Google announces Android Q: New features revealed in beta version

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Google’s first Android Q beta is now available for download. Here’s how Pixel users can install them on their phones

Google has released the first beta edition of the Android Q for all the Pixel phones that have launched so far such as Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel XL and Pixel.

While it's unclear if this means they will also get the final build of Android Q, due out in the third quarter of 2019 (so July to September), such a move does seem pretty likely now - otherwise why go through the trouble of outing beta builds for them in the first place?

Numerous previously announced features for foldable phones like the Galaxy Fold are also built into Android Q. For developers, that means supporting new paused and resumed states that allow multiple apps to work on a larger display. Coming to the Pixel phones, the original Pixel smartphones have already received the promised 2-year Android OS updates. Google is also enabling Android Q to prevent apps from launching an activity while in the background, meaning that an app won't be able to just jump to the foreground and take over your focus. So if you are using a ride share app you can let it track your location while it's in use, but forbid the app from learning your location data when not. This release is mainly to give developers a chance to begin testing apps against the new Android API features. Dynamic Depth will allow apps to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options. Google says it's working with device partners to make Dynamic Depth an open format available across devices running Android Q and later.

As for what's coming in the future, Android Q also has the foldable tech into consideration. However, if you are a developer, it's time to get to work.

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Also on the permissions front, you'll be able to better control apps' access to your photos, videos, and audio files, and to get inside the Downloads folder apps must use the system file picker, which lets you decide which files the app can access. Additionally, a new Settings Panel function can be brought up to show certain settings that may be needed by a specific app (e.g., the Settings Pannel for Chrome could show settings for Wi-Fi, mobile data, and airplane mode).

Android Q offers high-performance and low-latency modes for wireless connections. Others are more nuanced quality-of-life refinements, like improved shortcuts to make sharing content between apps easier and faster.

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

There are still a lot of phones waiting on an update to Android Pie, but that's not stopping Google from rolling out the latest and greatest.

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