Google Overhauling Android OS
Google is working on an overhaul of its Android mobile software for a new generation of smartphones copying Apple Inc.’s controversial new "notch" at the top of the iPhone X.
The new Android mobile OS is being designed to work with smartphones that are copying Apple’s so-called notch on the top of the Apple iPhone X. Initially, iPhone X users questioned the need for the notch or a cutout at the top of the screen, but they are now growing used to it.
A new crop of smartphones is expected to hit the market that includes the same notch on the top of the screens so the manufactures can fit cameras and sensors into the devices.
The Android update, due later in the year, will also more firmly add Google’s digital assistant, improve battery life on phones and support new designs, like multiple screens and foldable displays.
A key goal of this year’s update to the Google mobile operating system is to persuade more iPhone users to switch to Android devices by improving the look of the software.
While Android dominates the middle and low-end of the global smartphone market, Apple dominates much of the high-end with users who spend more on apps and other services. Embracing the notch may help change that as the design will mean more new Android phones with cutouts at the top of their screens to fit cameras and other sensors. That will likely support new features, helping Android device makers keep up with similar Apple technology.
What’s unlikely to change much is Android’s irritating problem: Most of the billion-plus Android devices globally run outdated versions of the operating system, exposing security holes and holding back Google’s newest mobile innovations.
The upcoming operating system, Android P, will emphasize Google’s Assistant, a digital helper that competes with Apple’s Siri and Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa. Developers will be able to integrate Google’s voice-based technology inside of their apps.
The dramatic redesign will be a difference this year to the iPhone’s operating system, which will lack a clear outward-facing upgrade in favor of system improvements for performance and reliability.
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