Android has now reached its version 10 and more than 2.5 billion active devices are running on it. A lot has changed since the release of version 1.0 when smartphones were just an early idea. Now, they have become an integral part of our daily lives.
The Google team has highlighted three themes with the release of Android Q - innovation, security and privacy and digital well being.
The team wants to help the users take advantage of the latest technologies while keeping the users’ security, privacy and well being a priority. Before we dive into the details of Android Q, let’s tell you a bit about the Android Q beta 4 features to help you understand the whole thing better!
Android Q beta 4 update is said to be pretty close to the final version of the software.
This beta version is more polished as compared to the previous beta versions and also contains the Android Q final APIs of developers. We have listed down some Beta 4 updates for you here:
With the beta 4 update, Google is asking the developers to test the compatibility of apps with the latest Android software. To test the apps, all the user has to do is install their current app from Google play store into an Android Q beta device or emulator.
Privacy features such as new location permissions, changes to data and identifiers, restrictions on background activity start and many more features are available to test.
The developers have been asked to test other features also such as scoped storage, permission for fullscreen intents and location permission for wireless scans.
Now gestural navigation is available.
To provide a seamless multimedia experience to the users features like dark theme, sharing shortcuts, suggested replies and actions in notifications and settings panels have been introduced.
Camera got dynamic depth format. Moreover, AV1 for video streaming and HDR10+ for high dynamic range video are made available.
Backwards compatible BiometricPrompt API is available in the AndroidX library.
Audio playback capture has enabled real time captioning or gameplay recording.
Now that you know what the beta 4 version has in store for you, let’s tell you about the amazing Android Q features!
The dark theme does seem to be a popular request as well as a trend and the Android team expects that this feature will be receiving the most applause during the Google I/O keynote.
We are still not clear about why Google chooses to call it “Dark Theme” instead of “Dark Mode” as there isn’t any support for other themes that are available on other Android variants.
Activating the dark theme in Android Q is pretty easy. Just pull down the Quick Settings menu, tap on a button and the interface will go from white to black. Truly black and not the dark gray that you might have seen on some dark modes.
Theoretically, the dark mode is supposed to help with the battery life. In fact, switching to battery saver mode on Android Q will automatically activate the dark theme.
Google aims to release dark themes for all its first party Android apps.
Gestural Navigation & The Back Button
The new gestural system can be one of the most controversial parts of the latest version. Firstly, because Android Q has picked its core set of gestures from the iPhone and secondly how they decided to make the back button simply a gesture.
However, the biggest difference between this system and iPhone’s is that the bottom bar has its own separate part of the screen instead of covering bottom part of the app you are using.
As mentioned earlier, Google has done something surprising with its back button. The back swipe will work across the entire edge of the left and right of the screen.
Every year, Google attempts to try something new so as to make Android OS updates faster and consistent. Thus, this year they are doing something a little more aggressive when it comes to security updates.
There are usually two kinds of Android operating system updates: The major ones and the smaller monthly updates the render security patches. Sadly, those monthly updates don’t reach every device. It’s up to the manufacturers to apply these security updates and carriers also get involved in most cases.
So, Google started a new initiative called “Project Mainline” to spread the smaller security updates to more devices by distributing them itself through the Google Play Store infrastructure. Middlemen are slowing down the process, so the team is trying to eliminate them.
Project Mainline will enable Google to update critical security components of the OS anytime. The project will not be a feature on the phones that are upgraded from P to Q but only on the new phones that are shipped with Q by default.
Let us tell you that Project Mainline may be a big deal but it is not going to have an immediate impact on the entire Android ecosystem.
The good news is more and more manufacturers are participating in Android Q’s beta program. Apart from Google and its Pixel phones, 12 other companies are offering the beta version on 15 different devices.
Permissions & Privacy
Google has finally decided to fix how location access works on Android. Just like the iPhone, Android will now give you the option to limit app’s access to your location only when its open and active on the screen. When an app is doing that, it will show a little notification on the status bar showing that the app is accessing your location.
On top of this, Google is adding a new section on top of Android settings called “Privacy”. You can see a mix of different settings and dashboards to control what can access your data. It includes some of Google’s own settings.
All in all, Google has over 40 updates to the way security, permissions and privacy features work in Android Q.
The live caption feature will give you a real time transcription of what is being said in an audio or video in any app across the operating system. It makes use of local machine learning so an internet connection is not necessary for it to work.
It works irrespective of whether you have the media volume completely turned up or fully muted on the phone. When it is launched officially, it will turn out to be a huge aid for deaf people or those who are hard of hearing.
Every year, Google tries to do something new for how notifications work on Android. The main notification change in this version is a new way to auto reply to incoming chats. It can now recommend replies based on the type of message you have received.
The team has specifically pointed out that it uses local machine learning and none of the information is transmitted to the cloud. This feature is handled by a system called the “Notification Assistant”. It might also be able to change the priority of notifications for you.
The updates in notification feature could indicate interesting options for foldable phones and Chrome OS tablets.
Android Q Summed Up for You!
Looking at all the features that Android Q is about to release in the market, it can be rightly said that the new version will make android app development better, simpler and more secure. The stable public release of the version is scheduled to release in the third quarter of the year.
The Google team has left no stone unturned in making the life of Android users easier.
Principal Mobile App Developer