The next major version of Android brings native support for foldable devices, new privacy features, additional features for enterprise users, and a new “sharing shortcuts” API that should make it easier to share content from one app using another.
Android Q won’t be finalized until sometime this fall, but if you have a Google Pixel smartphone, you can download and install the first Android Q Beta starting today either by downloading and flashing an image for your device, or by signing up for the Android beta program.
Just keep in mind that this is pre-release software, and there are some known issues. You probably aren’t going to want to use this operating system as your daily driver, but developers and enthusiasts can take it for a spin on a secondary device.
For example, Google notes that “system and app performance are known to be periodically slow and janky, and devices may become occasionally unresponsive.” If that’s not enough to scare you off, “battery life may be regressed” and “some apps may not function normally on Beta 1,” including apps from Google and other developers.
That said, if you want a sneak peek at Android Q, here are some of the new features on the way:
- New onResume and OnPause features will help resume or pause multiple apps when they go in and out of focus on multi-screen or foldable devices.
- Users will have more control over location access — you can choose if apps always have location access, never have access, or only when it’s running in the foreground.
- Users also get more control over app access to files including photos, videos, and audio collections with new runtime permissions.
- Developers can display system settings within an app through a new Settings Panel API.
- Support for the AV1 video codec
- Support for Dynamic Depth images which include a JPEG and XMP metadata containing depth information (for blurred backgrounds and other effects)
Google is also expanding the use of the Volkan 3D graphics API, introducing version 1.2 of its Neural Networks API, and improving its ART runtime performance, among other things.
Keep in mind that this is just the first of 6 planned betas. So we could see features added, taken away, or refined in the coming months.