Moving to Beta 3 of its development cycle, Android Q saw several updates announced in the Google I / O Developer Conference 2019. With Android Q, Google has reached the 10th version of Android with more than 2.5 billion active devices distributed around the world.
Native support for foldable devices.
At the conference, Google said that foldable devices are going to be a big thing this year. Several manufacturers have been working on building folding devices since last year and we will see more devices of this type enter the market.
Android Q is said to be optimized for these devices and scales based on screen dimensions. Multitasking will be huge and supporting different configurations could have been a challenge without native OS support. This also includes being able to continue using applications smoothly when screens are folded or unfolded.
Smart Reply and Smart Suggestions integration
Continuing with the machine learning features on the Google device, Smart Reply has now been integrated into the Android notification system. This means that all messaging apps will be able to take advantage of Smart Reply from now on.
Smart Suggestions was another useful feature that automatically detected text content and suggested relevant actions accordingly. For example, if a user copies a contact number and highlights it, it will give them the option to make a call directly. The same feature has now been integrated with Smart Reply in the notification menu. So if someone sends an address through a messaging application, Smart Reply will be able to detect that it is an address and suggest the user to open it directly on Google Maps.
Among the most interesting features that surprised the audience at the conference was Live Caption. Falling for machine learning products on Google’s device, Live Caption will automatically generate subtitles for any type of video that is played on the device. It can be a video call, podcast, voice message, or video that is played on YouTube. The function will be activated as soon as the device detects any type of speech. Google collaborated with the deaf community to build this feature, making the technology more accessible to them.
To view the captions, all the user has to do is tap the Live Caption button that appears below the volume level menu. And best of all, users will not need an active internet connection to generate captions, as everything is done within the device. This also makes it more secure as none of the data will leave the device.
New functionalities in digital well-being.
Digital Wellbeing was launched last year with Android Pie to allow users to control and monitor their screen time. Google is adding a new feature called Focus Mode. It will allow users to pause and temporarily disable some apps that can be distracting in this mode. Users will not be able to open these applications when the mode is enabled.
Google stated that the average age of children receiving phones is eight in the US While that’s just a fact, Android will get more parental controls under Family Link, which will be built into digital well-being.
In addition to the major updates announced for Beta 3, there were a couple of other small updates. Android Q will be the first operating system to support 5G connectivity. This means that Android Q will provide tools for developers to create 5G-compliant applications to implement blazing fast connectivity in all kinds of applications, be it for games or for augmented reality.
System-wide dark theme
Finally, the system-wide dark theme is making its way to Android Q. It can be easily changed from the Quick Settings menu. This mode will be highly beneficial for devices that use OLED displays, and it will end up saving a lot of battery life. The Dark theme will also turn on automatically when battery saver is turned on, automatically or manually.
Updated gesture-based navigation
The new gestures are also coming to Android. A thin white bar at the bottom of the screen allows users to navigate the app drawer from the home screen. To return to the home screen, users have to swipe again, either from the app drawer or from an app. If the user wants to switch between previously used apps, they will need to swipe from the bottom. While dragging slowly from the bottom will take them to the multitasking view.
Google is updating the way the back button works. Therefore, if the user wants to return, they will have to scroll from the left or right edge of the screen. The swipe gesture will work around the edge of the screen.
Focus on security and privacy
With Google Plat Protect running on all Android devices, it scans over 50 billion apps every day. The company claims that Android is the “most widely deployed security and antimalware service of any operating system today.” It presents around 50 features and changes around security and privacy. A new “Privacy” section has been added to Settings on Android, giving you more control over location data and permissions. It will also send users reminders every time an application uses location data and allows them to choose whether or not they want to .
Google also announced Project Mainline, a new security update delivery mechanism where the latest patches will be sent to users using the Play Store. This will ensure that security updates are delivered to devices earlier than the conventional method. However, only some of the security updates use this method.
Most of the above-mentioned features will be incorporated into the Android Q Beta 3 update. Some of them are now available and available on 21 devices from 13 brands, including all pixel phones.
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