What's new in Android 9 Pie for Sony Xperia smartphones

Sony Mobile continues to distribute the operating system Android 9 Pie for flagship smartphones, as well as clarified data on the availability of updates for devices in the middle price segment.

For the first time, the company shared its plans for updating smartphones in mid-August and named approximate dates for the release of firmware. Devices receive updates in groups, for example, the first smartphones with updates over the air have already become Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Depending on the region, the owners of these devices have been able to download the new firmware since October 12. The second wave of the firmware distribution included Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1 and XZ1 Compact smartphones, the update started on November 10th. Android 9 Pie for Xperia XZ2 Premium is expected to be released soon.

The company also disclosed information on the release of Android 9 for the mid-priced Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra and XA2 Plus models and other smartphones will begin to receive an update from March 4, 2019. Previously it was only known that the update is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. As for the Sony Xperia XZ3, the flagship of the second half of 2018, this smartphone works on the latest version of the operating system out of the box.

The new software for Sony smartphones includes the Android security update of October 1, 2018, so devices will receive the current level of user data protection. With regard to the functionality of the firmware, Android 9 Pie for Xperia smartphones includes most of the changes announced by Google, as well as Sony’s proprietary development engineers. For example, improved management of notifications, taking screenshots and controlling the volume, the "Do not disturb" mode for day and night time.

In addition, the system settings have been reworked, tools have been added to track the duration of work with applications with the ability to set time limits for their use, and the operating system’s energy efficiency has been improved in terms of working with background applications. And for even longer battery life and less battery wear, Adaptive Battery in Android 9 works together with STAMINA mode, Battery Care and Qnovo technologies.

Android 9 for Xperia smartphones now uses a completely redesigned Camera app with an even simpler interface and quick access to the most popular user modes. Slow motion, AR effects, Bokeh, Panorama and other modes are now assembled in one “Mode” panel, and the application remembers the most frequent selection and offers it in the shortcut menu. Moreover, in the manual shooting mode, access to the controllers of exposure, exposure, sensitivity to light and other important parameters is simplified for those users who want to gain maximum control over the operation of the camera for the realization of creative ideas. Moreover, after upgrading the operating system, some smartphones will get features that were previously available only to older devices in the Sony model range.

As for the gesture control instead of the navigation bar, Sony Xperia smartphones still retain the classic layout with the virtual keys “Back”, “Home” and “Multitasking”. Such a significant change in the principles of interaction with the operating system requires more time for optimization of software by engineers, so the manufacturers of smartphones (with the exception of Google Pixel) prefer not to rush into switching to a single virtual button. However, in the future, Xperia smartphones should get control of gestures, but the manufacturer has not yet disclosed detailed plans for this.

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