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Android “Q” is the tenth major release and the 17th version of the Android mobile operating system.
The current stable version is Android 9 “Pie”, released in August 2018.
Android Q, its successor has been announced and its 1st, 2nd, 3rd and now 4th beta has been available for 21 devices from 13 brands, including all Pixel phones.
List of phones that’s currently support Android Q
Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 3a XL
Google Pixel 2
Google Pixel 2 XL
Google Pixel XL
Asus Zenfone 5Z
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Realme 3 Pro
Sony Xperia XZ3
Techno Spark 3 Pro
Vivo Nex S
Vivo Nex A
Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
NB: Huawei p20 was previously listed among the devices listed above but was removed following Google cutting ties with Huawei.
The final release of Android Q is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2019, sometime in August.
Android Q release date Timeline
March 13: The first Android 10 developer beta has launched
April 3: Android Q beta 2 gave us bugs fixes and app bubbles
May 7: Android Q beta 3 launched at Google IO 2019
Early June: The final incremental update, beta 4, should land in June
July: Beta 5 and beta 6, release candidates, may land this month
August: The final release has routinely happened in August
The roll out to other Android phones will happen throughout 2019 and even into 2020, as various manufacturers would like to add their own features and interfaces to the operating system. There’s a chance you’ll have to wait months after the initial Android Q release before you see the OS update on your device.
Features of Android Q
Android being active on over 2.5 billion devices worldwide has seen tremendous upgrades and evolution since it’s early release of Android beta in 2007.
This year, with new industry trends showing up, trends like the foldable phone displays and 5G pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can do. Google has designed Android Q and with the monthly beta releases, they are continuously improving the OS update to have a comfortable support for the new trends.
Android Q is designed to support the potential of foldable devices—from multi-tasking to adapting to different screen dimensions as you unfold the phone.
Also, it’s the first operating system to support 5G, Android Q offers app developers tools to build for faster connectivity, enhancing experiences like gaming and augmented reality so as to easily position Android to provide the experience and opportunities these new trends has brought to the table.
As the monthly beta updates show up, additional features and bug fixes have come with beta 3 and we expect the same from Android Q beta 4 all the way into the final release in August.
Some of the changes have been confirmed, while others remain rumors.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the new features on Android Q
NB: This post would be updated as we progress into the final release.
Android Beam is Missing on Android Q
The NFC peer-to-peer sharing method has been on previous Android versions but it’s one feature Google won’t be bringing onboard the Android Q.
As confirmed during Android IO, The Android Beam which refers to NFC peer-to-peer sharing method when two devices are nearby. Placing phones back-to-back will do nothing in the beta and final software.
Google will have to replace Android Beam with another peer-to-peer sharing method, but nothing about that is known for now.
Altogether, we may have to wait until the final Android Q release date to see it, or maybe when the Google Pixel 4 launches (excepted in October).
Good support for Foldable phones
With foldable phones about to be the next big trend, Google is preparing Android Q for foldable phones in 2019.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold – while it was being reviewed (Before it’s screen problem was detected) – seamlessly switched between the folded and unfolded screen states in an impressive way and it runs on Android 9 pie.
Google support for this type of UI will continue improving into Android Q. And the support will come to more foldable phones when they finally launch with Android Q onboard.
Also, for developers, Android Q beta 2 includes a ‘foldables emulator’ in Android Studio 3.5.
Android Q ‘bubbles’ multitasking
I believe you must have been using Facebook’s messenger? If YES, the you will recognise this feature, the Facebook Messenger chat heads
The bubbles UI used by Messenger will now be the new way Android handles multi-tasking.
It’s an easy way to keep active conversations on-screen as small floating profile pics, while going about your normal tasks in the rest of the interface. It will take only a tap on the pic to switch back to the previous chats/apps you were working on.
Google is supporting this idea throughout Android Q and calls the the new way of multi-tasking.
Dark Theme: The system-wide dark mode
If you’ve been following the smartphone trends closely, you must have seen slot of topics pop on concerning smartphone screen dark mode.
Although, the dark theme has always being there, looking great on Samsung phone’s OLED screens. It will still be safe to categorize this as one of the new trend too because everybody, all of a sudden realized its advantages and wants to have it on their platform.
Google is not exempted. There’s a system-wide dark mode coming to Android Q and it’s called Dark Theme.
It was tested at Google IO and its quite cool.
On Android Q, the Dark Theme feature could be triggered in two different ways, and both ways can easily be located in the notification shade.
The first is with a dedicated Dark Theme quick settings button that switches between the default Light Theme and new Dark Theme.
The second way is to turn on a Battery Saver mode, which automatically turns on Android Q Dark Theme.
This is an advantage for phones with OLED screens, which will burn fewer pixels by essentially turning off pixels in regions of the display that are intentionally black. Thus, saving more battery and also, it looks so cool.
Improved Android privacy features on Android Q
With the whole world paying more attention to internet security and how their privacy is being kept private on the platforms they are using. Google has also shown their commitment in keeping the data of Android users private.
The Android Developer Blog post announcing the developer beta confirmed a heavy emphasis on boosting privacy in Android Q.
In Android Q, users will have more control over how apps access their location info, shared files and other repositories like Photos and Videos.
Also, instead of Android apps automatically switching focus when they have an Activity in the background (like an alarm or call), appmakers can opt to send high-priority notifications first.
There’s a new feature introduced in Android Q beta 3 called – Scoped Storage.
This feature allows users to control how apps access external storage (MicroSD card).
It will also better protect users from being identified and remain secure in situations like when they are connected to different WiFi networks. This works by restricting access to non-resettable device identifiers, like your phone’s serial number, IMEI, and randomising Mac Addresses.
These might be some of the most onerous changes for developers in Android Q, and Google stated in the Android Developers Blog post: “We are bringing these changes to you early, so you can have as much time as possible to prepare.”
Over the years, Android has tried to stick to its three-button navigation as an option while other smartphone brands using Android has always pushed gesture controls.
This time, Google might be going with the flow.
Say Good bye to the three-button navigation, welcome to gesture only controlled Android devices.
With Android Q, users may only be able to use the navigation system present in the Google Pixel 3: as seen on leaked version of Android Q last month, XDA Developers (via The Verge). With the small pill at the bottom of the screen users can swipe in the cardinal directions to get around.
You should also know that Android allows brands to develop their own navigation methods and systems to go along with their own user experience, so it’s very unlikely that this will be the only way to navigate, your smartphone brand might decide to have options for you to switch between gesture mode navigation or the three onscreen button navigation.
Or maybe, as the Android Q beta updates role out, maybe their will be a change of mind and Google will bring back the three-button navigation.
Face ID authentication for logins and purchases
Face ID is another trend that’s taking the smartphone market by storm and core Android doi want to be left out of it.
A developer build acquired by XDA Developers has revealed a little about the plans Google has for Android Q concerning this feature.
The next version of Android will support phones packing the hardware to use facial scans for authentication.
It’s still unclear just how it will work. But we did get hints via error codes in one of the OS’ APK, which variably tells the user to move the phone in different directions for the device to get a better look at their face.
Other strings of code found by XDA are also promising, like one that blatantly informs users they can “Use your face to unlock your phone, authorize purchases, or sign in to apps.”
Whether phones will be able to use Face ID is another story: they need to have the hardware installed – whether that’s sensors or the right specs – for the feature to work.
More Developer tools Options
According to the XDA leak, There are several new developer tools. It’s still unclear gow all of them will function.
Among the list is one called Freeform windows return, which lets you enable them after pressing and holding an app icon in the recent apps overview.
Another, titled “force desktop mode,” seems like it would push Android to an external display, Samsung DeX-style.
There’s another feature called “Game Updates Package Preference” which to be sincere, I still don’t know what it’s all about.
There’s still a lot going into the developer tools UI, making some features – like screen recording and others – not totally comprehensible.
More permissions to preserve privacy
Increased App Permission Control Through Developer Tools
From the aforementioned XDA Developers leak, users will be able to look at a broad overview of which apps they’ve given permission for certain things, like location or microphone access.
There’s a search function that lets you filter by permission item, allowing you to quickly see which apps you’ve given access to your camera, contacts, location etc.
You can also look at permissions each app has been granted and easily toggle them individually to set whether access is off, on, or only on while the app is open.
Live Caption, and Live transcribe
During the 2019 Google IO event, one of several accessibility features announced at the even was Live Caption – which captions video and audio in real-time.
It’s not a new feature though, it’s been around, but one thing unique is that the feature doesn’t require an internet connection. It transcribes text from the device’s own speech recognition and NLP.
On the Google IO 2019 stage, Live Caption was used in combination with Live Transcribe to input incoming audio to text, then have a user text a response which was spoken.
Th combination of the live caption and live transcribe is called – Live Relay – and it possible for a texting user to interact on a phone call without speaking a word and vis versa.
Another accessibility feature coming to Android Q that’s worth taking note of is the Project Euphonia, which aims to improve Android’s verbal recognition to better process words spoken by users with speech impediments.
Android Q has some big plans for this new 5G network giving that it’s the first OS to provide support for it.
New APIs will enable apps to detect user connection rate and latency, as well as detect if the connection is metered. Devs could now help their app users consume less data.
Among the several improvements includes capability for app developers to detect user data download speed and latency, as well as whether their connections are metered by carriers.
A smartphone running Android Q beta 3 can load an 8K video in just over a second that’s just a sneak peek on how fast 5G network could be.