Android 'Pistachio Ice Cream' May Support Display Notches

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Android P will feature native support for display notches, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing sources close to Google who claim the new operating system is internally referred to as "Pistachio Ice Cream," though that's unlikely to be its official name. The Alphabet-owned company is understood to be designing the next major iteration of its ubiquitous OS for largely bezel-free smartphones that have asymmetrical screens due to the fact that their display panels curve around their cameras and other front-facing sensors. The most commercially successful example of such approach to product design is Apple's iPhone X, though the older Essential PH-1 pictured above featured an even more effective take on that aesthetic despite the lukewarm response it received from both critics and consumers alike. Huawei's P20 and P20 Plus are also expected to debut with display notches this spring and a number of minor Chinese phone makers have already announced such devices, though the majority of them are seeking to emulate Apple's latest iOS flagship in its entirety.

Google's reasoning for including native support for display notches is largely rooted in the fact that the company wants to persuade more iPhone users to switch to Android devices over the course of this year and is expecting original equipment manufacturers to release more notch-equipped handsets in 2018, according to the same report. For largely identical reasons, the Mountain View, California-based tech giant is seeking to improve the visual design of Android, sources claim, adding that Android P will also boast native support for foldable handsets and multiple screens. The next major revision of Android that's expected to debut alongside the version number 9.0 will also sport deeper integration with the Google Assistant, presumably to emulate the level of Siri integration offered by iOS, insiders say.

Android P is expected to be more closed than Android 8.0 Oreo, according to previous reports, with Google supposedly working on limiting third-party access to some APIs in order to reduce the overall fragmentation of the OS. Sources cited by Bloomberg suggest Google is also mulling over the idea of implementing a fixed search bar with Google Assistant support into Android's home screen, though that change may not materialize until Android R in 2019. General improvements to performance and battery efficiency should also be part of the Android P package, with its first developer preview build being expected to debut in the coming weeks.

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