Google has released the next version of its Android operating system, and it is dubbed “Android 10”. The update is chockablock with exciting new features, with a renewed focus on privacy.
For the first time in Android history, the OS version does not have a tasty dessert name to accompany it: On September 3, 2019, Google officially released Android Q, called Android 10.
Initially created by Android Inc. that Google acquired in 2005, the Android operating system was unveiled in 2007. The launch of the 1st commercial Android mobile device took place in September 2008.
Since 2011, Android has been the best-selling operating system globally on smartphones, and since 2013, on tablets. As of May 2017, it runs more than two billion monthly active devices.
This is the largest installed base of any OS. As of December 2018, Google Play is home to more than 2.6 million apps.
Here’s everything you need to know concerning the new Android 10 OS update.
No More Dessert Name
That’s right: Android Q is simply “Android 10”.
In the last few months, there’s been endless speculation on the Internet concerning Android Q’s name. Ever since Android 1.5 Cupcake (initially released in April 2009), every Android version had got a tasty dessert name to accompany it.
But that has now changed with Android Q.
Google has officially pulled the plug on the use of dessert names. The company is instead opting for a simpler numerical naming scheme.
Hence, Android Q is officially called “Android 10”.
Of course, you might find this a bit jejune, but it is all part of Google’s larger rebranding efforts for the whole Android OS.
For the 1st time since 2014, the tech giant is introducing new changes in the look and feel of its Android brand.
One of these is a redesigned logo, prominently featuring a green robot head. In Android 10, whenever you see the Android logo text, that little robot will now also show up.
Though it is a beautiful development to see Google shifting its attention to Android’s robot friend, the only part that stays untouched is its head. The rest of the body is no longer there.
As an OS, Android will not get any new changes; however, its image is wearing a brand-new look.
Its logo is not only cleaner but also more playful. Also, we can bid farewell to the dessert names, which have been replaced by numbers.
Out with the Old; In with the New: Google Replaces the Iconic Back Button with Gesture Navigation
In Android 10, Google is officially doing away with the back button, which has been a navigation staple of Android.
As a follow-up to the gesture-based navigation in Pie that retained the ageing back button, the new Android 10 is now featuring a fully gesture-based navigation method.
A swipe up now takes you home; a swipe up & hold brings up the multitasking menu, and your screen goes back when you swipe from its right or left edge.
This a major change in Android navigation. However, if you have cold feet about the use of gestures, you do not have to adopt it yet.
Apart from the new gesture navigation, the next iteration of the OS also lets you switch back to the two-button system & the traditional three-button array in Android 9.0 (Pie).
Google has not clarified whether it will retain these options on its smartphones, such as the Pixel 4, which runs out-of-the-box Android 10.
However, for mobile devices like the Pixel 3 and 3a, at least, which will receive the Android 10 OS update from an older version; choosing what navigation system to use is solely your call to make.
Over the years, a large multitude of smartphone users have established a robust relationship with Android due to the vast customization options it offers.
Android 10 takes this capability up a notch as Google is providing users with even more ways to tinker with their smartphone’s look.
There is a new Theming section in which you can change the accent colour of your device. It is buried in the Developer Options of Android 10.
The iconic Pixel blue is the device default. If you so desire, you can replace this with any of the under-listed hues:
A new app is in Beta 2 and is referred to as “Pixel Themes”. Though it is not functional as of now, it may be launched with the Google Pixel 4 later this year.
Android Gets a System-Wide Dark Mode. At Last!
Google finally caved in after years of requesting a system-wide dark theme on Android.
Android 10 now features this theme, which you can choose to turn on and off any time you want using a Quick Settings toggle.
The icing on the cake is that Google also built a new API for developers to enable their apps to enter a dark theme, too, when the system-wide one is put on.
The bulk of your Google apps, as well as the main UI, will stick to the spectacular dark mode of Android 10.
It may take a while before all your favourite mobile apps will adopt this API, though.
The “Live Caption” Feature to Transcribe Media Locally in Real-Time
Live Caption, for many users, is a godsend.
Closed captions are, notably, essential for people with impaired hearing ability, enabling them to understand what is being said in a video, game, podcast, or other kinds of media involving spoken words.
Android 10 provides this option in a bid to ensure that these captions are available at almost all places.
The feature offers real-time captions for virtually anything on your mobile device, in which someone’s talking. The part you would love best about this is, it happens locally on-device, implying it does not need an internet connection to work.
To turn on Live Caption, you can use Android 10’s accessibility settings.
Android 10 Has Major Changes for Permissions
Over 1,000 apps, researchers say in a 2019 study, gather precise geo-location data & phone identifiers furtively without your consent.
Even when you nix this, a lot of these apps find a way around it, to the chagrin of users. This intrusion and breach of customers’ trust has drawn the ire of the public.
Responding to this privacy concern, Google is implementing a number of new features in Android 10 for app permissions. This is done in a bid to provide you with a better understanding and more control over the exact data that applications on your device can gain access to.
Mobile apps that request your location now offer a new pop-up that asks if you prefer to allow location access all the time, only when using the app, or not at all.
Additionally, the company explains Android 10 “gives users even more control over apps, controlling access to shared files. Users will be able to control apps’ access to the Photos and Videos or the Audio collections via new runtime permissions.
“For Downloads, apps must use the system file picker, which allows the user to decide which Download files the app can access.”
Google has completely overhauled the “Permissions usage” page in Settings and now shows what permissions, exactly, are being made use of by specific apps on your phone.
An option for filtering by permissions is now available, enabling you to see which of your apps is making use of certain permissions. There is also a new UI for your “App info” page.
Changes in Share Menu
The share menu in the Android OS had been due for some improvements for some time now. Though its core functionality is okay, it is slow to open — and this occurs regularly — regardless of your phone brand/specs.
Fortunately, Android 10 has taken care of this issue: “The share UI can load instantly when it’s launched as the shortcuts are published in advance [sic],” Google wrote in a blog post.
Still on sharing, the new OS version will also be featuring an option, known as “Sharing Shortcuts”.
What is the function of a Sharing Shortcut?
It enables developers to build a new option in the Share menu for sharing a file, a photo, and the likes in a specific part of another app, and this is accomplished much faster than before.
Improved Support for Foldable and 5G Smartphones
Foldable phones will finally enter the market in 2019.
Since foldables and 5G devices are exclusively available on the Android OS, with this new software version, Google ensures that you experience the latest and most innovative features on smartphones that “fold, flex, and move faster than ever.”
The company explains that:
“To help your apps to take advantage of these and other large-screen devices, we’ve made a number of improvements in Android Q, including changes to onResume and onPause to support multi-resume and notify your app when it has focus.
“We’ve also changed how the resizeable Activity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens.”
Other features of Android 10
- Smart Reply
- Sound Amplifier
- Faster Security Updates
- And others
Android 10 Release Date
In the wake of a public beta, which began in March and got six key updates, Android 10’s final build was at last released for public use on the 3rd of September, 2019.
It was on that date that the new OS version started running the Essential Phone, as well as Google’s Pixel smartphones, such as the latest Pixel 3a and the original Pixel, released far back in 2016.
By now, you would have received the OTA update on your Pixel device.
However, if your mobile is not a Pixel, you will have to be a bit more patient for device makers to optimize Android 10 for their phones.
The date that will be done depends solely on the specific manufacturer of your handset, in addition to its particular model, and whether it is tied/unlocked to a network carrier or not.
If you have received the Android 10 update on your device or have a phone that shipped with the stock version, what is your experience so far using the new OS?