Here's all you need to know about Android Q unveiled at Google I/O

Here's all you need to know about Android Q unveiled at Google I/O

Google has been working on Android Q for around two months now, releasing the first developer beta back in mid-March. Now during Google I/O the company was able to officially unveil some of the many features that will be offered in the next major version of Android.

Some of the features Android users can expect from the final version of Android Q include, a system-wide dark mode, improved privacy controls & management, user-friendly shortcuts to core Android features, among others. But let's dive into the official features Google released during the I/O keynote.

Native support for foldable devices

Android Q will natively support foldable devices, which are quickly shaping up to be the next big thing not only for Android but the entire mobile landscape. Not only will Q support all types of foldable display combinations that might arrive in 2019, but it will also have the right set of features to make the user experience a great one.

One of the important features arriving with Android Q known as Screen continuity will allow you to seamlessly transfer your current activity between the different displays. Playing a game on the small display of a phone will automatically and seamlessly expand it on the larger display should you unfold your device. While we've already seen this in action on the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but it's great that stock Android is scoring this feature by default.

Android Q supports 5G

Android Q will add native support for the 5G standard. With more than 20 mobile carriers around the world launching 5G phones in 2019, Android will be at the forefront of the 5G revolution that's coming.

Live Captions

A small, yet important new feature on Android Q called Live Captions, will provide any video with live captions in real time, allowing you to understand what's happening if your phone is muted or if you are hard of hearing. This rather cool feature will be available with any video, no matter if it's web content or a video shot during your vacation in Costa Rica. The captions themselves can be expanded, contracted, and moved around whenever you want on your screen. This feature is built right into the system, allowing Live Captions to be generated completely on the device, with no data being processed on Google's servers. Live Captions will be available on Android devices later this year.

Smart Reply & Suggested Actions

Android's smart notifications are also getting smarter and now works with all messaging apps. It's scoring smart replies that will suggest contextually-aware replies and even emoji straight in your notifications. Additionally, you Smart Reply will be suggesting relevant actions: if someone sends you an address, a context-friendly Google Maps button will pop up, allowing you to directly launch Google Maps with the address in the forefront. A rather useful small feature that will save you some time here and there. The feature will work with any messaging app you might be using. The feature will make use of on-device learning and wouldn't process data on Google's servers.

Android Q Dark Mode

After years of anticipation, Android fans are finally getting a native dark mode in stock Android - Q will let you enjoy a system-wide dark theme by either hitting the respective quick tile in your notifications bar or by enabling the battery saver function.

Security & Privacy

Privacy seems to be another important cornerstone of Android Q. Noteworthy privacy-centric improvements include enhanced location sharing, which now lets you share your location for as long as you're using a certain app, and automatically stop as soon as you exit the app. This is rather similar to iOS' take on location sharing, and is a great peace-of-mind feature to have.

Seamless background updates

With Q, Google will allow certain elements of Android to update themselves in the background as soon as the respective update is available, much like Android apps unobtrusively do that. All the latest security fixes, privacy enhancements, and consistency improvements will be arriving on your phone without requiring a reboot, which is a user-friendly undertaking that we applaud. This would offload some of the more important updates to Google and away from Android manufacturers, which are usually notoriously slow to push out the respective updates to their Phones.

Digital wellbeing and parental controls

Digital wellbeing is getting improved with Android Q. A new mini-feature, called Focus Mode, will let you identify distracting apps and mute any notifications stemming from them as long as Focus mode is on. This way, you can unwind on useless emails and mute the promotional notifications of that mobile game you're clearly a fan of.

Another new addition to Digital Wellbeing is Family Link, which will let you control the screen time of the Android devices that your children are using. After your progeny hits the predetermined limit of screen time in certain apps, they will no longer be able to use said apps on that day unless you give them 5 minutes more with by hitting the aptly-dubbed Bonus Time button.

More devices can taste the beta

Previously, the privilege to test out Android betas was reserved to Google's line of Pixels and a few nearly-stock Android devices, but the upcoming third beta of Android Q will be available on more phones than ever. Aside from Google's Pixels, various Xiaomi, OnePlus, Asus, Nokia, Oppo, Sony, LG, Huawei, and other manufacturers' devices will be able to dip in and sideload the new beta. It should be arriving anytime now, so opt-in on the beta right here and patiently wait for the new update to arrive on your device.

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