Last month, Google announced the first Developer Preview of the next version of Android: Android P. This release is only available on the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, and Google Pixel 2 XL. Since there is no source code available for the release, the developers on our forums, such as those from team LineageOS, have not been able to create a custom ROM based on the release—though a few are trying to do so by taking advantage of the Essential Phone’s Project Treble compatibility. But unlike the public, OEMs gain early access to the source code of the upcoming Android releases. As such, they begin testing it almost immediately on their flagship devices. Around the same time last year, we brought you news that Huawei had started internal testing of Android Oreo on the Huawei Mate 9 before its public release. Now, we can report that the company is already testing the upcoming Android P release on the Huawei Mate 10/Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Specifically, the company is testing it on the Chinese variant of the Huawei Mate 10, “ALP-AL00.” Thanks to @FunkyHuawei and his FunkyHuawei.club service, I was able to rebrand the Mate 10 Pro to the Chinese Mate 10 and then update to this testing build. This process is not for the faint of heart, however, as it can very easily be screwed up if you aren’t careful. That’s why I worked with him to get this up and running to give you a taste of Android P on the Huawei flagship devices.
Android P on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Unsurprisingly, given how early this release is, there are few traces of Google’s take on Android P in this EMUI build. Most of the new features in AOSP and/or Google’s Android P were either already present in EMUI, removed intentionally by Huawei, or have yet to be implemented. The UI changes that many, including us, are dubbing “Material Design 2” aren’t present in this build. Don’t expect that to change with the final release of P for Huawei devices, though, as it’s unlikely the company will significantly alter EMUI’s aesthetic to match Google’s.
The build is labeled as “EMUI 8.2”, though we believe that’ll change to “EMUI 9.0” for the final release since Huawei changed EMUI’s naming scheme to match the Android version numbers. The Android version is clearly labeled as “P” and the build number as “9.0.0.” Apart from that (and the P Easter egg as shown above), here are some additional pieces of evidence we discovered that this is indeed a true build of Android P and not just AOSP master build.
- Android P’s restrictions on apps using non-SDK Java APIs are implemented.
- The new global actions for Accessibility Services have been implemented.
- The new restrictions on third-party OMS overlays are there, unfortunately.
- P’s text selection zoom is present, as shown in the photo below. We asked TK Bay to verify if this feature is present on his Huawei P20 Pro running Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.1, and he said it wasn’t there.
- Lastly, all of the system applications are built targeting the P SDK.
Thus, we are fairly confident that the build we are running is indeed an internal testing build of Android P for the Huawei Mate 10. Amusingly, this build of P may even be newer than what’s present on the public Android P Developer Release as we have spotted some developer options from AOSP that were too late to make it to P DP1. It doesn’t look like this build has the new iPhone X style navigation gestures that were accidentally shown off by Google, though. Huawei would likely implement their own version of this feature, anyway, considering the fact that the company already implemented their own iPhone X style navigation bar called “single-key navigation.”
We’ll be keeping an eye out on Android P’s progression on the Huawei flagship devices. If we learn more information that we find interesting, we’ll let you know.
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