The next major version of Android could help pave the way for new styles of smartphones including those with multiple displays, folding screens, or iPhone X/Essential Phone-style notches in the top of the screen for the camera system.
That’s according to a report from Bloomberg, which cites “people familiar with the situation.”
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a new version of Android to enable those features. The Essential Phone, ZTE Axon M, and other devices already offer notch or dual-display features without explicit support from the operating system. But native support in the OS could make things a lot easier on developers and offer a better experience for users.
For example, if phone makers don’t need to implement their own code to make sure notifications and other content wrap around a notch, it’s more likely that we’ll see new phones with notch-style design, for better or worse.
Dual-screen phones could also be easier to bring to market if Google provides a standard way to display two apps side-by-side on separate screens or single apps that can span across both displays. The same could go for phones with single, foldable OLED display panels.
Bloomberg says other changes coming in Android P could include battery life improvements and tighter integration with Google Assistant, possibly including Assistant integration with the search bar on the Android home screen and/or support for using Assistant from within third-party apps.
The report also says that Google has sort of settled on what the “P” stands for… at least for now. The company is said to be using the code name “Pistachio Ice Cream” internally. But it’s possible that the official version of Android P will go by another “tasty treat” name when it’s released to the public later this year.