Google just released the first Android Q beta

Joanna Estrada
March 14, 2019

Now, for the most important question: What does the Q in Android Q stand for?

The Android Q Beta 1 has been released, with Google pushing out the first preview version of its upcoming major Android release. This release will inevitably include ample bugs and half-finished features, but it's the first glimpse of Google's vision for the future of Android.

As Android fans know, every new version of the operating system is named after a sweet treat. However, this is the first beta.

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. Android Q places a focus on privacy, like with its new location data setting that'll let you choose whether an app can access your location all the time, only while the app is in use, or deny location access completely.

Portrait photos are all the rage these days, and in Android Q, Google's taking them to another level with a feature called "dynamic depth". That effectively blocks apps from tracking you in the background.

Along the same lines, Google is blocking access to non-resettable identifiers. As expected, it's got a bunch of new features that will refine (and hopefully improve) the Android experience.but since this beta is for developers, a lot of the changes listed on the Android Developers Blog post explain all the new features and APIs for apps. The depth-mapping data used to accomplish the effect is discarded after the photo is created. 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.

We've also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens. Android Q allows for HDR10+ on phones and tablets that support it.

There are also tweaks to connectivity, including "adaptive Wi-Fi" that enables high performance/low latency modes, which would be useful for things like online gaming or voice calls. That could well limit whether apps can get things like the phone's IMEI, serial number, MAC address, or other data. Developers will be able to register sharing shortcuts with the system so they will populate instantly.

ART, the Android Runtime, is getting even more optimizations and should launch apps even faster. The highlights for this release include new privacy and security controls, support for foldables, a share menu that actually works, faster app startup, and more.

Of course, you'll need an eligible device in order to take part in the beta. Google has a beta program that lets you update via a simple OTA. Be warned: this is unstable beta software. SlashGear will be there to bring back all the details of the Android Q updates likely to arrive ahead of the OS' full release, which - if previous timelines hold true this year - we're expecting to be released in Q3 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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