Google might be making a massive move in Android P, allowing wireless carriers to hide signal strength from users. Current Android versions display the signal strength on the status bar, and users can also access it by heading over to Settings menu. However, the latest Android Open Source Project commits reveal that the signal strength display feature would become optional in the future.
At the moment, several carriers in the United States are already hiding the signal strength on their branded devices. For example, handset manufacturers partner with a wireless carrier in the US, and releases handsets exclusive to only a single network.
But in the future, this feature may not be limited to carrier-locked handsets. Instead, any network operator can hide the signal on any smartphone, provided if they modify the vendor.xml file of the handset. This was first spotted by xda-developers, and the report also stated that this upcoming change might not be limited to just United States. Any carrier across the world can hide the signal strength.
That said, this feature will not completely hide the signal strength though. By heading over to Settings app, users can find out the strength in dBm which can be hidden in Android P, making it a bit difficult for customers. It is also said that the upcoming feature doesn’t introduce any new changes to the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which means that third-party applications can still identify true signal strength. There are numerous applications available on the Google Play Store with the ability to display the signal strength on your smartphone.
This feature would be useful for many operators, but not all the operators will employ it right away, or some may stay away from it permanently. Also, operators looking to employ this feature would not publicise it.
Talking about Android P, the next iteration Android is expected to debut in the form of Developer Preview in March 2018 or April 2018, which is just a couple of months away from now. In recent times, several AOSP source commits have revealed that Google has already started working on Android P.