So last night, after satisfying myself that finally HMD were serving a tasty pie and not one a half-baked insect pie I took the plunge and updated from build 4.88 2018-12 to 5.150. To get this I had to put my Vodafone UK SIM in my phone, because using my usual French SIM I was not offered anything since January and even my dead Virgin Mobile France SIM would only get me 5.140 February build.
The most exciting thing I found are cats! For some reason the Android Neko easter egg from Android 7 is available as one of the quick setting menu shortcuts! So far I have cat #64
Here's a few other things which I find noteworthy:
- Woah! What have they done to the task switcher?! I still haven't got used to it! Surprisingly, when I first booted into the new OS the task switcher included apps which I haven't used for months! This shows what Android retains in it's cache. However, today I haven't got anything except the three most recent apps, so it appears that the battery saver optimisation has kicked in and killed even some recently used apps, which I find quite unhelpful.
- It now takes two down swipes and a click to access settings, whereas before it only took one down swipe and a click, so this is a retrograde step.
- What new UI?! As far as I can tell the only noteworthy thing is that the swipe-down quick settings view is less useful as it contains less icons. I don't have the new "App Actions" in the app drawer (at least it's not obvious to me) and I can't make swipe up show me recent apps at all. I can't find this Slices thing yet either, but maybe that was never available.
- Continuing the "what new UI?" I note that my launcher is now called QuickStep but I don't have the Google search bar; maybe as my home screen was already full in Oreo they gracefully decided not to enforce on me something I would not need and didn't have space for? They had also nicely retained my preference to not have Google Assistant visible on left-to-right swipe.
- As an aside, I finally took the plunge and disabled the Google app after I noted the above point. I hope this doesn't impact anything.
- As I was disabling things I also disabled Chrome and was then surprised to see that I could actually uninstall Indic, Pinyin and Zhuqin input support, which I personally have no use for. I think that previously these things could not be uninstalled, only disabled.
- I had a mapping app open (Maps from F-Droid aka Maps.me) and it became visible and usable on the lock screen! Woah! The phone was charging at the time. Is this normal behavious for mapping/navigation apps?
- Digital Wellbeing! I mean, yey, digital wellbeing! ? !? Seriously though, I find the info interesting, but I'm not using timers. I quite like the monochrome setting and wind-down; together with my already set night-light for the display tint and do-not-disturb settings this all comes together nicely. Whether it stops me using my phone more remains to be seen though!
- Private DNS I would like to use but so far it tells me "couldn't connect" and I lose internet access, but that may be because I'm at work and it will be different at home.
So, what have I missed? What have I misunderstood?
Oh and I managed to re-find System UI tuner plus lots of other goodies using Activity Launcher from F-Droid too