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Android P Developer Preview: What you need to know

Let the name guessing begin

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The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android P, is finally here, but don’t get too excited just yet. This is only a developer preview.

A developer what? This means it’s an early build meant for app developers and not consumers. This is important in finding bugs and creating optimized software before the final version begins rolling out.

But while this release is targeted toward software specialists, there’s a bunch of info regular users like us can learn from this early peak into Android P. Here are some things you must know:

Android P has no official name yet

Android Pie? Android Peanut? Nope, sorry — there’s no dessert tagged to Android P at the moment. That’s something we’ll learn between July and August 2018, a year after Android Oreo became official.

What’s more or less certain is this will be the ninth version of Android, and that it feels too early to release considering how few users actually have Oreo on their devices.

Most improvements are on the back end for now

This being a developer preview, a lot of the tweaks are currently happening from behind the curtains (or user interface in this case). Watch and see how geared this early build is for app makers:

But that doesn’t mean we won’t see any visual changes to Android P in the coming months. Based on the back-end improvements we’ve seen so far, some design cues and menus will have to shift, especially since…

It’ll have support for phones with a notch

The biggest — and possibly most disappointing — trend in smartphones is the inclusion of a notch or cutout at the top of a borderless display. However, smartphone manufacturers argue that it’s necessary in pursuing an all-screen front while maintaining key hardware like the earpiece and selfie camera.

Whatever the case, we have to accept the notch as more and more brands adopt it into their designs. Likewise, Android P will begin building its interface around the dead space. Notice how the clock is now positioned to the left in the above image; this will supposedly even out the icons in case a notch rests in between.

Quick settings and notifications are getting revamped

Notch or not, the quick settings and notifications on top will look a lot different. These previews from Google are the clearest looks we have so far of the design revamps:

You’ll notice the circular borders around the quick setting icons and the rounded edges of the notification shade. Each notification also includes more visuals, such as user icons and full-blown images from messages. There are even integrated smart replies for quick responses straight from the pull-down menu.

Android P won’t support the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C

Sadly, the last batch of Nexus smartphones and Google’s former flagship tablet aren’t getting a dose of this year’s Android flavor. Having been launched in 2015, they’ve reached the end of their software lifespan, but that doesn’t mean independent hackers won’t find a way to get Android P into these classic gadgets.

As anticipated, 2016’s Pixel and Pixel XL will be on the receiving end, along with last year’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Although nothing is certain yet with the current crop of Android One phones, all recent releases should get Android P by the end of the year.

We’ll learn more at Google I/O

The next major build will arrive in May during Google I/O, which is the company’s conference for announcing software-based updates. It’s this version that’ll officially be called a beta build, and will be available to the public for download. This is how it played out last year:

Apps

TechDen helps create better and healthier screen habits

Time to pull ourselves away from those addictive screens

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of us spend a majority of our time staring at a screen. This is all fine and dandy, technology is awesome, but we also have to admit that our devices have changed how we interact IRL. The founders of TechDen has thought of a way to pull us away from our screens and back into the real world.

TechDen merges software and hardware to create a system that can help build healthier screen habits. The Den lets you charge and store up to two devices, and manage multiple ones. The accompanying app lets you create “sessions” of specific time periods with their own duration based on people’s schedules, as well as schedules to remotely lock and unlock the doors of The Den.

You receive notifications when devices are removed as well as time usage, and in the family setting, this system creates opportunities for collaboration — you can talk to your kids about the session schedules, and even utilize these sessions as incentives.

TechDen is marketed towards families to encourage more real-world interaction with an “out of sight, out of mind” point of view. Really though, this tech would be very helpful for anyone who wants to build a healthy relationship with their devices for themselves.

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Spotlight: What’s new with Free on Spotify?

All these new features!

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Time to rejoice, music lovers! Last April, Spotify quietly announced the new and improved Free on Spotify, and today, we got up close and personal with all the new things the app can now do.

The streaming company’s Free on Spotify redesign will make for a better listening experience for all free users. How, you may ask? Well, it all boils down to five new key features.

Pick your favorites

Spotify’s taste onboarding allows you to pick five (or more) of your favorite artists and this will set the stage for your Spotify experience — a home screen and music discovery experience tailored to your choices will await.

Pick and play… list

15 playlists will automatically be curated based on your music preferences for your listening pleasure. These playlists are different for each individual person, and they update depending on your interactions. Talk about personalized listening!

When you decide to make your own playlists, you’ll also get suggestions based on your artist choice and even playlist title.

What you want, when you want

Previously only available to Premium users, Free users now have unlimited skips — yes, you heard right! The caveat: The feature is only available for those 15 curated playlists, which isn’t half bad as those are catered to your personal taste.

All ❤️s

Actions on specific songs will help you create a better experience on the Spotify app. Hitting ❤️ on a song means it will go to Your Favorites, a playlist that’s found on your home screen.

You can also “unlike” songs which removes said offending song from future playlists. Don’t worry though, this is reversible — simply searching for the song and tapping ❤️ will undo the action.

Optimize your data

For the data-conscious, there’s now a data saving mode! This isn’t turned on by default but all you need to do is head to settings and activate it.

Happy listening!

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SafeDate gives you ease of mind going into a date

This app lets your friends keep tabs on you

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In 2005, Emma Sayle started Killing Kittens, best known for its extravagant sex parties. It aims to enable women to explore their sexuality in an open and safe space. Since it started, KK has had an incredibly strict code of conduct for their parties to ensure that women feel “empowered, safe, and confident.” Members are vetted before being admitted and there is a rule wherein only the women can approach men.

Last July, she launched the SafeDate app which puts a modern twist to what girls have been doing for years. This app lets you input information for your dates, including a profile for the person you’re going out with. You then designate a “safe friend” to whom you will have to check in with at a time which you set. If you don’t check in by the time you set, your friend will be notified and given the details of your date, and it would be up to them to decide what to do next.

Sayle told Wired that we can’t stop bad things from happening, nor can we tell people what to do. But if someone seeing the SafeDate logo makes them think twice, and women feel safer knowing that someone they trust is keeping an eye out for them, it’s a step in the right direction. We definitely couldn’t agree more!

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