Android P Beta 3 is now available for download. What’s inside this update and what’s next in line for Android?

Android developers are all abuzz about the new Android P Beta 3. It is now available for download on Pixel and top devices, so it’s time to check out what’s new, what’s updated, and what’s next.

During it’s beta phase, Android is looking for feedback and requests as they work on preparing for consumer release. So far, Android P is slated to come out sometime later this summer, so don’t waste time raising concerns before it goes live to the public. But first, what devices are supported? Make sure your device is included in the list of supported phones before diving in.

What’s new in Android P?

With Beta 3, there has been an update to the Android Studio build tools that includes D8 as an independent tool. But that’s not all. It also features:

  • multi-camera support and camera updates: stream from two or more cameras on your device
  • display cutout support: APIs that manage how the content is displayed have been added; check the cut out shape and request a full-screen layout
  • enhanced messaging notifications: improves visibility in notifications; highlights who is messaging and how you can reply
  • ImageDecoder: convert encoded images into Drawable or Bitmap objects
  • TextClassifier: classify text with a new interface
  • Dark theme: give your tired eyes a break
  • Security updates and bug fixes
  • Optimizations for increased stability

SEE ALSO: Dagger: Implement the full stack with this dependency injector for Java & Android

Let’s take a closer look at what’s new in text. Android P delivers a few new features that will make developers’ lives a little easier, and give users some great new experiences. PrecomputedText takes out much of the work in displaying a text. The developers blog gives the statistic that “measuring text can take up to 90% of the time required to set the text”. This is no more with PrecomputedText.

Android P provides greater accessibility with a text magnifier tool. It is simple to use by simply dragging a pane across text. On the machine learning front, Smart Linkify uses machine learning algorithms to recognize entities in text and allow links using regexes. Now if you send your friend a phone number, the API will suggest actions to take such as call, add to contacts, or send a text message.

So, how can I get on board?

Interested? If you have a Pixel device, you can enroll to the beta program here and check out the goodies now before anyone else. (Be smart and always back up your device beforehand!)

Don’t have a supported device? Easy fix, just set up an Android Virtual Device and let the power of emulation work its magic. With the emulator you can even simulate next-gen screens such as long screens. The developer blog cautions that it’s important to “test your apps for uses of non-SDK interfaces and reduce your reliance on them”. Take this advice to heart because Android P restricts access to some non-SDK interfaces.

To check and see if your app works well with Android P, use the Google Play’s beta testing feature and get feedback from trusted users. Run tests internally, and provide a channel for testers to give you valuable feedback so you can make tweaks before the consumer release is here.

SEE ALSO: Android P beta arrives with a bag full of intelligence

We will keep our eyes open, waiting for news about a consumer release. Until then, have fun developing in beta!

Have questions for the Android engineering team? Mark your calendars because they will be answering questions on Reddit in the r/androiddev sub on July 19, 11:30 – 1 PM Pacific Time. Join the AMA and make your questions and concerns known.

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey and is currently enrolled at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany where she is working on her Masters. She lives in Frankfurt with her husband and cat.