While we expected Android P's developer preview to be released in a week, Google has announced and released the first Android P developer build, with changes mostly aimed at developers.
Naturally, as with all developer previews, there isn't a lot of consumer-facing stuff highlighted like say new emoji, and much of it is rough with features which can be pulled during the development process. Nevertheless, there are a few interesting features that Google has made sure to point out.
Support for display cutouts/notches:
As revealed earlier this year, Android is gaining support for notches officially with Android P. "Now apps can take full advantage of the latest device screens with fullscreen content." Google explained, "We've added display cutout into the platform, along with APIs that you can use to manage how your content is displayed. Cutout support works seamlessly for apps, with the system managing status bar height to separate your content from the cutout.."
More and more Android phones have been announced this year with display cutouts (notches), and it only makes sense for Google to standardise a way for the system to render apps around these cutouts.
Google has refreshed its notifications and quick actions somewhat. The notification centre now looks more iOS-ish, with rounded cards. The firm also now supports improved interaction with notifications. Users can attach photos and stickers, reply quickly with smart replies and view images in messaging notifications. Google was rumoured to be making its design language in Android P more similar to IOS to attract users, and we're seeing the first fruits of that in this developer preview.
Android P will limit the ability of background apps to access device sensors like the microphone and the camera. Conspiracy theories have abounded of apps like Facebook using your microphone to build a data profile about you when you weren't using the app, and while no proof has emerged of this actually happening, Google has taken steps to prevent even the suspicion of clandestine data-mining in this manner going forward. This change will apply to all apps on Android P powered devices, regardless of what API level they target.
Multi Camera Support
Android P will now support dual cameras more efficiently, allowing camera apps which target the Android P API level to create "seamless zoom, bokeh and stereo vision" on camera apps that support them. While Google did support portrait photos on Android with the Pixel 2, it was done with an algorithm, instead of a physical second camera. Perhaps Google plans to take advantage of both capable hardware and powerful software on its next camera efforts.
Android P is available now as a preview for developers. It goes without saying that this is an extremely rough build, and anything could go wrong, so you most likely would want to install this on a secondary phone. It can only be installed on Pixel devices at this time.