back to article New Android P beta is 'very close', 'near-final' but also just 'early'

Google has emitted a new beta of Android P, but it's not obvious how excited to get about it. We’re conflicted because Google has described the new release as "an early release candidate build" and says the full release is due "later this [northern] summer". Which suggests this release could probably be skipped given the …

  1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    So the idea is to get one step closer to iOS’s universality of APIs?

    Good.

    But forcing the changes down devs’ throats isn’t.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      You mean the OS where you're not allowed to render a website in any other way than an Apple control.

      Google Chrome on iPad / iPhone is just a Safari control in a different coloured box.

      I'm not at all sure that "universality" of APIs is an no-questions-asked good thing in and of itself. There has to be something else too in order to ensure you can program against them freely.

      Also note, it's impossible to do certain things on iOS programmatically at all, by design. Sure, that saves you a few small security headaches but the amount they MISS tells you that that isn't the end of the story either. And causes huge user interface problems.

      Don't even get me started on the junk that is screen-modal pop-up login dialogs that don't tell the user their origin, and go over the top of anything you happened to be doing.

  2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So, developers are going to miss out their (northern) summer holidays trying to find out what's not going to work on their current apps? Thanks Google.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Compared to Apple's definitive release system (announced and available early june, available to the great unwashed september), Google's house appears somewhat anarchic in comparison

      1. Steve Evans

        Or viewed another way, would you rather something that was released when it was ready, or something that was released because the calendar said so?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I prefer my software release to be a quality goal, not a calendar goal.

        Apple's calendar goal is why iOS is so damn buggy.

        1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

          "Apple's calendar goal is why iOS is so damn buggy."

          i would be careful with comments like that... you will have an army of appletards hunting you down for spreading malicious truths.....

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            you will have an army of appletards hunting you down

            On the reg ?

            Does Safari still give you an electric shock if you try and visit this site?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      If you used undocumented APIs that is your fault, no Google's.

      You already had your summer holiday when you took the easy road on the past.

    3. onefang Silver badge

      "So, developers are going to miss out their (northern) summer holidays"

      Not every country has a bunch of holidays during that time. Australia, the Land of the Long Weekend, has a holiday period roughly from shortly before Christmas eve to shortly after New Years, which is summer for us, and obviously not (northern) summer. This is not an official holiday period, other than the usual Christmas and New Years holidays, the rest is simply "Meh, we are closed for a couple of weeks" for the majority of companies / government departments. Or the silly season as it is known. I suspect a lot of other countries also close down most things during that period. We don't have any lengthy mid year holiday seasons though, officially or unofficially.

      Other than Easter, the rest of our holidays tend to be moved to the nearest Monday or (not so often) Friday, hence Land of the Long Weekend.

      School kids get a longer break at the beginning / start of the year, and if I recall (and it's not changed since I went to school) two shorter breaks during the year of two weeks each I think. Yes, I live within earshot of three schools, you'd think I would have noticed the differences in noise levels during my twelve year stay here. I've not really paid much attention.

      I understand Europe has a lengthy period during August, where people bitch about all the tourists coming to their locality, so go to some other European holiday destination to get away from them, and go annoy the locals there.

      I may be wrong, but I think USA has their famous school summer holidays, that a lot of movies are made about, which sounds like a lengthy mid year break. The movies are the only reason I know about this. I don't put a lot of stock in the accuracy of anything coming out of Hollywood though.

      Other countries, and there are a lot of those, make up their own minds about their holiday periods. May or may not match up with USA, Europe, or Australia, purely coincidentally, or to align with international business needs.

      So, some developers are going to miss out on their (northern) summer holidays, and some, even in the north, wont have holidays during that time to miss.

  3. ratfox Silver badge
    Happy

    What we do know is that Android P's features were frozen

    Android Popsicle it is, then

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder what it'll break ?

    One of the reasons I am loathe to pay for apps. is not because I am a tightwad (although I am). But because I've had 2 paid-for apps broken by Android updates.

    Now legally, the developers are responsible - they took my money. However one of these apps simply can't be fixed unless Google reverse the change which broke it.

    And since there's no way to revert to the (now "a", the) previous build ...

    The best that can be said about Android is that it's free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      Personally I've always felt the pricing structure for apps are not well suited for the environment. It was simply implemented because that's how software was sold at the time, without thought as to what would work best.

      The framework they should have rolled out along side regular one time payments is subscriptions, allowing you choose whatever mix of apps you like month to month. By bundling a developer can charge say 10 cents a month for an app, and since the billing is charged lump sum by Google it makes such small charges viable.

      I had a few app ideas I wanted to do, but the current payment system doesn't support it. I'm fine with releasing them for free as well but then i have to pay Google an annual fee to do so, and the motivation also takes a hit. It's one area where i feel all mobile platforms failed, zero innovation in terms of payment models.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

        "The framework they should have rolled out along side regular one time payments is subscriptions"

        The subscription model for software is one of the primary things that is ruining software.

        " I'm fine with releasing them for free as well but then i have to pay Google an annual fee to do so"

        You don't actually. You pay a fee to get into the Play store, but the Play store is not required in order to develop and sell your software.

    2. killakrust

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      It's not exactly a unique problem to Android though. For example; I have an iPod Touch, and tried connecting to iTunes a while back. I wouldn't work unless iOS was updated, so I dutifully ran the update. Now half the apps I'd paid for don't work, and even though most have updates, they won't install because they were built for newer hardware.

      1. Avatar of They
        Happy

        Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

        Just the same in microsoft though, a window 98 piece program won't work in windows 8 etc.

        We just seem to accept it more with a computer and sulk when it is with apps

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: Wonder what it'll break ? @Avatar of They

          Some Win98 apps might not work in Win8 but the vast majority will. I've even been able to get DOS games from 20+ years ago to work in Win10.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      The best that can be said about Android is that it's free.

      It's not free.

      1. Thoguht Silver badge

        Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

        Android is supplied by Google free of charge, but you'll need to license the proprietary drivers for the phone and other chipsets and of course you deploy it at your own risk unless you pay Microsoft their protection money licensing fee.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

          Indeed. And the end users pay with their data.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      It's not 2014 anymore..

      https://www.androidpolice.com/2017/12/19/play-store-require-new-updated-apps-target-recent-api-levels-distribute-native-apps-64-bit-support/

    5. J27 Bronze badge

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      Never update then, no one is making you.

    6. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

      Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

      "However one of these apps simply can't be fixed unless Google reverse the change which broke it"

      that is simply not true.... the real fact of the matter is that its not worth the time and effort for the dev to fix it. they have probably released a new app that is "new and improved" and is making them more money that the old one ever will by spending the time to fix it... they just play the SEP card....

      "And since there's no way to revert to the (now "a", the) previous build ..."

      I am not sure what you are saying here. If you are on about the previous version of android, then for many handsets its just a matter of downloading and flashing to an earlier build.

      "The best that can be said about Android is that it's free."

      I guess you dont really know much about android if you think the best thing is its free..

      the fact that the dev kit is available for free and you are not forced to hand over 30% of what you charge for an app because there is only one place you can market your wares is another.

      I am sure other commentards will give you many other good points to android as well as better bad points.....

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Wonder what it'll break ?

        What's the app?

        What's the function that can't be reintroduced?

        Is there a single other app anywhere in the Play Store that does the same function (I don't care how, what else, whether it's prettier)?

        Because I imagine there's not much that doesn't work in the way you state, when the developer is non-lazy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's the app?

          Can't speak for that poster, but Android 7.1.1 broke whatever it was which allowed the "ACR" call recorder to work.

          https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nll.acr&hl=en_GB

          Big up for the developer, as they were quick to respond to me and trawl through the debug I provided. As soon as they saw the Android version they replied that it was a change to the API and Google hadn't issued a workaround. If indeed they were going too.

          I can't say more than that, as I'm not conversant with Android to that detail, nor to the plethora of apps that exist.

          MS did the same between Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7.0. You were able to access the audio stack in 6.5, but not 7.0. Not that the (few) apps that claimed to offer call recording told you that. And that's not including the "call recording" apps which were simply dictaphone apps which you help up to your landline handset and used to "record the call".

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: What's the app?

            To my knowledge, an awful lot of phones have never supported recording calls at all, but that's a hardware manufacturer integration. If they don't present the hardware to the Android drivers, then there's no way for the Android API to record it.

            But also note:

            https://developer.android.com/reference/android/media/MediaRecorder.AudioSource

            "This permission is reserved for use by system components and is not available to third-party applications."

            Even the latest Android APIs do have an option to do just what you're talking about, but it's never been properly exposed and officially supported. When you use unsupported stuff, that's what happens.

            I don't think it's ANYTHING to do with Android. It's to do with people BYPASSING Android. And I think it's to do with manufacturer's not exposing functionality in a standardised way via the Android APIs that already exist and/or not producing hardware that supports such functionality (e.g. a voice-call-handling chip that doesn't provide the voice data to the processor running Android at all).

  5. Tromos
    Joke

    Did you say Android Pee?

    Cleaning up after the dog was bad enough...

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Did you say Android Pee?

      New Android P beta is 'very close', 'near-final' but also just 'early'

      That would be an "Emergency Pee"

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Did you say Android Pee?

        'That would be an "Emergency Pee"'

        Google are dancing around, trying to hold it in, but they are not sure when they'll burst, and are trying to make sure that when they do burst, they don't make a big mess.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Did you say Android Pee?

      "Can I have a 'P' please, Bob?"

  6. iron Silver badge

    Meh why bother

    "those tests are worth running because Android P restricts access to some interfaces not supported in the Android SDK"

    Except no user will have P for at least 6 months after it is "released" by Google. If I couldn't test & fix any issues within 6 months I'd give up programming and go busk or sweep the streets or something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh why bother

      Millions of Pixel, Xperias, OnePlus and others will have it within 90 days of Google releasing it.

      Infact they need to, if they want to stay on the Enterprise Android scheme that promises long term device support (3 years) and patches and OS updates within 90 days of Google.

      You know it's not 2014 anymore?

    2. LochNessMonster

      Re: Meh why bother

      "Except no user will have P for at least 6 months after it is "released" by Google."

      Au contraire, anyone owning a Google Pixel/Pixel 2, a Nokia 7 Plus, a OnePlus6. an Oppo R15 Pro, a Sony XZ2, a Vivo X21/X21UD or a Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S could install the P beta on the day it was released (09/05/2018). Since then other devices have been added e.g.the Samsung A3 2017.Plenty of opportunity to test on real hardware well before it's officially released.

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Alien

    Not as exciting as I thought at first

    When I skimmed down the page, for a moment I read "New Asteroid P beta is 'very close', 'near-final'". Thought we were in for exciting fireworks...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Not as exciting as I thought at first

      But.. will it be a Damp Squib or a Roman Candle?

      Coat with a fire extingusher in the pocket

      1. Robert Moore
        Joke

        Re: Not as exciting as I thought at first

        But.. will it be a Damp Squib or a Roman Candle?

        Doesn't matter, as long as it isn't a Damp Squid, I will put it on a Pedal Stool.

        1. onefang Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Not as exciting as I thought at first

          "I will put it on a Pedal Stool."

          Pee? Stool? This is gonna be one very messy and stinky release.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not as exciting as I thought at first

      Beware of Planet P, rumour has it there are some nasty bugs on it...

  8. 404 Silver badge

    huh... just got Oreo...

    ... Nothing dramatic to say, just wierded out that my Verizon Moto Z Force got Oreo... Odd for Verizon to update a phone *twice* in it's lifetime.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: huh... just got Oreo...

      Odd for Verizon to update a phone *twice* in it's lifetime.

      I know what you mean. In fact, the reason I switched to a Google phone was because Verizon never updated anything other than how much we were charged. Unfortunately, while Google may roll out patches on a regular basis, they have left some arguably serious issues untouched for almost as long as Verizon. I have an old phone or two to play with. I might have to experiment with a roll-your-own solution.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: huh... just got Oreo...

        Non carrier bloated Moto Z series phones have been getting regular timely updates all along, see my recent post elsewhere for my Moto Z update history. I didn't get mine through a carrier.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: huh... just got Oreo...

      Verizon Moto Z Force got Oreo

      When marketing depts collide.

      The new Moto Thrust Turbo Ninja Extreme SAS edition (with 9 blades) gets an upgrade to Android version Pumpkin Popsicle

  9. JohnFen Silver badge

    Not excited

    What I'm excited about is the day when I no longer use Android at all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recently updated (pixel 2)

    For a beta, already very smooth and pretty well polished, no issues whatsoever, great battery performance (70% by day end, slightly better than Oreo ).

    Looking forward to final build, just polish a few rough edges and it's surely good to go.

    Still undecided on the gesture nav. Have it enabled, let's see if it's still enabled after a week.....

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