Google still has some serious work to do to get its most recent Android version to users — only 1.1 percent of Android users are using Oreo — but the company is already hard at work on Android P, which we’re starting to hear the first rumors about in a new report from Bloomberg.
One of the main goals of Android P is reportedly ”improving the look of the software” to better appeal to existing iPhone users in hopes that they’ll make the switch over to Google’s platform. A flashy redesign could help Android phones stand out this year, especially as Apple is said to be putting its own major redesign on the back burner until next year to focus on performance and reliability in iOS 12.
Google is also said to be designing the updated operating system to better integrate camera notches, such as the ones found on the Essential Phone and iPhone X, as more and more hardware manufacturers embrace reduced-bezel designs. Also rumored to be part of Android P is better support for different form factors of Android devices, with features like multiple screens (like the ZTE Axon M) and foldable displays (which Samsung is rumored to be working on for later this year).
Of course, Google is also said to be planning to further embed Assistant into Android: the company is reportedly considering allowing third-party developers to directly integrate Assistant into their own apps. Assistant might also be added to the omnipresent Google search bar on the home screen, although neither of these decisions is apparently finalized yet.
If past history is anything to go by, Google will likely announced Android P with a developer preview sometime in March, with a more formal unveiling at Google I/O in May before launching the final software to users in the fall. Unfortunately, given the historically fragmented nature of Android development, it’s unlikely that most Android devices (unless they have the phrase “Google Pixel” in their name) on the market today will actually get Android P updates.