The excitement in my belly when my phone alerted me to the fact that Android Pie was being dished out to the Pixel phones was unreal
. I’ve been waiting a while for this latest Android instalment because I was told not only would the UI be different but that I would find I’d be using my phone less,
which naturally, I love the idea of because I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows for sure that they’re glued to their phone all day every day.
At first appearances, the UI wasn’t strikingly different. The edges seemed more round, which was nice. However, when swiping between apps and screens, I found the transitions to be much smoother and more fluid and it felt and looked miles better. The recent apps screen now displays in a card format which is easy to navigate, although I’m not loving the fact that I have to scroll through alllll my recent apps to get to the “Clear All” function.
I’m currently running Android Pie on a Pixel XL and it’s fast
. A noticeable difference from version 8, which froze a little and on occasion juddered its way through opening apps, version 9 is a walk in the park and actually a genuine joy to use. The notifications which pop up at the top of the phone also look better and smarter which is a nice touch and thankfully, my phone now also asks me if I want it to stop displaying notifications from some apps. I still can’t seem to get to grips with the clock now being on the opposite side of the top of the phone though… BUT, I do love that they’ve brought the instant silent mode back. No more keeping your finger on the volume down key to put your phone into vibrate or silent, you can change it again, like before, with the press of a button.
I was told that Google had worked very hard on the AI which was built into the latest firmware and so far I’ve found that (and I’m not sure whether it’s just coincidence or not) but when I mentioned at work about having to put my Google Playlist on because the radio was awful, I opened my phone and my Google Music app was ready and waiting in the shortcuts list. Aside from this, and the fact that my phone is slowly remembering which apps I tend to open at certain times of the day and which apps have messages or updates waiting for me, so show up in my shortcuts in the apps screens, I haven’t actually noticed any “AI” to speak of.
When first announced, one of Pie’s updated features was its battery saving tech. Whilst I’m not overly sure how it manages this, I have noticed that my phone has lasted ever so slightly longer than usual.
With regards to “using my phone less”, Google has introduced something called “Digital Wellbeing”. I looked all over my phone’s settings for this and it turns out that because it’s currently in Beta testing, you have to sign up for it. So I’ve signed up and checked it out. You can set timers on apps so that they lock out after a certain time and I’m not sure that this is a feature I would use, like my mum used to unplug the landline to disconnect the dial-up modem when I was younger and she wanted me to come off MSN Messenger and go to bed. I do however really like the idea of the “greyscale” mode, helping you to wind down at night.
All in all, bearing in mind I haven’t managed to test the Digital Wellbeing mode yet, I am absolutely in LOVE with this new version of Android. Best. Android. Yet.