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Android P brings simplicity, machine learning and security to your device

Google has unveiled the latest version of its Android mobile software, promising a more intelligent and safer way to access your smartphone.

At the Google I/O event in Mountain View, the company revealed all on Android P, the newest and smartest edition of its software to date.

Google says that it wanted to simplify the way people use their Android devices, and has put in a lot of effort to make navigating around easier than ever. The new version of Android comes with iPhone-esque navigational tweaks, including a simplified navigation bar that at some times minimises to just a home button which can be swiped to move around.

Elsewhere, Android P offers a major improvement when it comes to battery life. Google has teamed up with its DeepMind subsidiary to create a new Adaptive Battery tool that utilises machine learning to predict what apps you access the most, and then adopt battery performance to this.

Machine learning has also been brought to the forefront when it comes to development, as a new ML Kits service makes creating smarter new apps easier than ever. Tools such as facial detection, landmark recognition and smart reply for chatbots can all be integrated into new and more powerful apps.

However Google also revealed a push towards “digital well-being” that looks to actually reduce the amount of time we spend on our phones. Android P comes with a new Dashboard tool that shows exactly how much time you spend on individual apps, and can allow you to set usage limits to make sure you don’t stay glued to your device. 

Corporate users will also be able to switch off when away from the office, as Android P allows users to separate work apps from no-work services. These are then sorted into a different tab on the app drawer, next to a toggle switch which can disable them, providing a much easier way to relax.

"When we launched the first Android phone, it was with a simple and bold idea,” said Dave Burke, VP of engineering at Android, “now it's more than just as smartphone operating system.”

“Android has helped fuel the shift of computing from desktop to mobile....AI is going to profoundly change industries."

For the first time, Google is also making a beta version of Android P available to users of non-Pixel devices, with products from Nokia, Oppo, OnePlus, Sony and Xiaomi all able to get their hands on a preview.

"Android P is in many respects an incremental update to the OS but it's clear that AI is now defining a number of everyday features to improve and simplify the user experience, “ noted Geoff Blaber, vice president research, CCS Insight.

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.