Android Q: What You Need To Know About the 17th Android Version

Google presented the features of the newest Android Q at Google I/O 2019 and the update immediately got people talking. While the version is expected to roll out in August 2019, you can already download the Android Q beta 3 and get a glimpse of the upcoming update.

A quick overview of Android Q

Before getting down to the features, first, let’s have a look at the update itself.

Cost: supposedly free.

Release date: August 2019.

Android Q will be packed with lots of user-friendly features that are aimed at enhancing the user experience and making it more enjoyable and comfortable. Before talking about the features that this version will have, we need to mention the one that will be missing and that’s Android Beam. Android Beam is the NFC peer-to-peer sharing method that lets the Android users perform short-range exchanges of the data. While it’s convenient enough, the feature will no longer be available with Android Q and Google has not yet announced whether it will replace it with another sharing method.

Now that we are clear on what Android Q is and when we can expect it, let’s move on to its anticipated features.

No more back button

All owners of Android phones are used to this navigation staple – but with Android Q, the back button will be gone.

Android Pie already had gesture-based navigation and Android Q seems to take it further. Instead of the back button, users will be using a side-swipe gesture. The swiping from the edge of the phone’s screen will mimic the back button functionality and grant the users navigation that is more intuitive.

Support of foldable phones

We all know that foldable screens are coming and Google made Android Q ready for this trend.

During the I/O conference, Google presented Samsung Galaxy Fold for a test and it seamlessly switched between the folded and unfolded screens. And here is what Google had to say for the developers about the foldable phones support, “To help your apps to take advantage of these and other large-screen devices, we’ve made a number of improvements in Android Q, including changes to onResume and onPause to support multi-resume and notify your app when it has focus. We’ve also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens”.

Dark Theme is coming

The system-wide Dark Theme is a long-awaited feature that Google will finally release on Android Q. Users will be able to turn it on and off from the Quick Settings section but the theme will be turned on upon switching to the Battery Saver mode.

Another awesome thing is that Google now offers an API for developers to create their apps in a dark theme as well.

Live Caption in real-time

The Live Caption feature is a great step by Google towards helping deaf and hard-of-hearing people to have a more enjoyable experience with their phones. The feature provides real-time captions of anything that happens on the phone when someone talks (i.e. video, game, podcast) and it happens on-device. The best part about is that Live Caption does not require an Internet connection to efficiently function and that makes it even better.

New features concerning users’ privacy

Last year went under the GDPR sign and the issue of personal privacy is as critical as ever. Google proved it takes it seriously by introducing a few features aimed at enhancing one’s privacy in terms of data and phone management.

First, users will have more control over the app’s access to files, repositories, and location. For example, upon asking for a location, the app will now present a pop-up with a few options, like granting access all the time or only once. Secondly, Android Q will have a Scoped Storage feature. With its help, users will control how the app accesses external storage (i.e. MicroSD card) and will be better protected against being identified due to the access restriction for non-resettable device identifiers.

Built-in screen recording

One more user-friendly feature coming to Android Q is the option of screen recording. It also offers the optional voiceover and visual indicators for the screen taps. Right now the feature seemed a bit tricky but hopefully, it will work like a charm upon the Android Q official release.

Anything else?

A couple more things worth noting are:

  • 5G: the new APIs will help apps detect the connection rate and latency thus helping developers allocate the amount of data to send to the users.
  • Face ID: this feature is not out yet and Google only seems to plan to introduce it but the company mentioned it a few times during the conference.

By now, Android Q seems pretty neat. It has both long-awaited features and some brand-new ones, all of them aimed at making the use of Android phones better and easier. We will see more of Android Q upon the release but for now, we can enjoy the beta version and check it out by ourselves to see whether it is really something to get excited about.