Android Q is upon us, albeit in beta form. On March 13, Google released the first preview build of Android Q to both early adopters and developers alike.
We're still trying to figure out everything there is to know about Android Q, but in the meantime, here's what we do know.
Android Q: Release date
Currently, you can sign up for the Android Beta program here. You can also flash the update if you're comfortable in doing so, but keep in mind that you won't receive OTA updates if you opt to go this route. Instead, you'll need to flash each subsequent update going forward.
What devices are included?
- Pixel XL
- Pixel 2
- Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
Will there be more updates?
Yes. Google has laid out the release schedule for the Android Q beta program, starting with the first beta in mid-March and ending with the final release in the third-quarter.
For developers who care more about APIs and when features will be finalized, look for that to happen in beta 4, currently scheduled for early June.
Android Q: Features
As is usually the case, Google only talks about a handful of features that it feels are important to users and developers alike. As we continue to test and use Android Q, we'll surely find new features and will update this post as needed. In the meantime, here are some features Google has talked about.
The biggest area of focus of Android Q appears to be related to user privacy. For example, users can now limit when an app has access to their location. In the past, you either gave an app access to your location, or you didn't. Starting with Android Q, you can limit an app's location access only when you are using the app.
There are also finer controls for file management, restricting access to device identifiers such as the IMEI, serial number, and other IDs that can help track a user.
Foldable screen support
With devices like the Galaxy Fold and Huawei X coming, Android Q includes features to better support for detecting when an app has been paused (perhaps when a display is folded) and when it needs to be resumed (after opening the device), as well as enhanced support for resizing of apps.
I think every Android user can relate to how slow the share sheet loads. Right now, you tap on the share button, and then have to count to ten while the various apps and shortcuts populate and rearrange themselves a handful of times. With Android Q, Google has created new tools that make it possible for the share sheet to load instantly.
Depth information from photos
Google's Pixel line of phones do a fantastic job at capturing depth in a photo despite only having one camera. Google is integrating some of that technology into Android Q, giving developers and device makers access to the image and the Dynamic Depth captured alongside it through new tools.
More developer options
If terms like Native MIDI API, ANGLE on Vulkan, or Neural Networks API 1.2 are more your thing, then be sure to read through the bottom section of this Android Developers blog post, where the company details those new features, along with new Wi-Fi performance modes, improved peer-to-peer and internet connectivity.
Android Q: What will it be called?
- The letter Q is up next
- Google usually names Android OS updates around a dessert
Your guess is as good as ours right now. Google has always named Android OS updates after some sort of dessert or sweet, and with Android "Q" next up, any type of sweet that begins with "Q" is fair game.
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- What to expect from Android Q TechRepublic