Google just released its first Android Q beta, the next version of Android coming later this year. In this guide we’ll go over everything we know about Android Q, what’s new so far, what changed, how many betas are coming and what Android device owners can expect.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that a lot of Android Q features recently leaked online, but those are not in the first Android Q beta. So, we’ll be keeping this list to what Google confirmed, and not the rumors.
Android Q Release Date & Betas
First off, the official Android Q release date isn’t until sometime in Q3 of 2019, likely around the end of August. That said, starting on March 13th an early developer preview “beta” is available for select users, devices, and developers. A second more stable version with more features will arrive in early April, and so on.
For those that don’t know, Android P debuted in March of 2018 and was later released as Android 9 Pie in August. And a similar beta program kicked off in 2016 and 2017 for Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 8.0 Oreo.
Google already confirmed that they’ll release six betas of Android Q, or Android 10. Shown above is the release schedule and timeline, which matches previous years. The 5th beta will be considered “stable” and is likely what you’ll want to wait for. If you’re daring, try any of the other releases right now.
Important Android Q Links
If you’re a developer you’ll want to go to the Android Q Developer page. Google also released an overview page showing all the nitty-gritty details. Then, don’t forget to submit feedback to help improve the software moving forward.
What’s New in Android Q?
So here’s the thing. Google just announced Android Q and they’re not talking about it very much yet. There are some obvious changes like improved security and privacy controls, support for folding phones, and a few other things, but that’s about all.
They’re saving all the exciting and fun new features for the Google I/O Developer conference in May. And, as we said above, some of the exciting new Android Q features like Dark mode and Desktop mode that leaked earlier this year are missing completely. Basically, here’s what’s new so far, but just know that a lot more is coming and we’ll update as we learn more and Google reveals new features.
- Improved Privacy Protection & Controls – Google made major changes in Android Q that focus on privacy protection. Additionally, users have a deeper level over privacy controls too, which was expected. Look for more information on this in the near future.
- Expanded Location Controls – Similar to the new privacy controls and options, Google is taking a huge new approach to location controls, location data, and user tracking in Android Q.
As you can see, in Android Q device owners can see exactly what devices have access to their location. Furthermore, you can control WiFi and Bluetooth location scanning, grant or revoke permission to each app one at a time, or even only grant access to your location while the app is in use.
It’s no secret that “big tech” like Google, Facebook and Apple have been under a ton of scrutiny lately for how much information it collects about its users. Then, in turn, how that information gets used for ads and such. A big part of that focuses on location data, device tracking, or user tracking. As a result, Android Q has some strict privacy and location controls unlike any version of Android we’ve ever seen.
- Support for foldable displays – With exciting new phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei’s folding phone, the Moto RAZR and more all coming soon, Google is building Android to work better with screens that fold or bend. If a device has a folding or innovative new design, Android Q will adapt to the shape in an effort to deliver a great experience, and that includes a neat new split-screen multitasking system.
- Sharing Shortcuts in Android Q – Another thing we’re seeing is a change to the “share” menu in Android Q. Google is making this quicker and easier with Sharing Shortcuts, which let users jump directly into another app to share content.
- Settings Panels – In Android Q app developers will be able to show key system settings directly inside of their app. Including WiFi, Bluetooth, mobile data, or even sound settings. A prime example is the Ultimate Ears app having a “settings panel” where users can instantly access BT settings, sound controls and more without leaving the application.
- Connectivity permissions, privacy, and security
- Theme Controls or Dark Mode – We know Android Q will have some sort of new Dark Mode, but digging through developer options we’re seeing full “theme controls” where users can change fonts, colors, accent fonts and colors, icon shapes and more. If Google delivers some sort of theme tool with Q a lot of users will be very happy.
- Improved Peer-to-Peer and Internet Connectivity
- WiFi Performance Mode
- Dynamic Depth Formats for photos
- New Audio and Video Codecs
- Native MIDI APIs
- Improved Vulkan Graphics, Neural Network APIs, and much more
Again, Google just released the first Android Q beta on March 13th, so everything is still brand new. They’re only sharing a small selection of what’s new, and saving all the good stuff for later this year when they can make the announcements up on stage.
For now, it looks like Android Q will make a big effort to improve performance, battery life, security, privacy, location data and more, along with obviously making the software smarter, faster, and better. Then, expect better camera controls and software, better gaming support, and a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
Final Thoughts & What’s Next?
For now, just remember that this is the first release of Google’s new software, Android Q Beta 1, and a lot more will change in early April and early May as they release the 2nd and 3rd betas. When they do, we’ll update this post with all the information.
Plus, you can expect other manufacturers like Sony, OnePlus, Nokia, Oppo, Essential, Xiaomi and others to join the beta and offer Android Q for select devices too.
Either way, this is our first very early look at what’s next for Android, and we’ll share more details as soon as Google decides to share them with the world.
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