Android Pie: What you need to know
What to expect, how to install and when your Android device might see Android 9, now known as "Android Pie".
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In August 2018 Google released Android 9, simultaneously revealing that the "P" in what was previously called "Android P" stands simply for "Pie". We were hanging out for Android Pavlova, which would have had a nice antipodean flavour to it, but simply Pie it is.
As with all new versions of the Android operating system, there are plenty of fresh features and services to get excited about, so let's start by breaking them down.
What's new in Android Pie?
Google has introduced a range of new features and optimisations in Android Pie.
One of the most hyped features is Google's "Digital Wellbeing" campaign, designed to let you more precisely manage your screen time between work and home, wind down and live a healthier life with your Android device. You can set time limits for apps, make the screen gradually fade colours as the day progresses to remind you to go to bed or set apps for specific "Work" or "Personal" subsections.
Digital Wellbeing is now available to all phones running Android Pie.
Like every other tech company right now, Google is heavily pushing the AI angle of its products, and Android Pie is no exception. App Actions give you contextual choices based on the onscreen information of a particular app, while onscreen brightness will note your brightness choices over the course of a day and adjust accordingly.
Users of Android Pie phones should also see better overall battery life, with the new Adaptive Battery feature, which will learn your usage patterns and adjust app usage accordingly. It won't be an absolute saviour of all your battery woes but should stop rogue apps you're not using sucking up your precious battery capacity.
The feature of Android Pie you'll almost certainly notice first are the new gesture controls. These work in a similar (but not quite identical) way to the gestures used by Apple's iPhone X, in that a single pill-shaped icon at the base of the screen is used in place of the traditional back, home and multi-tasking buttons.
Swiping up brings up multi-tasking, to the side for app switching and tapping for home is surprisingly easy to learn, although Google was beaten to this feature by Huawei. It has used the fingerprint reader on many of its premium phones in this way for some time, albeit as an option you had to enable rather than a core feature.
Which phones can get Android Pie?
With Android Pie launching back in 2018, there are now plenty of phones that either come with the operating system installed out of the box or support updating to Android Pie via an Over The Air (OTA) update. The latter option simply requires you to go into the settings of your phone and check for updates, at which point you'll be able to download and install the Android Pie update.
You can find all the smartphones that support Android Pie listed below:
- Samsung Galaxy S10/S10+/S10e
- Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note9
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy J6
- Samsung Galaxy A8/A8+/A8 Star
- Samsung Galaxy A9
- Samsung Galaxy J4/J4+
- Samsung Galaxy J6+
- Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy A7 (scheduled for August 2019)
- Samsung Galaxy J7 Duo (scheduled for September 2019)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (scheduled for September 2019)
- Motorola Moto G7/G7 Power/G7 Plus
- Motorola One/One Power
- Motorola Moto Z3/Z3 Play
- Motorola Moto Z2 Play/Z3 Force
- Motorola Moto X4
- Motorola Moto G6/G6 Play/G6 Plus
- Google Pixel 3/3 XL/3a/3a XL
- Google Pixel 2/2 XL
- Google Pixel/Pixel XL
- LG G7 ThinQ
- LG V30+
- Huawei P30/P30 Pro
- Huawei Mate 20/Mate 20 Pro
- Huawei P20/P20 Pro
- Huawei Mate 10/Mate 10 Pro
- Huawei Nova 3i
- Huawei Nova 3e
- Honor 10/Play/View 10
- Sony Xperia 1
- Sony Xperia 10/10 Plus
- Sony Xperia XZ3
- Sony Xperia XZ2/XZ2 Premium/XZ2 Compact
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- Sony Xperia XZ1/XZ1 Compact
- Sony Xperia XA2/XA2 Plus/XA2 Ultra
- Nokia 9 Pureview
- Nokia 8/8.1/8 Sirocco
- Nokia 7.1/7.1 Plus
- Nokia 6/6 Plus/6.1
- Nokia 5/5.1/5.1 Plus
- Nokia 4.2
- Nokia 3/3.1/3.1 Plus/3.2
- Nokia 2.2
- Nokia 2.1 (GO version)
- Nokia 1/1 Plus (GO version)
- OnePlus 7/7 Pro
- OnePlus 6/6T
- OnePlus 5/5T
- OnePlus 3/3T
- Oppo Reno Z/Reno 5G/Reno 10x Zoom
- Oppo R17/R17 Pro
- Oppo Find X
- Oppo R11/R11 Plus/R11s/R11s Plus (scheduled for September 2019)
- Oppo A7x (scheduled for September 2019)
- Oppo A3 (scheduled for September 2019)
- HTC U12+ (scheduled for late 2019)
- HTC U11/U11+ (scheduled for late 2019)
- HTC U11 Life (scheduled for late 2019)
- Razer Phone 2
- Razer Phone
If you own one of the handful of Android One phones (mostly Nokia models in the Australian market), you should also see Android Pie pretty swiftly because the entire point of Android One is that the updates come from Google rather than manufacturers.
My phone isn't in that list! Can I get Android Pie?
The answer to that is a qualified "maybe".
It has long been an issue that many Android phones don't see full operating system updates, much more so than for Apple devices. Typically speaking, premium Android phones tend to adopt Android updates a little faster than their cheaper brethren. But that's made more complex by the levels of customisation that each Android manufacturer puts on top of the basic Android OS.
It's a more complex job for, say, Oppo and its ColorOS overlay than it would be for Motorola, where you get nearly-stock Android. Then again, Oppo's R15 Pro was an Android P beta phone. Essentially, it's hard to tell when you might see an update, although it's always worth checking manufacturer pages as they may have public announcements that clarify the position for specific handsets.
Any updates then have to be tested by carriers, so if you got your handset through Telstra, Optus or Vodafone there can be further delays in rolling it out to your device.
While that's frustrating, nobody's holding up your Android updates for the sake of it. The variety in the open Android ecosystem means that there's a lot more that can go wrong with the complex code. Nobody wants an update that bricks their phone.
It's reasonable to expect that most of the current crop of premium phones from Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and Huawei should see updates at some point in 2019, but all you can really do is wait and see.