Google recently held its I/O developer conference in California, US, where it revealed further details about Android version 10, the next iteration of Android OS. Currently running over 2.5 billion active mobile devices, Android has brought about immense changes in our lives, helping us buy and sell with ease, stay in touch, organize our daily tasks. The details surrounding the actual name of this version are still sketchy, but what we are sure of so far is that it will be version 10. For now, it is called Android 10 Q.
Android Q – What’s New and Important Features
Support for 5G and Foldable Phones
As you might expect, the new OS will provide built-in 5G support. Q will also offer support for foldable form factors. With a feature known as Screen Continuity, this support will empower the new breed of smartphones as well as the novel use cases that they’ll enable, allowing them to adapt to various screen dimensions and enabling you to resume an operation where you left off as you unfold the phones.
Plans are in the works to revamp its navigation gestures in 2019, Google says, meaning the company is finally pulling the plug on the use of the navigation bar. There will now be full screen gestures, and you get to enjoy some extra screen real estate to accommodate more apps with the absence of the navigation bar. To go home, you would swipe up from the bottom, and to show your recent apps menu, you would swipe up and pause. Swipe from the left or right edge of your screen to go back.
Google pledges that, looking ahead, they are putting more effort toward working with partners in a bid to “shape the future of mobile” and ensure that you, the end-user, find smartphones even more helpful. “As people carry their phones constantly and trust them with lots of personal information, we want to make sure they’re always in control of their data and how it’s shared.
“And as people spend more time on their devices, building tools to help them find balance with technology continues to be our priority.”
For this reason, the multinational corporation is focusing on 3 primary areas for their upcoming Android Q release. These are innovation, security as well as privacy & digital wellbeing.
Cutting-Edge Mobile Experiences
Android — in conjunction with more than 180 smartphone makers — has been at the frontline of innovative mobile technologies. Many of these advances (such as the first-ever OLED displays, high density and big screens with edge-to-edge glass, predictive typing) have been introduced on Android OS, first.
New industry trends that are emerging, such as 5G and foldable phone displays, are stretching the boundaries of the capabilities of smartphones. Q is created to provide support for the potential of foldable mobile phones, facilitating multi-tasking and enabling adapting to different screen dimensions as you unfold your device. And because it will be the first OS with support for 5G, Android v.10 gives app developers tools for designing for faster connectivity, improving mobile experiences such as gaming and augmented reality (AR).
Also, we are witnessing several firsts in software releases that are driven by on-device machine learning. Live Caption, one of such features, is a new option that helps you captions things, live. For the world’s 466 million people with impaired hearing, captions make content more accessible, enhancing their mobile experiences.
This feature works for any media, which is playing audio across Android Q. Be it videos, podcasts, audio messages, immediately speech is detected, captions will show up, automatically. Since internet connection is not required, no data will ever leave your smartphone.
Smart Reply, also driven by on-device machine learning, is another new feature of the upcoming OS release that will work for all messaging applications on the operating system, seamlessly, and gives you helpful suggestions for replies as well as actions. For instance, if you have a message containing an address, tap on the notification to jump directly to Maps; there is no need for you to launch your messaging app beforehand. This function also works without your information ever getting out of your device.
Security and Privacy Prioritized
Android Q is coming with virtually 50 new features that are security-and privacy-focused. Privacy is even given a top level placement in Settings. Also, there are tools that offer you more transparency around “Location” since it is quite personal information. Thus, you would get reminders for location usage when you aren’t actively making use of the app, which is asking for your location. Also, there is fine grained control when you are enabling the location permission, where you can choose from 3 options — “Allow access all the time,” “Only while using the app,” or “deny location access.” Also at the forefront in Settings is “Location”.
Since Google developed its set of Digital Wellbeing tools in 2018, there have been reports indicating that they have helped phone owners gain better control of their smartphone usage. As a matter of fact, app timers assisted users in sticking to their goals more than 90% of the time, and people that make use of Wind Down recorded a 27% reduction in their nightly phone usage.
Google says this year, it will release more novel features, such as Focus mode, to help you stay focused and avoid distraction. You can pick any apps that you find distracting, like the news or email, and enable the silence option until you finish with Focus mode.
Also, to ensure that children, as well as families, achieve a better balance with technology, starting with Android Q, the company is ensuring that Family Link becomes part of all phones with Digital Wellbeing, in addition to including popularly requested features, such as the option to set app-specific time limits and bonus time.
Android Q Now Available in Beta
Q promises the introduction of many more novel features in your phone, including Dark Theme, new gesture-based navigation, hearing aids via Bluetooth LE, and streaming media. Today, you can get a feel of some of these features in Android Q Beta. Further, Beta is now available for 21 smartphones from 13 device makers, which include all Pixel smartphones, thanks to the commitment of Project Treble and Google partners to bringing about faster platform updates.