Google has officially released the latest flavour of its mobile operating system, namely Android 9 Pie.
Pie is the ninth major version of Android and take over from Android 8 (Oreo), which was released back in August 2017.
Traditionally, major new iterations of Android are named after sweet treats. For example, Android 2.0 was Gingerbread, 3.0 was Honeycomb and 7.0 was Nougat.
Some Android phone makers have already offered Pie betas, and the rest should receive it as and when their handset manufacturer pushes it out.
So what does Android 9 Pie offer over previous versions of the operating system? Well, in a blog posting, Google explained that Pie utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a better user experience that can adapt to the individual user.
And the focus is also very much on digital well-being as new features include the ability to track usage of apps and set limits (a useful feature for parents), and the ability to remove colour from the screen at a chosen time of the day.
“We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you – and work better for you – the more you use it,” wrote Google. “From predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take, to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, to helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day, Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone.”
For example Android 9 Pie includes features such as Adaptive Battery, which learns the apps used the most and prioritises battery life for them. Another feature is Adaptive Brightness, which learns how the user likes to set the brightness in different settings (less bright at night-time for example), and does it for them.
App Actions meanwhile predicts what the user will want to do next based on the context and displays that action on the phone.
For example, say it is Tuesday morning and the user is preparing for his or her daily commute to work, the phone will suggest actions such as navigating to work on Google Maps or resuming an audiobook with Google Play Books. If the user plugs in headphones after work, they may see options to call home or start their favourite Spotify playlist.
Google of course is currently in the process of appealing the largest ever antitrust fine ever issued, after the European Commission last month fined Google a record 4.3 billion euros (£3.83bn) for commercial practices related to Android.
The Commission alleged that Google forces device makers to include Chrome and Google Search if they place the Play Store app store on devices.
It also says Google breaks competition laws by barring phone makers from selling official Android phones if they also sell devices that run customised versions of the software.
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