Android P will apparently be notch-friendly. Is this a hint for the upcoming Pixel 3?

2018 has only just started but we’re already hearing rumours about the next version of Android, Android P. After relatively light modifications to the overall look of the OS from Android Marshmallow to Oreo, it appears Google is ready for a redesign.

How flashy will it be? We don’t know, but apparently it’s going to be notch-friendly.

A report by Bloomberg references sources “familiar with the situation” so take this story with a grain of salt. According to them, Google’s next Android update will be designed to “persuade iPhone users to switch to Android devices by improving the look of the software”.

Besides that, it will also have more support for handsets with “new designs” like foldable displays (something Samsung and LG have been rumoured to be working on), multiple screens (ala ZTE Axon M) and of course those with the “notch” (Essential Phone).

Beyond a redesigned look, the report also says that Google will look to integrate the Google Assistant even more into the OS, possibly adding it to the search bar and even potentially allowing third-party developers to integrate Assistant into their own apps.

Let’s unpack what this could mean.

That’s quite an interesting set of points that we can take a look at. The notch-friendliness, for example, could mean a lot of things for the future of Android devices. On one end of the spectrum, it could just be Google embracing the fact that there will undoubtedly be Android phones intent on copying the iPhone X and the Essential Phone’s notch design. So, rather than have the UI look weird with bits of it obscured by whatever notch these manufacturers could implement, Google’s just going to help them out.

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But then there’s also the other — admittedly more out-there — end of the spectrum where this support for notches could be a subtle hint that this year’s Pixel device could also feature a notch design.

Moving on, we’ve got the whole part about redesigning it to get iPhone users to switch to Android. Was design really the biggest reason why iPhone users didn’t make the switch?

I certainly hope Android doesn’t end up looking like iOS because I really like the way Android looks right now. It’s so much cleaner, well-organised and grown up than iOS so I’d be disappointed if it ends up looking more like iOS. Besides, we already have Huawei’s EMUI for that.

Regarding support for more unique smartphone designs, that sounds like great news. The smartphone form-factor as we know it has been refined to pretty much its final form. I don’t see how much more a company could add to the existing single slab of glass beyond the  usual thinner, lighter, and curvier. So I think it’s great that Google’s embracing more out-there ideas of what the smartphone could evolve to.

What do you guys think of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave them in the comments below.