GREAT NEWS for fans of early-days software, as the Android Q developer beta is now available for use on all Pixel phones.
If you have a Pixel handset (we'd recommend the Pixel 3) and you're willing to put up with any bugs and code gremlins that crop up, then you can now take the latest version of Android for a spin.
Android Q, the 10th version of Google's mobile operating system, is expected to bring a swathe of changes and software tweaks with it.
But the developer beta will mostly showcase the changes behind the scenes, such as Android Q's souped-up privacy features and support for foldable displays; the latter will be handy given the upcoming debuts of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.
Developers and early adopters will be able to mess around with the new Settings Panel API, which provides a pop-up-like menu where all core settings can be accessed, rather than requiring users to plumb a load of menu tiers.
It might sound mundane but such a pop-up will be handy for developers of connected gadgets that need users to give phone connectivity permissions to a smart speaker, for example. Rather than bounce users between a smart speaker app and the settings menu, the pop-up would provide direct access to the setting an app require changes or permissions to, all while remaining within the app's interface.
Such a tweak is one of those quality-of-life changes that make using smartphone slicker and more responsive, shaving off the valuable seconds it takes to get stuff done.
There are plenty of other enhancements as well, such as a new WiFi performance mode that will adapt to ensure a user has the fastest and lowest latency connection available to them for online gaming and VoIP calls.
There are also camera tweaks, notably for enabling more messing around with depth-of-field control, as well as new audio and video codecs and improved APIs for graphics and neural network performance.
Basically, Google has done a lot to Android's software guts which promise to make it more capable and slicker to use.
To get access to the Android Q beta, you'll need to enrol onto the Android beta programme, but that should be a fairly simple process providing you understand you're kinda putting your phone at risk of software borkage. µ
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