If you aren’t living under a rock in the depths of the ocean, have just arrived from the nineties in your time machine, or just haven’t peeked out of the Apple bubble (ew, “dongles”) you’re bound to know of Android: the world’s most widely used smartphone operating system. Android devices have breached the two billion mark in the past few years.
Now, there’s a new kid on the block: Android Q has been launched in Beta for all Pixel devices. What’s new? What’s better? What’s not? We’ve got the answers.
Google has released a preview of Android Q in what’s become the annual tradition of an early March look at the next major version of Android. Most of the bigger, front-facing changes that will affect users likely aren’t here yet, although the new update brings some interesting changes.
The first beta is available now for all generations of Pixel devices. Even if Google is saving features for later announcements like the Google I/O keynote, the early preview still gives us a valuable look at what Google is updating with Android Q.
A significant change coming to Android Ten is an additional privacy setting for location access that lets users constrict apps to only pull info while the app is in use, instead of just giving permission to for apps to either always have location access or never having it. Google is also framing new parameters on the access apps will get to things like pictures, videos, and audio along with as any downloaded files on the device.
Fold? All in
The big feature for 2019 is foldable displays. Q gets better support for pausing and resuming apps from remaining active in the background as well as improvements to resizing apps for split-screen modes, several of which should be helpful for when foldable devices like the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X are released later this year. While this may be future-proofing, now we know Google’s making sure Android is ready for them.
Settings are Simpler
Expect a new Settings Panel API, which will let apps have instant, pop-up access to phone settings like Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth without having to send users away to the settings app and back, which may make the experience of using, say, a Bluetooth speaker, a lot more streamlined.
Portrait Mode For All
There’s also buzz about new photo and video options in Q: Google is trying to standardize how depth maps work with Android through a new Dynamic Depth format. It contains a JPEG image, depth metadata, and a depth map all bundled together. This might make it easier for third-party apps like Snapchat or Instagram to utilize a device’s bokeh camera capabilities.
What’s in a name?
What’s in a name, you might ask? A lot, according to Google who traditionally names their Android versions in abecedarium after popular sweets.
When Android 9 gave them the alphabet P, the internet went bonkers.
From Pudding to Parfait to Pocky to Pound Cake to Punschkrapfen to Profiterole to Pop-Tarts to Praline to Peanut Brittle to Pop Rocks to Pancake to Popsicle to Peppermint to Pastry to Popcorn to Panna Cotta to Peeps, there were a plethora of possibilities for P’s pseudonym. (And that’s not even counting fruits like Pumpkin, Plum, Peach, Pear, Passionfruit, or Pamplemousse).
Google faces a real challenge with this year’s Android Q.
There isn’t a wide variety if marketable desserts that start with the letter Q. Matter of fact, there aren’t a lot of edibles that start with a Q, period, let alone a treat that would fit in alongside Cupcake, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo, and Pie.
Quesadilla, Quinoa, Quiche, or a completely different naming scheme to mark the tenth iteration perhaps? The name is a mystery that still hasn’t been unraveled.
Should you install?
The simple answer is NO.
There’s a reason why the Beta is called Developer’s Preview. The software is expected to be full of bugs and crashes. Even Google themselves recommend not installing Beta versions on your primary devices.
Further, in certain cases, the installation of a Beta bootloader might void your warranty, leaving you with a bricked phone beyond repair.
In a matter of a few months, more stable software updates will find their way to your device. Better late than lag-city.
You can find more information about supported devices here.