Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The Android 14 preview launches for developers. Here's what's new

The early build of Android 14 includes improvements to the large-screen experience, battery life, and more.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Android Developers/Flavio Coelho via Getty Images

Google on Wednesday announced the release of the first developer preview of Android 14, the next major release of the mobile operating system that powers Android smartphones and tablets. 

With Android 14, Google's announcement post focuses on new features that developers can take advantage of in the operating system preview. 

Those features include enhanced support for Android 14 to function on various screen sizes, with a focus on tablet and foldable form factors. 

The changes build on the foundation Google has laid for larger screens, starting with Android 12L and Android 13

Google has several guidelines to help developers create better apps for tablets and foldables, such as a gallery dedicated to interfaces that look good and work on bigger screens. Google is rumored to be working on a Pixel foldable smartphone that could be released as soon as this spring, but it'd make more sense for Google to release its first foldable phone alongside Android 14, an operating system designed for that form factor. 

Also: The 5 best foldable phones

There are also background enhancements to improve and streamline how apps work together, with a focus on improving battery and system health. Some examples include improvements to the JobScheduler, Foreground Services, optimized broadcasts for apps in the background state, and exact alarm permissions. 

Screenshots of different size fonts

A big area of focus in Android 12 and Android 13 has been the ability for users to customize the overall look of their Android device. With Android 14, Google is adding better font scaling -- of up to 200%, an increase over the previous 130% max. There are also improvements to per-app language preferences and a grammar inflection API for gender. 

Android 14's privacy and security updates include changes to how dynamic code loading works to help mitigate exploits in dynamically downloaded code. 

Also: The 7 best Android phones

The update will also block older apps that target SDK Version 22 or older from being installed on Android 14 devices. That means apps will need to target Android 6, which uses API level 23, or newer. Android 6 was first released in 2015. 

Google also included developer tools, like support for OpenJDK 17 support and improved testing of changes, with the ability to toggle changes via adb commands or the developer options on the device. 

Android 14 release timeline

Google provided a timeline for future updates and expected releases of Android 14 up until its eventual launch. There will be two developer previews, one in February and another in March, followed by four beta releases of Android 14, one each month, through the end of July. 

Also: 3 things Google needs to fix for Android to catch up to iOS

As the name indicates, the first Android 14 build is designed specifically for developers in order to give them time to work with and integrate API changes into apps. It also gives those who like to live on the bleeding edge of technology a chance to get an early look at new features that will likely make their debut in the final version of Android 14 that is currently set to launch, most likely towards the end of the summer or early fall.

The developer preview is available as a manual download, and you'll need to flash your device. If that doesn't make sense to you, then it's best that you wait until the beta program launches in April. 

The Android 14 developer preview is available for the Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 5, Pixel 5A 5G, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro

You can find more information about the changes in Android 14, as well as information about flashing the system image, on the Android 14 developer site.

Also: How to set your Pixel's lock screen to identify music

Editorial standards