Artificial Intelligence plays a big role in Android 9, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, released Monday.
Called "Android Pie," the OS is designed to learn from its users' behavior, and apply those lessons to simplify and customize their phone experiences.
Adaptive Brightness and Adaptive Battery are two ways Android Pie uses AI to customize and improve a phone's performance.
Adaptive Brightness learns what brightness levels a user likes in certain conditions and automatically adjusts the display to those settings when those conditions arise.
Adaptive Battery plugs into Google's DeepMind systems and can learn a person's phone usage patterns and make adjustments to optimize power usage.
Seeing Will Be Believing
The power management feature works without adding additional hardware, McQueen pointed out.
Huawei introduced performance-enhancing AI in its Mate 10 Pro product, he said, but to do it, the company had to add a chip to the device, which it called a "neural processing unit."
The Adaptive Battery feature appears to be compelling, acknowledged Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut. However, he is withholding judgment on the feature until the verdict from users comes in.
Another new addition to Android is App Actions. It makes connections between when and how you use apps and makes suggestions based on those connections. For example, it's 5:15 p.m. on a Monday. App Action may ask if you want to open the e-book you've been reading on your commute to and from work for the past week.
Google also announced a feature for Android Pie called "Slices," which won't appear in the OS until later this fall.
Slices shows relevant information from apps depending on a user's screen activity. So if a user started typing Lyft into Google Search, Slice would display a slice of the Lyft app with information such as prices to a destination and the ETA for a driver.
Android Pie also sports a new single home button for simpler navigation.
In addition, Android's Overview feature has been redesigned to display full screen previews of recently used apps. It also now supports Smart Text Selection, providing action suggestions based on selected text.
Security has been beefed up in Android 9. It has an improved security model for biometrics. It uses a secure, dedicated chip to enable hardware security capabilities that protect sensitive data, such as credit card information.
Android 9 chooses the TLS protocol by default, as well as DNS over TLS, to help protect all Web communications and keep them private.