ANDROID Q looks set to introduce some positive changes, including a system-wide dark mode and better privacy controls. However, its - unsurprisingly - not all good news, as the OS could also give operators more control over SIM-locking smartphones.
According to Android's Gerritt source code, via 9to5Google, there are four new commits labelled "Carrier restriction enhancements for Android Q," all of which will make it easier for carriers to lock you to their network.
One of the commits, for example, allows operators to create a list of 'allowed' and 'excluded' carriers; essentially a list of whitelisted and blacklisted of networks that will or won't work on a given phone. This will go so far as to enable operators to block MVNO networks, even if both carriers are using the same towers.
Restrictions are also on the way for dual-SIM devices. Android Q will let operators lock out the second SIM tray of a dual-SIM phone, allowing them to keep tighter control over devices. For example, a carrier could create a rule that in order for the second slot of a SIM tray to be active, the first slot must be filled with an active SIM from that carrier.
News of this dystopian-type functionality comes after XDA Developers last week obtained a working developer preview of the next-gen OS.
The early fondle confirms that Android Q's previously-rumoured system-level dark mode is coming; switching it on will see the Settings, Launcher, Launcher settings, and Files app all develop a dark grey tinge, while the volume panel, Quick Settings panel and notifications all turn a goth-pleasing shade of black.
A DeX-a-like Desktop Mode is also coming to Android. The feature's description reads "force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays", suggesting that Google is experimenting with Samsung-esque functionality that'll allow users to turn their devices into a makeshift PC.
It looks like Google will go big on privacy with Android Q too; XDA discovered a "huge" permissions revamp in the Settings app, that gives users much more control over what information apps can access. You'll be able to restrict what apps can access certain location info and microphone access, for example, much like Apple offers in iOS.
Finally, this early Android Q preview features a "ton" of new developer features, including a "force desktop mode", support for enabling freeform windows, and new "Game Update Package Preferences" which asks devs to select a graphics driver; although it's unclear what added functionality this offers. µ
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