This week I updated my Pixel 2 to Android Pie. I knew the update was around the corner, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with anticipation for this OS release. Let me cut to the point, Android Pie is awesome. I’ve really enjoyed using it this week.
As a webOS user, the app switcher in Android Pie is finally on par with how webOS worked and looks very similar to iOS. App switcher is probably the most noticeable update when starting up your phone after upgrading.
Pie also ships with a new gesture navigation mode. I’ve updated three Pixel phones, and none of them had the new gesture mode enabled by default. I suggest enabling this new feature. Gesture navigation is fast and intuitive. Once gesture navigation is enabled you will no longer see the iconic and often perplexing three software buttons that have always been part of the Android experience.
You can enable the new gesture nav by going to Settings > System > Gestures and then turning on Swipe up on Home button.
Here’s a bulleted list of improvements that I like about Android Pie:
- Notifications have a nice fly-in effect creating the feel of a more snappy and performant Android system
- Notifications and the notification tray also have more white space around the icons
- When the battery is low, Pie will try to predict at what time in the future your phone will power down if you don’t find a charging source — this definitely helps with battery anxiety
- The screenshot function now has a built-in editing feature that allows for cropping and drawing on screenshots — this previously required a separate app like Pixlr
- Based on my three days of usage, Android Pie effectively suggests apps based on usage patterns — these suggested apps appear in the app tray and in the new app switcher
- Android Pie will suggest that you disable notifications for apps that you continually swipe away which is a nice attempt to reduce the number of notifications that bombard us throughout the day
In summary, I really like Android Pie. I wasn’t expecting such a noticeable improvement. The new notifications UI is great, the more robust app switcher is a welcome addition and how Android is using AI to generate app suggestions seems to have future applicability.
Android Pie was a subtle release with significant changes to the Android experience.