Google has announced the start of preliminary testing of the new Android Q operating system. Starting today, the first beta version is available for developers to install, and it already has a large number of new features. It is also noteworthy that the beta program, according to numerous requests from users, included the first generation of smartphones in the 2016 Pixel line.
Android Q will receive enhanced privacy and security features, full support for foldable smartphones, new media codecs and camera features, as well as many new developers APIs.
Restricting access to application permissions
One of the major innovations in Android Q will be the new application permission management system. Users will be allowed to transfer data all the time (in the background), only while the application is running or never - similar to iOS. For example, to order a trip in the Uber taxi service, location information is needed only while the application is running. With Android Q, you can provide Uber with limited access.
In terms of privacy, Android Q will allow you to better control application access to photos, video, audio, and the Downloads folder. Google obliges file managers to ask the user which files the application can view.
Foldable Smartphone Support
In Android Q, native support for folding smartphones will appear, which Google first reported back in November 2018. Developers are optimizing the interface for various split-screen modes and supporting the resumption and suspension of applications in the background. Also, if a full-screen display is required, the application will need to first send a notification with a high priority. Previously, the image was displayed on full screen without permission.
New settings panel API
The new settings panel API is a minor but convenient feature based on Android Slices. Developers will be given the opportunity to add quick access to system settings in applications in the form of a pop-up panel. Thanks to this, it will be possible to manage the mobile network, flight mode, sound volume, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC without leaving the application in use and without looking for the necessary in the general settings.
Google Dynamic Depth Image Format
Modern cameras in smartphones can simulate a shallow depth of field and blur the background relative to the subject. The sensor captures depth metadata for various points in the image and applies static blur. Google’s new open Dynamic Depth format is designed to make blurring even more flexible and simple.
Dynamic Depth contains a JPEG image, depth metadata, and depth map merged together in a single file. Developers will be able to request Dynamic Depth photos from devices whose cameras support them, and improve algorithms. As a result, third-party applications will make it easier to offer custom blur and bokeh options.
Google does not rule out the creation using Dynamic Depth including 3D images and AR images. Currently, the company is working with manufacturing partners to make the format available to all devices running Android Q.
New audio and video codecs
Android Q will add support for several new open-source audio and video codecs.
- AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) - allows multimedia providers to transfer high-quality streaming video with less bandwidth.
- Opus - Provides low latency audio encoding, stronger compression of audio data and support for multi-channel audio.
- HDR10 + - for playing video with an extended dynamic range on devices that support it.
The main improvement for the Share menu in Android Q is that it began to open twice as fast compared to Android 9 Pie. This is really important because the speed of launching the menu was one of the most common problems of previous versions of Android. In addition, there are a number of useful changes: a button for copying the active link from the browser appeared at the top of the menu, and the new Sharing Shortcuts API allows users to directly switch to other applications for sharing content.
- Removing an application shortcut from the Pixel Launcher home screen can now be undone. Useful because sometimes it happens by chance.
- Android Q displays rounded corners and cutout on the screen in screenshots.
- Android Q has a full-fledged dark theme of the interface, which is included separately at will. In previous versions of Android, the interface automatically turned light or dark depending on the accent color of the desktop wallpaper.
- In the settings for developers, the Theming category has appeared, with functions for setting the accent color of individual elements of the Android Q interface, font, and icon shape.
- The built-in file manager for Android Q received a redesigned interface in accordance with the design of Material Theme.
- A long press on the application notification opens quick settings with lock and mute functions right inside the card.
- Applications with notifications disabled are displayed in a separate menu of the "Application notifications" section.
- A small redesign of the About page in the Settings application.
- A bell has appeared in the notification card to indicate recent notifications.
- On the locked screen in the Always-on Display mode, the currently playing song and the time of arrival to home or work (from Google Maps) are now displayed, the percentage of battery charge has moved to the upper right corner.
- Share Wi-Fi . With the new Share Wi-Fi function, you can share information about a Wi-Fi network or join the nearest access point via a QR code.
- Screen Recording . The long-awaited native function for recording actions from the screen of an Android device. Previously, I had to use third-party applications.
- Native MIDI API . Google’s native API for communicating Android Q with MIDI devices via the NDK. Designed for applications that perform sound processing in C ++.
- ANGLE for Vulkan . A graphics engine developed by Google for high-performance hardware compatibility with OpenGL and OpenGL ES. Converts OpenGL code to Vulkan code.
- Neural Networks API 1.2 . A new version of the neural network API with functional improvements and performance optimization.
- BiometricPrompt . A unified authentication framework to support biometrics at the system level now supports passive authentication methods such as face recognition.
- Support for TLS 1.3 . The latest generation of secure connections protocol is 40% faster than TLS 1.2. In Android Q, TLS 1.3 will be enabled by default.
When will it be released and how to install Android Q
To install the beta version of Android Q, you must register in the beta program on the official website of Google
. After registration, the update will be available by air (OTA). In total, the company plans to introduce six assemblies of the new operating system before the final release in the fall. The presentation of the main functions of Android Q will be held at the conference for Google I / O 2019 developers in May.
Android Q Beta Testing Schedule:
- Beta 1 - March.
- Beta 2 - April.
- Beta 3 - May.
- Beta 4 - June.
- Beta 5, Beta 6 (pre-release) - the third quarter of 2019.
- The final release is the third quarter of 2019.
Direct download links for Android Q Beta 1: