The next version of Android is here… sorta.
Like clockwork, Google’s released the first beta version of its mobile operating system, Android Q, for developers. The new version of Android is available to download for all Google Pixel owners and includes a number of updates and features with the most notable being support for foldable devices.
One of the biggest issues facing foldable devices is how Android will adapt to the various modes when folded and unfolded. Different devices will have have different display configurations and it’s important Android can morph appropriately.
Google says Android Q comes with several optimizations to help better display apps on foldable devices and large screens. An updated Android Emulator will also let developers start testing their apps for foldable displays as well.
Portrait photos are all the rage these days and in Android Q, Google’s taking them to another level with a feature called “dynamic depth.”
Using the depth map data collected from a camera, which includes isolated background and foreground information, Google says apps will be able to create “specialized blurs and bokeh options.”
This is pretty neat and resembles what you can simulate with an app like Focos, which lets you change the shape of the bokeh from a circle to, say, a star, or triangle, or heart.
Android Q also makes sharing content faster. There’s a new Sharing Shortcuts feature that “let users jump directly into another app to share content.”
There’s also a host of other less visible under-the-hood updates to Android Q including a new floating settings panel that can be activated from within certain apps. For example, Chrome could show shortcut buttons for adjusting settings like WiFi, airplane mode, and data.
New Wifi modes have been added to benefit certain applications like gaming. Google says users will be able to toggle on a “low latency mode” which would be beneficial for “real-time-gaming” and “active voice calls.”
Android Q also comes with hardened privacy protections that’ll give users more control over when apps access their location. Similarly, there are better controls to keep tabs on what files (i.e. photos, videos, audio, etc.) apps are requesting.
There’s a ton more of screw tightening in Android Q, all of which you can read about on the Android Developers Blog.
There are two ways to test Android Q on your Pixel, and both are pretty easy. The first is to enroll your Pixel in the Android beta program and get the update pushed to you over the air. If you’re more experienced, you can also download the Android system image files from Google here.
Android Q is a beta and as such it’s likely buggy. Update at your own risk. We advise updating a device that isn’t your primary one if you’re eager to try Android Q.
Now, for the most important question: What does the Q in Android Q stand for? Quiche, maybe?