Google today issued the first beta of Android Q, which adds enhancements for foldable phones, new privacy and security features, and much more.
“Today we’re releasing Beta 1 of Android Q for early adopters and a preview SDK for developers,” Google vice president Dave Burke announced. “You can get started with Beta 1 today by enrolling any Pixel device, including the original Pixel and Pixel XL, which we’ve extended support for by popular demand.”
We won’t really know what to fully expect from Android Q until Google I/O in May, but here’s a rundown of the key new functionality that Google is delivering—and discussing—in Beta 1:
Foldable phone improvements. Android Q will better support the foldable handsets that are just starting to appear this year, with new multi-resume and resizable app capabilities.
New privacy security features. As part of its work in Project Strobe, Google is adding a number of new privacy and security features to Android Q. These include more control over when apps can get your location information, more control over apps’ ability to access private data like photos and videos, and a new blocker on apps launching foreground activities from a background task (which often interrupts what you’re currently doing in another app).
Shortcut sharing. Android Q will make it easier and faster to share items like photos by adding Sharing Shortcuts that let users jump directly into another app to share content. The best part? They load instantly, unlike today’s Share panel.
Settings panels. Apps will be able to show key system settings like internet connectivity, NFC, and audio volume via a new Settings panel that slides in over the app.
Connectivity improvements. Android Q will support new Wi-Fi standards like WP3 and OWE to improve security for home and work networks as well as open and public networks. And it will offer a new Wi-Fi performance mode for when low latency is important, such as during real-time gaming, voice calls, and the like.
Dynamic Depth format for photos. Camera apps can request a Dynamic Depth image which consists of a JPEG, XMP metadata related to depth related elements, and a depth and confidence map embedded in the same file on devices that advertise support. This makes it possible for the apps to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options, create 3D images, or support AR photography use-cases.
There’s a lot more, but you can check out the original blog post for the complete list.
Those with compatible phones who are interested in testing this early version of Android Q just need to enroll their device and then check for updates. You’ll get future betas as they’re released as well.
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