Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 11th Mar 2018 22:07 UTC
Android

Google has released the first preview for Android P - again, apologies for the late coverage - and it contains some interesting improvements. Here's a few things that jumped out at me:

To better ensure privacy, Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle. While your app's UID is idle, the mic reports empty audio and sensors stop reporting events. Cameras used by your app are disconnected and will generate an error if the app tries to use them. In most cases, these restrictions should not introduce new issues for existing apps, but we recommend removing these requests from your apps.

This is a very good move, and I doubt anyone will have any objections.

In line with these changes, Android P will warn users with a dialog when they install an app that targets a platform earlier than Android 4.2 (targetSdkVersion less than 17), and future platform versions will continue to increment that lower bound.

Expect scary warning dialogs when installing older applications. This should encourage developers to update their applications as users complain in the review sections of the Play Store. Hopefully.

You can now access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. The API also lets you call a logical or fused camera stream that automatically switches between two or more cameras.

Definitely neat.

There's a lot more stuff in this preview release, and more features will certainly follow over the coming months.

Order by: Score:
Mic and backround apps
by MrWeeble on Sun 11th Mar 2018 22:47 UTC
MrWeeble
Member since:
2007-04-18

Android P restricts access to mic ... from apps that are idle

Does this mean that google will have special privilege to respond to "OK Google" no matter what is in the foreground, but users will have to explicitly open any apps from competitors (Alexa, Cortana, Siri) should they try to be on Android?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mic and backround apps
by sukru on Sun 11th Mar 2018 23:13 UTC in reply to "Mic and backround apps"
sukru Member since:
2006-11-19

I'm not sure how it works, however there seems to be an API for "hotword" detection:

https://developer.android.com/reference/android/service/voice/Always...

It looks like you'll need to register the hotword, and let the system notify you when it is detected.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Mic and backround apps
by darknexus on Mon 12th Mar 2018 18:23 UTC in reply to "Mic and backround apps"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I had a different, though related, question: does this mean that I wouldn't be able to be on a VOIP call while I'm doing other tasks, e.g. WhatsApp calling? I'd hope not, since that's an explicitly authorized microphone use that I allowed before putting the app in the background, but you never know these days.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Mic and backround apps
by Alfman on Mon 12th Mar 2018 19:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Mic and backround apps"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I had a different, though related, question: does this mean that I wouldn't be able to be on a VOIP call while I'm doing other tasks, e.g. WhatsApp calling? I'd hope not, since that's an explicitly authorized microphone use that I allowed before putting the app in the background, but you never know these days.


I do the same thing with video streaming. As with most things, I don't object to increasing privacy defaults as long as the users can override them as needed!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mic and backround apps
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 13th Mar 2018 13:47 UTC in reply to "Mic and backround apps"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Key phrase "from apps that are idle".

That could mean lots of things.

Reply Score: 2

OS Updates
by MrEcho on Mon 12th Mar 2018 02:06 UTC
MrEcho
Member since:
2005-07-07

So O 8.* only has 1.1% usage after 6 months. And you can still buy phones with 7.*, I find that pretty sad.
So maybe in 2-3 years they will start to sell P 9.* ?
Its starting to look like if you want up-to-date phones, you will need to get the Pixel.
Ad as for the API versions, they should bump it up to 20, way to many people still on 19 and below.

Reply Score: 1

RE: OS Updates
by moondevil on Mon 12th Mar 2018 08:08 UTC in reply to "OS Updates"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Actually in Germany you can still get lower than that, with the cheapest supermarket handsets being Android 5.1.

And no, Treble won't fix any of that, because OEMs are the ones expected to deliver updates, if ever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: OS Updates
by sj87 on Mon 12th Mar 2018 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE: OS Updates"
sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

Especially the tablet market suffers of outdated Android releases. I don't think Huawei has even manufactured a single tablet with Android 8 / Oreo yet. All their products ship with Android 7 series or even Android 6. No doubt some shops will have Android 5 -powered crap in stock aswell.

But this problem is not restricted to Huawei, it's only them that came to my mind since back in the day they did release a couple tablets powered by Android 5.1 nearly a year after Android 6.0 had been released.

Edited 2018-03-12 18:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: OS Updates
by darknexus on Tue 13th Mar 2018 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: OS Updates"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, to be fair, the Android tablet market in general has crashed pretty hard. A lack of decent tablet apps (no, phone apps blown up aren't good enough) seems to have utterly destroyed the demand for productivity-focused Android tablets. ChromeOS with Android app support seems to be the closest thing to it these days, unfortunately.

Reply Score: 0

RE: OS Updates
by wocowboy on Mon 12th Mar 2018 10:29 UTC in reply to "OS Updates"
wocowboy Member since:
2006-06-01

And yet Google only sold 3-4 million Pixel phones in the past year. This tells me that Android users really don't give a flip about security and identity protection or OS software updates for their phones at all since they keep buying phones from these manufacturers and carriers that don't allow the phones they sell to be updated, or, as is the case with the brand freakin' new Samsung Galaxy S9 models, shipping them with a 6-month old, outdated version of Android!

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: OS Updates
by moondevil on Mon 12th Mar 2018 13:04 UTC in reply to "RE: OS Updates"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Many people would buy PIxels if:

1 - They were actually available on their country;

2 - Had replaceable battery and SD card support;

3 - Were not bloody expensive

So if one can afford Pixel prices, on the few countries it is available, then they usually go with the iPhone instead.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: OS Updates
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 12th Mar 2018 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE: OS Updates"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Wait, Samsung galaxy s9, will ship with oreo, the latest release of Andriod. P, doesn't even have a name, won't ship until the fall.

That will be the real test of Treble: how long does it take samsung to upgrade the S9 to P ? Will it be faster than the S8 upgrade to Oreo?

I'm keeping an open mind, but would bet against Treble making a difference.

Reply Score: 3

Non-issue
by wocowboy on Mon 12th Mar 2018 10:26 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

It's too bad that nobody will see Android P on an actual general-availability, for-sale device for a year or so. Having to unlock or hack your phone, or sign up for a beta program to enjoy the latest OS with its security and function features of your phone is just sad.

Reply Score: 0

Text selection magnifaction, finally!
by Parry on Mon 12th Mar 2018 11:00 UTC
Parry
Member since:
2014-06-03

This may seem a moot feature to many but I'm so pleased Google has finally added magnification to text select (coping iOS). Selecting text in Android is infuriating as you jab your finger and hope for the best. Some Sony and HTC(?) phones come bundled with a similar feature but it's nice to finally have it integrated in to the OS.

Edited 2018-03-12 11:00 UTC

Reply Score: 4

v Nagging dialogs
by missingxtension on Mon 12th Mar 2018 11:45 UTC
Bummer about the cam features
by Kancept on Mon 12th Mar 2018 17:27 UTC
Kancept
Member since:
2006-01-09

Just got a Pixel 2 and it only has one cam in the rear, so bummer about all the extra cool camera features coming down the pipe.

Reply Score: 2

Gingerbread
by Kochise on Mon 12th Mar 2018 21:23 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

Will apps targeting gingerbread (api 9-10) will be blocked ? Because some simple apps don't need fancy notifications and material design.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Gingerbread
by darknexus on Tue 13th Mar 2018 14:51 UTC in reply to "Gingerbread"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I sure hope so. If a developer has left their app alone that long, it's basically abandonware and a security risk on an always-online device. Forget gingerbread. It's time to kill the last of it off and ditch the abandoned apps.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Gingerbread
by Alfman on Tue 13th Mar 2018 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Gingerbread"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

darknexus,

I sure hope so. If a developer has left their app alone that long, it's basically abandonware and a security risk on an always-online device. Forget gingerbread. It's time to kill the last of it off and ditch the abandoned apps.


What makes you say it's a security risk? Technically it's about the same risk as more recent software you can download running under the same permissions.

Some apps are front ends for devices in my home. One is an internet radio that is no longer supported and will not receive any updates. This means that if google decides to block the apps I'll loose the smart phone functionality that I still use.

Reply Score: 3