Google I/O developer conference unveiled details about the next iteration of Android OS version – the Android Q, the label which at least for now is just version ‘Q’ as Google has not revealed the final name yet. But let’s see what features will the upcoming version of Android will bring.
Support for foldable phones
The Android 10 Q is designed to support the foldable form factors, which is obvious and important as well with top smartphone brands including Samsung, Huawei, and now Google itself is working upon. The new iteration is designed to adapt to the different screen dimensions and lets user pick-up where they left off as they unfold the device, to which the name is given as ‘Screen Continuity’. It comes with built-in support for 5G as well.
Get rid of the navigation bar
The arrival of the new Android Q will let users get rid of the navigation bar as Google is refurbishing its navigation gestures this year. Users will get to experience full-screen gestures along with some added screen real estate for apps with the removal of the navigation bar. So, swiping up from the bottom takes you to the home, swiping up and pausing shows the recent apps menu and swiping from the screen’s left or right edge takes you back — quite to similar to iOS devices.
There’s a new feature called ‘Live Caption’ that is driven by the on-device machine learning. It works for any media that is playing audio across the OS, i.e. videos, podcasts, and audio messages. So, as soon as the speech gets detected, captions appear automatically. And you don’t need the internet connection for all this, no data loss whatsoever.
‘Smart Reply’ is yet another on-device machine learning driven feature that acts seamlessly for all messaging apps in Android Q. This feature helps to provide useful suggestions for replies and actions as well. The example of this is if you get an address in a message, just tap on the notification to get to Maps directly and you don’t require to open the messaging app beforehand. It even works with no info ever leaving your device.
‘Dark Theme’ is also on its way that gets turned on as the battery saver is activated or if you manually turn it on via quick settings tile. This changes the system UI to dark along with the apps that support the dark theme. As a matter of choice for developers, you can opt-in to a new Force Dark feature, which enables Android to create a dark version of their app’s existing theme automatically.
Improved Security and Privacy
The new Android Q will come with 50 new features that are focused on ‘security’ and ‘privacy’. The privacy is placed on top-level in Settings. There’ll be transparency for location and you’ll be reminded for location usage if you’re using the app actively that requests your location. While granting the location permission, you’ll three options — allow access all the time, only while using the app, deny location access. The ‘Location’ is forefront in Settings.
The new ‘Project Mainline’ allows the internal components of the OS to update in the background via Google PlayStore and you don’t require a reboot of a full system to update the device manufacturers. It plausibly enables faster updates for security, privacy, and consistency, but wait for all these to happen as the available details are still unclear right now.
Similarly, the ‘Focus Mode’ will arrive in Android Q as well as in previous Android 9 devices this fall. Use this when you want to get your things done without being continually distressed by notifications. You can select the apps that you find distracting and activating the Focus Mode will disable them till the deactivation.
‘Family Link’ is yet another interesting feature to look out for that provides parental controls in Settings on devices alongside Digital Wellbeing features and this will start with the Android Q. So, you can set up the device for a child and the Family Link connects it to your account, giving you the power to review apps, set daily limits, view app time, as well as set a bedtime.
You can also set time limits on specific apps in Android Q.
The Android Q beta is already available for 21 phones from 13 brands, including all Pixel devices, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Asus Zenfone 5Z, Essential Phone, LG G8 ThinQ, OnePlus 6T, Nokia 8.1, OPPO Reno, Sony Xperia XZ3, Realme 3 Pro, Tecno Spark 3 Pro, Vivo X27, Vivo Nex S, Vivo Nex A, Xiaomi Mi 9, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G.