Google has announced that all Pixel phones today can use the latest Android update. And, as usual, it announced a name to match the wireless update: “Android 9 Pie”
Android 9 Pie’s headline features are the same ones that we revealed back in May: a “Digital Wellbeing” dashboard, a new gesture-based navigation system, and other AI-enhanced improvements to the UI. It also received many subtle improvements to the overall look of the software, including a new status bar that’s designed to work better with notches.
However, the official release will not include all of the features that Google announced at Google I/O. The main things that will be missing are the Digital Wellbeing features, including the usage dashboard, app times, and a “wind down” setting for when you go to bed. Instead, those features will be offered as a beta for Pixel users right away. The actual release will come in the fall; Google says “Android One and other devices coming later this year.” One can assume that among the “other devices” will be the new Pixel 3 phones. The signup for the beta will be at this link.
As usual, Android 9 Pie is coming first to Pixel users and will arrive for other Android phones later. However, Google has the potential to finally show progress in its efforts to get other Android manufacturers to update quickly this year. Several manufacturers participated in the Android P beta program, including Sony, Xiaomi, Nokia, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential. If any of them are able to release Android 9 Pie updates quickly, that would be a good sign.