Android Pie Is Here, Promising Smarter, Simplified Interface

Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL Launch Reportedly Set for October 4

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Google said the "Digital Wellbeing" features, which help users manage their smartphone addictions by monitoring how much time they spend in apps, will not be released to general availability until later this year.

Google has also baked several AI features into Android Pie. For example, you can type "Lyft" into Google Search and you'll see fare prices for places like Home and Work as well as an ETA for the nearest auto to your location. Similarly, apps in split-screen won't be counted either, and nor will using them that way count toward app timers.

The update to Android 9.0 Pie is a big one that adds major new features, like the gesture navigation, while also helping you to understand your usage and better your life. The devices should start seeing the update prompt for the Android 9 Pie from tonight, although depending on the luck of the users and where they are based, it is possible that they may have to wait a few days or a week or two before their phones get the latest version of Android. If you select the name of a diner, for example, Pie can show you a Yelp Reviews button in addition to the standard copy, search, and share options. You'll be presented with a carousel view of every app.

With this release, Google is going all-in on having artificial intelligence help improve the end-user experience. There's a redesigned Quick Settings included, too, along with a new way to take screenshots and simplified volume controls.

Security was another focus area for Google, which stated that Android 9 "enables industry-leading hardware security capabilities to allow protecting sensitive data like credit card information using a secure, dedicated chip". The name is a bit different compared to previous versions of Android where there was no version number in the name, but hopefully the sweetness of the new OS remains the same.

Once you get that email, and hit the link in it, you'll see a Digital Wellbeing entry in the Settings page. Essential has been doing great with Android updates lately, and it's awesome to see the company release its Android Pie update on the same day as Google sends it to Pixel phones. Devices from Nokia, Vivo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Sony, Essential, and Oppo, all of which participated in the beta program, will receive Android 9 Pie by the end of the fall.

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