The first developer preview of Android P is close to being finalized, as suggested by a newly discovered commit found in the main repository of the Android Open Source Project which contains what appears to be a relatively straightforward message: "The future is now (2018 edition)." The line initially spotted by Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers doesn't elaborate on the matter, with the commit it's attached to last being updated on Tuesday. As is usually the case in the run-up to the release of the first experimental build of a major Android revision, Google has been tight-lipped about the affair and provided little to no info in regards to what developers and consumers can expect from the next iteration of its ubiquitous mobile operating system that's been running on over two billion of monthly active devices as of mid-2017.
A number of previously spotted references to Android P suggested Google may be looking to expand on its Android Things platform, specifically in regards to its integration with other solutions from the company such as Chromecast. The Go Edition of the OS that debuted with the first stable variant of Android 8.0 Oreo should also be improved with the next software upgrade and the tech giant is expected to deepen its support for Project Treble, an internal effort to restructure Android as a whole in order to facilitate the process of creating minor firmware updates for eligible devices. While original equipment manufacturers who launch devices with Android Nougat and upgrade them to Oreo aren't required to support Project Treble, the system will be mandatory for every device maker looking to make a device running Android P, regardless of whether its product launches with the upcoming OS build or not. Some previously discovered AOSP commits also suggested that the 2018 edition of Android will be identified by the version number 9.0 which would be in line with Google's recent practices that haven't seen a major OS upgrade without an accompanying integer change in its version number since the 4.4 KitKat build launched in late 2013.
This year's iteration of the Google I/O developer conference should at least partially be dedicated to Android P and may see the debut of its second developer preview, as was the case with Oreo last year. If the new OS follows a similar development pattern to its predecessor, its initial experimental build may be launched as early as March. The Alphabet-owned company isn't expected to announce the release date of Android P Developer Preview 1 in advance and should instead just make its system images available with no previous teasers in the coming months.