GOOGLE HAS GIVEN US the full skinny on the 10th version of Android, currently known as "Q", before it ships later in the year.
During its I/O keynote on Tuesday, where we also saw the launch of the Pixel 3a lineup and Nest Hub Max, Google spilled some more details about Android Q, which has been available to developers in beta since March.
Security sits at the OSes forefront, with Google boasting that there are are more than 60 new privacy-focused settings in Android Q. Most notable are new location services settings that let you limit location tracking to only when the app is running, and you'll also receive reminders when an app has your location in the background, so you can decide whether or not to continue sharing.
Also in a bid to soup-up Android security, a new feature dubbed 'Project Mainline' will ensure users receive updates without having to wait for an OEM release, and without having to reboot their device.
"We'll update important OS components in the background, similar to the way we update apps," Google explains. "This means that you can get the latest security fixes, privacy enhancements and consistency improvements as soon as they're available, without having to reboot your phone."
Android Q also has next-gen devices in its sights and arrives with support for foldable form factors, adapting to different screen dimensions as a bendy smartphone is unfolded. It's the first OS to support 5G networks, too, offering devs tools to build for "faster connectivity, enhancing experiences like gaming and augmented reality."
AI and on-device machine learning are, naturally, another big focus of Android Q. A feature dubbed 'Live Caption', for example, sees Google's machine-learning algorithms add captions on the fly; these will appear as soon as speech is detected, and no internet connection is required. Smart Replies are coming to Android Q too, which will provide suggestions not just for replies, but also actions.
Elsewhere, Android Q will ship with new Huawei-alike gestures, an all-new 'Focus' mode that'll rid of distracting notifications and, unsurprisingly, a system-wide dark theme; the latter is also expected to be a key feature of Apple's iOS 13.
Google's latest Android Q beta is available now on 21 phones from 13 brands, including all of the firm's homegrown Pixel devices. Other supported handsets include the Nokia 8.1, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, OnePlus 6T and Sony Xperia XZ3. µ
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