> App Timer lets you set time limits on apps, and will nudge you when you’re close to your limit and then gray out the icon to remind you of your goal.
> Wind Down will switch on Night Light when it gets dark, and it will turn on Do Not Disturb and fade the screen to grayscale at your chosen bedtime to help you remember to get to sleep at the time you want.
I actually have a separate device for fun/addictive apps, and my phone's charging spot is not in the bedroom. But these kinds of features will help orders of magnitude more people than my very manual interventions ever will.
I'm glad Google is seeing themselves as on the side of the user here. Rather than enabling the "up and to the right" religion that has a lot of tech companies chasing DAU and UAM metrics by any means necessary.
- App Timer is in App Guided Access
- Wind Down is essentially Night Shift + Do not Disturb
We're in the era where basic phone capabilities have stabilized. Aspects of competing offerings converging, because it has become more well-defined what the basics of phone is, and the basics of how it's supposed to behave.
Less "innovation" (trial and error), more copying of basics, and marginal improvements is disappointing to techies, but it's good for almost everyone else.
why should they be ashamed to add a useful feature that somebody else pioneered?
you as a consumer only stand to benefit after all. though i'm not a user of apple devices, i see absolutely not fault in that.
You can overwrite the screen in Android. You can replace the home screen in Android. You can scrape running apps in Android. There's a high degree of flexibility
Unfortunately this is probably one of those problems where the cost of building the app is relatively high (because the domain is complicated to get right!) and it would be hard to make too much money on this
BTW do you remember why making a browser extension is a bit involved, and publishing, even more so? Trusting someone else's code. Copy -pasting it from a message board may end up in a problem.
It looks dead in that repository though.
But I would totally be for some much simpler packaging scheme for native apps/"scripts". It's kinda insane how much money is going into Android from Google but all the dev tools are basically just Java stuff. I really wonder what Android could be if a more lisp-y approach existed as well
(ironic that the website renders poorly on my iPhone given the mission and creds of its founder, but I digress)
The article I first read was
The Treble project is pretty darn exciting too, if only I had such a phone.
On one side I think this is great, on the other side: I'm not sure what to think of needing to be reminded when to go to sleep. It seems kind of wrong if one needs to be actively reminded of something as simple and straightforward as that.
I think i have a very healty sleep system where i basicially follow no rules. I sleep when I really get tired and wake/stay up when i want.
My last sleep cycle was 11 1/2 hours, because a day before i only got like 90minutes (thats not common for me, but happens - usually i sleep more like 6 hours).
That only works if you dont have a fixed day time job.
Especially when i have appointments i sometimes really need to plan ahead and go to bed earlier so a reminder works.
As a fellow 6-hour-sleeper, I think modern society makes it a bit hard for people like me. The reality is that my body wants to sleep in 3-hour cycles, and doesn’t really appreciate doing three cycles in a row, but it still wants to sleep about 8 or 9 hours out of 24. That would work fine in past ages: wake up early, tend to animals and fields, then have a mid-day nap - at a time when it’s too hot to work anyway (at least where my genes mostly come from). Then get back in the game, do social stuff, and be at peak awareness by dusk / early evening, when the danger of common violence gets higher.
These days, when the dominant culture is clearly more “northern” in nature, one is still pushed to be an early riser, but to then do all work and social activity in a continuous chunk, no napping allowed. Because I sleep only 6 hours per night, after a few days I’ll be tired. The only option I have is to go to bed absurdly early, wake up after 6h, do some work in the middle of the night then go back to bed. That’s very antisocial in nature.
Mid-day nap culture is still very much alive in really hot countries, where it's practically impossible to work mid-day.
Yeah, i dont do that. I just used to be the case I had a night of less sleep, a stress and eventful day and then a night with a long sleep phase. I dont try to catch up or anything. I just slept this without a break (My Gear sport recorded no interruptions and very few restless phases).
When I spend a week camping, I don't need to be reminded, because it's really dark and there's been nothing exciting to do for a while. But at home, lights are bright and there are exciting things available at the push of a button. (Thanks to push notifications from things like the news and social media plus autoplay from video providers, they're often available without pushing a button at all.)
A few years back I build an automated lighting system that is sort of like Night Mode for my house: https://github.com/wpietri/sunrise
I thought the valuable part would be waking up early without the stress of an alarm. But actually the best part has been the auto-dimming in the evening. My brain get the hint. Instead of staying up and hacking on something or binge-watching TV, I am very likely to turn in early enough that I now get plenty of sleep.
I think you mean "reminded". Sorry, I don't mean to be rude.
But if I'm so engaged as to lose track of time, or simply undisciplined (just one more dose of political outrage/cute animal picture/epic fail schadenfreude on reddit!), the app closing down will help a lot.
I imagine you would need root on your phone to kill apps from another app.
You can keep this update. I don't want it.
Its pointless borrowing trouble. Complain when they screw up, not when you think they can't pull it off.
I hate this change. Of course you can shove more icons on your home screen, but now we're back to iOS where you just puke everything on home with no automatic organization on the first screens you see when you unlock. Its not productive. I already disliked Android's method of searching apps; on iOS, you can pull down, type the first few letters of an app, and its there. On Android, you click the search button, start typing, and it feels like you get lucky if an app appears there, or if it gives you google search results. Its infuriating.
Oh, and the kicker: If your main google account is on G-Suite, its a complete shot in the dark which features are available and which aren't. On my Pixel 2, the default clock+upcoming events widget simply didn't work for the longest time, then one day it just started working with no G-Suite configuration changes.
I really dislike Google's push toward making hardware and services that aren't designed to be tools. I like tools. A tool is simple, having easy to predict input and output, with the ultimate goal of empowering humanity. There are applications of AI that are so powerful and self-contained that it makes sense to deploy it, but then you get the (admittedly really cool) Duplex stuff and its like they aren't even considering the ramifications on both the user and the business if it doesn't work.
You can get to the library by continuing to swipe up. You don't need to lift your finger.
Just my experience with android.
Future kids will be totally ok with technology dictating their behavior. "What do you mean I can travel on a weekday? My booking app only shows up on saturdays..."
I keep thinking of that famous quote about debugging but in the context of AI: "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
I think the writing is on the wall for the way Google has been going on about AI first solutions, but Google has failed to acknowledge it. There was a lot of backlash from Youtube monetization, Youtube kids, censored search results of certain topics. All Google can do is claim they will try to improve "The Algorithm", but at the end of the day they are distancing themselves from having control of their own outputs.
AI allows nice to have features we couldn't have otherwise, but is it ok for all stake holders to have such a feature with the condition that it won't work around 1% of the time, or for 1% of users?
I frequently share content to my spouse.
One day, I share content to my parent.
Next day, the order of users in the sharebox has changed, so my parent is in the spot my spouse used to be, so my muscle memory sends my parent a message meant for my spouse.
I use Siri's suggested apps all the time (pulling down spotlight search and they show up there.) Those are based on time/weekdate/location/usage data and are pretty accurate for me.
Similarly, a FIFO system for a share sheet is definitely deterministic, but that is immaterial to the question of whether it is predictable by its users. And that's what matters.
My personal preference is for rock-solid spatial consistency plus manual fiddling, but I doubt that'd be best for the greatest number of people.
If you don't want this, maybe you'll get the option to switch off that feature, or you can use one of the community builds of Android, and make sure you buy phones that are supported by them.
With most phones, it gets harder and harder to turn these features off. The Google app, for example, typically can’t be disabled, and to get as close as possible to that you’ll need to install a different launcher, which preference may not even persist across reboots; and even if you succeed, it may have latched onto things like long press on the home button. And good luck on pulling all of Google’s tentacles out of everything.
Community builds of Android are not in the slightest bit user-friendly (e.g. hard to install, and probably don’t get you access to the Play Store where all the apps are). Unless you’re technically very competent, they’re basically not a feasible option.
This is why I’m sad at the failure of Firefox OS and a few other similar efforts—even Windows Phone, for all that Microsoft is heading the same general direction.
The fact that many Android phones don't receive security updates is not relevant here.
It's the reason why I choose LaTex over Word, Unix over Windows AND Android over iOS
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize."
It also crosses into personal attack. Could you please read and follow https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html when commenting here?
Why should installing e.g. the facebook app, allow it to track my position at all times? Just freaky.
> Encryption of specific secrets for each app
Not sure what you mean by this, but apps are already sandboxed and can't access each other's data. What specific threat are you trying to protect against?
> Fine grained control of what information is shared with apps
> Ability to selectively deny particular data (and have the app keep working, e.g by giving it an empty contacts list, fake phone ID, etc)
Already exists. Not with fake data though; you just deny the permission and the app has to deal with it.
> Ad and js blocking capable browser
There already are _several_ browsers on Android that do that. Unless you mean you want it in Chrome specifically?
> Why should installing e.g. the facebook app, allow it to track my position at all times?
It doesn't. That only occurs when you grant it the location permission.
This is the main reason I root my phone and use XPrivacy. After using XPrivacy, Android permission seems stupid. I can't go back to that.
* Bunch of permissions are grouped together into CATEGORIES and the app gets all if I allow that category.
You can update permissions on types of notifications, location, storage, contacts etc. all independently of each other. O is great for that and I assume P will only be better.
* Give an app access to only save, not read my photos
* Give an app ability to read one specific photo (think upload a photo to facebook)
* Take pictures without always having access to the camera.
That is fine grained.
You just choose to use apps which instead request you give them permissions to whole photo storage.
Saying that I can just choose to use apps that do it "the right way" is the same as saying "you can just not use a smart phone". I can see the value in smart phones and in popular apps. What I'm asking for it a pragmatic choice where the OS puts me in charge, because it's not working to just ask the developers to play nicely.
For most apps (unless I'm wrong?) there's no way to let the app use my location without it going through Google's location services and sending data back to the Borg Cube.
presto - no google - only actual GPS signals used. But good luck - you'll see just how terrible GPS is indoors and in urban canyons. Without wifi and BLE augmentation it truly sucks.
1) Using visible WiFi networks to determine location sends data to Google to use their geolocation database. Your suggestion here does stop this (assuming you meant to DE-select "always high accuracy" and instead select "device only" which uses the GPS without sending any data offboard.)
2) Google pushes the use of Google Play location services API over Android's location services system API. These services don't work unless you grant Google Play Services permission to use your location. Since Google Play Services also needs network access, you effectively have to grant Google access to your location in order to use any location services whatsoever in any application.
It's the second point to which I was referring in my post above.
Googles insistence on capturing as much data as possible about me is just creepy. I disabled voice search, location history, and everything else I could. Switching to DuckDuckGo made a big difference, but still the data gets swallowed up.
I know that Apple is only slightly better - but I’ll take whatever privacy I can get.
iOS has a fine-grained permission setting for this - you can decide whether to allow the app to access location or not when it's not in foreground, i.e "While Using the App".
Similarly, I have decided not to use many Dropbox apps that need R/W permission to entire Dropbox instead of any one folder that I can choose.
I think we kind of need to show these apps and services their place, so to speak.
No, they won't willingly destroy a major revenue source.
Please stop spreading FUD :(
I can’t even disable this Google bloatware on a stock phone (Nexus 5X)
Also, you've once again conflated "stock" with Google phone. If you use more precise terminology, you won't be so confused.
Yet I can still not disable these Google apps.
EDIT: Screenshot https://i.k8r.eu/4ZLdMA
If you were able to disable the apps and then uninstall the the new launcher, your phone would be unusable until you did a factory reset from recovery.
And they take up space in my launcher.
Install something like Netguard (same dev behind Xprivacy) -- which functions as a firewall (vpn) b/w apps and the internet. Turn on logging. Watch all the apps you have installed phoning home and services like graph.facebook.com every few moments.
you mean something like ios keychain? what does this do that can't be achieved using disk encryption + sandbox?
>Ad and js blocking capable browser.
firefox for android
Because once the phone is booted and unlocked by the user there is no further protection. Do you keep your phone turned off?
Also the lack of device pairing means it is usually easy to dump the encrypted image and crack the pass code quite quickly.
> firefox for android
I find it quite slow, slower than chrome downloading all the ads. But it is an option I guess. It won't get wider uptake though, the default platform browser is the main game.
Ublock has been fantastic on Firefox for me, even though Firefox isn't as good as Chrome.
One example, YouTube suggestions. I watched a "Family Guy" clip, didn't upvote it or comment or anything and suddenly I have 10 channels of Family Guy content "recommended" as if I'm suddenly YouTube's biggest Family Guy addict because I watched one two-minute video.
I don't want my phone anticipating what I want to do, I want to tell it what I want to do. Because when it tries to anticipate, it's usually wrong, and that's annoying.
You can view it yourself by dialing ##INFO## aka ##4636## and then selecting "Usage data".
You’ll see all apps you’ve used, for how long you’ve used them overall, how many times, and when the last time was.
There's a difference between "I want to put a location in my status update" to "I want to upload my location 24/7 to Facebook's servers so they can profile the crap out of me".
iOS makes this difference. Android doesn't.
"Android P strengthens privacy by limiting the ability of background apps to access user input and sensor data. If your app is running in the background on a device running Android P, the system applies the following restrictions to your app:
- Your app cannot access the microphone or camera.
- Sensors that use the continuous reporting mode, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, don't receive events.
- Sensors that use the on-change or one-shot reporting modes don't receive events.
If your app needs to detect sensor events on devices running Android P, use a foreground service."
This doesn't address the comment you replied to in any way. Surely you see that there's a gap in reasoning between "I want to be able to add my location, just not have my location always broadcast to them" and "you can disable location entirely". Your suggestion specifically violates the "I want to be able to add my location" part of personal control over information.
Or are you suggesting that it's reasonable that a user should have to manually switch apps between white/black lists for behaviors? Personally I would find that idea contemptible.
They could both still be improved - it would be nice if you could do one-time permissions, like access the camera, but only this one time (So the permission would be removed when you lock the device or leave the app.)
To what quantitative fraction is Android still free and open (as in speech), and how much of it has been moved into closed-source containers?
Since the G1, the following parts are just some of the many that were removed from the open project and replaced with proprietary ones:
Launcher, Dialer (the actual phone app), Contacts, Calendar, Email, on-device Search (last open in 2.3.7), and many more.
Everything that the user touches or sees is closed source.
With Android P they are doing the same to Java apps that make use of reflection to access non-public APIs or work around bugs due to lack of updates.
It never was open.
Sure, Google ups a bunch of source code to AOSP after the release of a new version but there is no actual OSS-style development going on. All development is behind closed doors, only done by Google and the public cannot contribute.
I cannot check out the latest development version of Android from github, fix some issues and send a PR. It's all a one-way street.
LOLWUT ? Apple is years ahead of Android.
The versions in AOSP are heavily cut down on functionality and barely even work.
Im the days of the G1, the actual Google Talk and Google Search apps were open, the Google Books app was open too!
That was the Android we bought into: one where a default install was entirely open, and living without any closed source apps was easily possible.
Today, that's long gone. Play Services here, SafetyNet there, Google®™© apps in the middle.
> Im the days of the G1, the actual Google Talk and Google Search apps were open, the Google Books app was open too!
Those apps as they were are still open (the Google Talk app was/is actually a multiprotocol messenger), though I don't remember a Google Books in AOSP. Even better, there are now superior equivalents to all of these that are also open source.
I was barely in middle school when the G1 came out, I saw Android morph from the promised solution as entirely open source platform to what we have today, where the platform and base apps are all proprietary.
The platform remains entirely open. That's how Chinese people are able to use Android even though Google does not do business there. You confuse the platform with the apps and services that run on it.
That’d be an argument, if Google removed all of those APIs that were in AOSP and forced people to use their proprietary solutions.
If you want to do WiFi Geolocation, you now need to use Google Play Services.
If you want to use shared library of openssl, you now need to use Google Play Services.
If you want to use background notifications, you now need to use Google Play Services.
This is an official Google diagram describing which parts of Android are open source, and which are proprietary: https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/plays... That was 2013, since it’s gotten even far worse. This was 2016: https://www.googlewatchblog.de/wp-content/uploads/android-st... Since then, it’s gotten even worse.
By now you can’t access the stepcounter, or movement data, or most raw sensors, you can’t run in the background, you can’t access location (except for raw GPS, not even A-GPS) without proprietary libraries.
Hell, you can’t even use the latest OpenGL without proprietary libraries.
This was always using Google's proprietary data, even in the G1 days. They split it out into Play Services, so Chinese phones using another provider would be possible.
> If you want to use background notifications, you now need to use Google Play Services.
Background notifications weren't even possible on the G1 when it launched. When background notifications were first made available, they used a Google service and were never part of AOSP for that reason. Chinese phones use other push services inside the firewall.
> If you want to use shared library of openssl, you now need to use Google Play Services.
This is because Google now updates that library for security. If someone else updates the shared library (because you're in China, for example), you can call that version. Or you can just bundle the library in your app.
> By now you can’t access the stepcounter, or movement data.
None of those existed on the G1 and are simply sensor fusion implementations on the open sensor APIs.
> Hell, you can’t even use the latest OpenGL without proprietary libraries.
Yes, you can. https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/graphics/opengl
You need to understand the difference between the platform and the services that Google provides on top of it.
Incorrect, in the past your apps could access the raw data and feed it into Mozilla’s Geolocation APIs. This is not possible anymore (but returning in limited form with 9.0).
> Background notifications weren't even possible on the G1 when it launched. When background notifications were first made available, they used a Google service and were never part of AOSP for that reason. Chinese phones use other push services inside the firewall.
Incorrect. Until Android 7.0, apps could run in background and open their own sockets for background notifications.
> None of those existed on the G1 and are simply sensor fusion implementations on the open sensor APIs.
Incorrect – the open sensor APIs are only available for foreground apps. You can not collect any stepcounter data unless your app is constantly showing a notification in foreground, or is using the Google Fit APIs.
> Yes, you can. https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/graphics/opengl
Not on any devices, you’ll need to load bindings through Google Play Services.
> You need to understand the difference between the platform and the services that Google provides on top of it.
I seriously suggest you actually go and try to build apps for non-Google Play devices at least a single fricken time, or try to build ROMs, before you comment. You’re just making a fool out of yourself.
> I seriously suggest you actually go and try to build apps for non-Google Play devices at least a single fricken time, or try to build ROMs, before you comment.
I've built apps for the Amazon App Store and built AOSP from source multiple times. That's not the issue here. The issue is that you were confusing the fact that more of the things on Pixel devices are not open source (true, but Pixel doesn't claim to be an AOSP device) with fewer things being available in open source (which is false) and are now confusing fewer things being allowed to third party apps (true) with fewer things being available in open source (still false).
As far as I know, any company can pay to use it on their phones. I think members of the Open Handset Alliance don't have to pay. I'm not sure what it takes to join that, though.
Anyone can download Android Studio on any major operating system and make an android app. There are no limitations as to what features those apps can use. There is no fee to put an app in the app store. People can still sideload their own apps.
I really liked the samsung health app and the built in heart monitor. And I use samsung pay. I don't think any other phone has this and I would like to stay with samsung. But as I sit here and type this on a desktop running Debian that I built in 2008... I really can't support a company that thinks their hardware is only good for 3 years before you need to throw it in the trash.
Any tips? I don't really want to root and load a rom (and plus that would make me loose samsung pay and wifi calling I think).
Don't buy Samsung? I learned this lesson a long time ago.
My iPhone got a huge number updates over it's lifespan but it also got steadily slower and less reliable after each one.
There is nothing in Oreo or even P that's really worth it.
The real issue will be when applications stop supporting your version. I found on iOS that support for older versions dies pretty quick but on Android applications seem to support older versions for a very long time.
Especially when the only available alternative starts at 3 times the price. $900 for the smallest Pixel in Germany, fuck that.
If Google actually cared, they would impose support requirements on OEMs that wanted to play on Android playground.
how authoritarian could Google be about forcing this on, say, Samsung?
and if they granted Samsung an exception, what would the reaction be from other manufacturers?
Given the results of Bada and Tizen, Google would have little to worry about if Samsung ever decides to go rogue.
OEMs are expected to push updates just like before, having a certified Treble device is meaningless, if the OEM does not care to provide OS updates.
With enough money, it was apparently possible.
With the emulator broken, and the Nexus 5X unsupported, I am unable to assure that my apps work on Android P, and therefore I have no idea at all if they’ll crash or not.
But if they’ll crash, Google will punish me by downranking my score. A punishment for something I can’t do shit about.
It’s absolute madness.
Except it's not? Not even remotely true anymore. Starts up instantly now even, they just showed that off. And if you're opposed to Intel HAXM you can now use Hyper-V https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2018/05/08/hyp...
If I type Ctrl-B, the emulator inputs a gesture.
I can’t reliably emulate certain network issues.
Want me to continue? I’ve got a list of dozens of issues.
The problem isn’t speed (that’s something I could live with, but on Linux with KVM it’s faster than all my real devices anyway), but that it’s literally broken.
It's not unreasonable to expect a developer to buy a new device after three years, in my opinion.
And all the alternatives are significantly more expensive.
I’m building open source apps.
If I put ads in my apps or track my users I’d make thousands and could buy a phone easily.
But I’m trying to do the right thing, and have a monthly budget of $6 (current donation level via Patreon).
If you sell me a phone with Android P for one year of my app income (aka 72€), I’d take it. I’ll even put some of my own money on top, 250€, as I paid for the Nexus 5X, I am willing to pay.
In my country a used 1st generation Pixel can be had for less than the 5x was when it came out (~$300 vs $379). It's not ideal to have to buy used instead of new but it is doable. The Nokia appears to cost about the same price that the 5x did but im not sure it's easily available everywhere.
Anyways, your situation is unfortunate but I don't consider Google's actions to be egregious in this instance.
I can't just throw 300€ every year at Google for the privilege of developing apps, even iOS is cheaper at 400€ every 4 years plus 99€ a year.
Well, sure, but you need to invent time travel before that.
When I see UI changes like this my initial concern is not for myself but for my 75 year old mother. It has taken her years to be able to move through Android with some efficiency and the basic consistency has been a good thing. A fundamental UI change like this isn't as easy for users like that to adapt to. I am already dreading the first time she has a Google P based phone. I hope to be proved wrong.
The new swipe-up-from-Home UI is off by default. I had to turn it on in Gestures. By default, it's the old three-button UI: Back, Home, App switcher.
Tapping Home and tapping Back still do exactly the same thing. Long-pressing Home still opens Google Assistant.
Opening the app switcher UI is now done by dragging Home up (instead of tapping App Switcher).
Quickly switching to the last used app is now done by dragging the Home button right (instead of double-tapping App Switcher).
If I open a task switcher, I want to see a lot of my open tasks. Not one, not three, not even four, but dozens.
How long am I supposed to be swiping if there's hundreds of open tasks?
And scrolling with the home button is even worse.
Let's hope Android Q quickly gets rid of this again.
Having both a zoomed in view and a grid view is standard in every single gallery and camera app, adding it to the recents menu shouldn’t be that hard.
It's a phone with a small as fuck screen, not a workstation with a big monitor. Why do you even have 'hundreds of open tasks' on a phone ?
But after years of bloated releases and devices that feel old and laggy after just one year of use, I’d rather welcome an Android version that prioritized UI fluidity over everything else.
I loved my Nexus 5, but the Nexus 5x was dead on arrival, to the point that my current setup (1 Android and 1 iPhone) will by just iPhones. I’ll definitely miss some features but I need my work horse to just work and not freeze when I try to press switch between apps.
5 years later, it would be great to do that again.
This is what I always thought Google should do. Operating systems have completely stagnated, but a truly new and differentiating set of features would be to deliver AI as a platform - not a Google-only feature but a set of open APIs that anybody can use or implement. I hope they continue down this track.
Yay! Project Treble is paying off already :) Personally hoping to see Huawei bringing its recent flagships to P-land very soon, fingers crossed. Has Google finally cut off a few heads from the fragmentation hydra? Time will tell but this is a positive indicator!
Personally, I always use the same app when sharing URLs (Send to Instapaper). Yet, it always shows me default actions I never used (send via Twitter DM, Print, etc.) and takes like 5 seconds to have the UI usable.
That being said, there are plenty of mid-range and even high-end Android devices that are left out to rot. Samsung and Google are the "winners" here.
Another downside of rooting your device is that some Apps will no longer work (like banking apps). So, no, this is not the solution I'm looking for. And it is definitely not the solution for the average user.
But thanks anyway for the suggestion.
As for the updates: This depends on the device. Check the list of supported devices and you'll see that there are quite a few with weekly updates.
Is there an easy way to manage this from a worktation? Completely backup my current state and restore it afterwords?
I upgraded anyway.
I have literally had nothing break or change for the worse, and moreover, the phone (Pixel XL) is noticeably more responsive. I was such a ludicrously smooth upgrade I have been actively looking for colleagues to compliment on the work.
If you flashed the beta manually or want to downgrade, then yes, you need to wipe and flash.
This is my third beta (8 and 8.1) and I never wiped.
As a dev, days like these are the ones where I get my moneys worth buying into Googles hardware :)
You have to enable the new gestures manually, it seems. Also, none of the new app features demonstrated in the conference seems to have made it to this beta. :(