Google has now revealed the official confectionery-themed name for the latest version of its operating system — Android Pie. Sorry to those who thought it was going to be named "Peanut Butter."
The search company has also announced that the final, shipping version of Android Pie is now available for all Pixel phones.
The headlining features of Android Pie include a "Digital Wellbeing" dashboard, which aims to help users curb their smartphone addiction; a new gesture-based navigation system, which eschews the old "Home," "Return," and "Menu" keys in favor of swiping up, left, or right to move between screens; and other artificial intelligence improvements to the overall user interface. Google also introduces many subtle refinements to the overall look of Android, including a new status bar that's designed to work better with notches.
Android 9 Pie Stable Version: All The Missing Features
A caveat, however: not all these features are included in the latest official release. Digital Wellbeing features such as the usage dashboard, app times, and a "wind down" setting are all missing. Those features will be available immediately to beta testers, though. The actual release will occur sometime this fall. Users can sign up for Google's beta software program by visiting this website.
Another missing feature are the so-called slices, which allow users to access certain functionalities of an app just by searching for them, without having to open the app entirely. For instance, typing "Lyft" into Google search will display an option to call a ride without launching the app. This feature comes this fall.
As typical of new OS releases, Android Pie is first arriving on Pixel phones and will make its way to other handsets later on, although that depends on how quickly manufacturers port the software to their phones. It might not take too long this time, though: most major manufacturers have signed up for the Android P beta program, including Nokia, Oppo, Vivo, Essential, OnePlus, Sony, and Xiaomi, which means they might be able to release Android Pie earlier than usual.
"Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall!" Google confirmed in a blog post. "We're also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year."
How To Download Android 9 Pie Right Now
To download Android 9 Pie, users must own a Google Pixel phone, of course. The Essential Phone, however, also has the update rolling out on day one. The software will arrive as an over-the-air update, so simply open Settings, tap System, and check System Update to see if it's already available. If it is, tap download and install. Make sure to leave the device charging before proceeding.