If you are among the millions who complain about receiving annoying calls from robots and telemarketers, then this news might cheer you up. Apparently, the next big Android version -- Android P (which is still under development) -- might come with an inherent call blocking feature that will automatically block certain types of calls.

Google call block
Google's current call blocking feature in its dialer app on Google PixelGoogle Play Store

Now, we all agree that nobody likes to answer a call that has a robotic pre-recorded message on the other end of the line, nor do we enjoy talking to telemarketers who keep irritating us with personal loans and home loans that we do not want to buy. And Google seems to know this. The technology giant is said to be working on a new inbuilt feature with the next iteration of Android that will automatically block such calls.

Google Pixel 2 call blocking
Native call blocking feature on Google Pixel 2 (screenshot)IBTimes IN

According to a new set of commits (basically, a set of the changes in the directory structure and file contents) discovered by folks at XDA-Developers, Android P might bring enhanced call blocking features in the stock dialer app. This new commit (revision or change made to a file) is part of a new set of commits submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) by a Sony engineer.

The commit adds a new enhanced call blocking feature to the default dialer app that would allow you to block all incoming calls from unknown numbers, private numbers, pay phones or any numbers that are not in your contact list.

Android P enhanced call blocking feature commit
Android P AOSP enhanced call blocking feature commit (screenshot)Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

Currently, Android users are only able to block calls from individual contacts. Users need to manually select the particular numbers or contacts to block incoming calls from them. However, with the new feature, you can restrict the type of contacts that are not allowed to call you. So, you won't have to bother about getting unwanted calls.

The strings for the text that will be displayed in the new setting in the dialer app suggest the option to block calls from certain contacts.

According to the strings, you will be able to block calls from numbers in the following contexts:

  • If the phone number is not in your contacts list
  • If the number is not disclosed by the caller aka Private number
  • If the number is from a payphone
  • If the phone number does not have any caller ID information (Unknown/unidentified number)

The call blocking feature will be disabled in the event a user makes a "distress call" or an emergency call to reach you. In simpler terms, the responder will be able to reach you by dialing 911 or your local emergency call number. This makes absolute sense since it is imperative that someone in distress is able to have emergency responders reach back to them.

The Sony engineer "takeshi tanigawa" responded to a comment saying that it is an "operator requirement for a persistent notification to be displayed telling the user that call blocking has been disabled after an emergency call."

The report also mentions that the feature can be disabled at the carrier/operator's discretion. So it is still possible that operators use this to flout the feature and sell a "Do Not Disturb" service as part of a "Value Added Service" for blocking unwanted phone calls.

The new built-in call blocking feature will certainly bring a world of change to Android. Although there are plenty of free-to-download call blocking apps on Play Store, they are not very helpful. Google's own Pixel phones come with a DND feature, but that's just restricted to the Pixel phones. The upcoming call blocking feature could be available on all future phones that will run Android P. 

Having said that, the feature is not yet merged in AOSP yet, which means that it still isn't confirmed to ship with Android P. But it most certainly looks like it will be added to the AOSP very soon and we will get to see a glimpse of it when the first Android P Developer Preview releases later this March.

Meanwhile, we recently reported a few features that we can expect to see on Android P  aka Android Peanut Butter Cake aka Android Pistachio Ice Cream or whatever it will be called. Among those will be native Iris Scanner support, Google's answer to Apple's Face ID, and enhanced privacy features that block camera and microphone access from idle apps.

Source: XDA Developers