On Wednesday, Google launched a preview of the subsequent model of Android, codenamed “Android Q.” The ultimate launch ought to occur someday towards the top of the 12 months, however for now we get a work-in-progress construct that may get a number of new variations all year long. The highlights for this launch embrace new privateness and safety controls, help for foldables, a share menu that really works, quicker app startup, and extra.
This primary launch solely works with Google’s Pixel units, together with the Pixel 1, which is technically past its help window. Wider gadget compatibility for some non-Google units ought to arrive with the second launch.
We’ll publish a deeper dive into Android Q as soon as we get it put in and have time to learn over some paperwork, however for now, this is a fast batch of highlights from Google’s weblog put up on the topic.
Higher foldable and split-screen help
Foldables are going to be an enormous deal in Android’s future, and Android Q brings core OS help for this brand-new kind issue. Foldable smartphones have versatile shows that may be bodily bent by the person, so that you get one thing like a phone-sized gadget that opens up right into a pill. For a design just like the Galaxy Fold, meaning there’s a small entrance show and a second, larger inside show. For a design just like the Huawei Mate X, which sports activities a wraparound show, the telephone’s single show panel modifications from a segmented “entrance” and “again” show in telephone mode to 1 huge show in pill mode.
For these and each different folding, altering, reconfigurable gadget, Android Q has been geared up to protect your app state as you progress between a number of shows or as you open up an present show. On the Galaxy Fold, Android Q will let you will have Google Maps open on the small entrance show, and once you open it, your Google Maps session will leap to the massive show. On a single-display gadget just like the Mate X, opening the gadget will seamlessly swap your session to pill mode. Google and Samsung already spilled the beans on this characteristic throughout the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Throughout that presentation, the characteristic was known as “display screen continuity.”
It feels like split-screen has been reworked, too. The earlier split-screen implementation, which debuted in Android 7.zero Nougat, gave the phantasm of two apps working on the identical time, however actually, just one app was energetic. There have been some tips builders might use to proceed to replace their UI whereas they weren’t the energetic app, however an unsupported app would finally present a stale UI with out particular developer tweaks. A brand new characteristic known as “Multi-resume” might work to repair this. We’ll have to research.
Privateness and permissions
As hinted at in earlier leaks, Android Q comes with improved privateness and permissions controls. The “enable” or “deny” permissions pop-up now has three choices, and the weblog put up says that “Android Q permits customers to provide apps permission to see their location by no means, solely when the app is in use (working), or on a regular basis (when within the background).” New runtime permissions will management app entry to images, movies, and audio collections; file entry was beforehand an all-or-nothing affair.
Android Q will stop apps from launching an exercise whereas within the background, which suggests apps will now not be capable of take over the display screen with no person enter. This characteristic was used previously for incoming name screens and alarm apps (and malicious apps, I am certain), however now apps can be restricted to exhibiting a notification solely.
The brand new share menu
The share menu in Android has been terrible for a couple of variations now. Once you opened the share checklist, the characteristic would start to question each app in your telephone to populate the checklist whereas it was already open. This was sluggish, and it made the checklist leap round and add new icons whilst you had been it. Generally you needed to look forward to the app you needed to pop up; typically you’ll transfer to faucet on one thing and the icon would leap. The craziest factor? None of this data was saved. Each time you opened the share menu, it might do a dwell rebuild of the share menu and question your total app assortment once more.
The brand new share menu has a extra affordable implementation. Builders can publish “Sharing Shortcuts,” which feels like a plan to construct the share menu data forward of time as a substitute of whilst you’re making an attempt to make use of the interface. Importantly, the weblog put up notes that as a result of Sharing Shortcuts are printed upfront, “the share UI can load immediately when launched.” It is unclear how this works with outdated apps, although—is it solely prompt when builders use the brand new UI? Getting builders to universally undertake a brand new UI is difficult. We’ll have to research throughout our hands-on with the system.
A bunch of different options
ART, the Android Runtime, is getting much more optimizations and will launch apps even quicker. Vulkan 1.1, the low-level graphics API, is now a requirement for units working Android Q or greater. Apps can pop up a “settings panel” after they want you to activate one thing like location companies as a substitute of simply dumping you into the complete settings app. New guidelines for builders—like requiring Google Play apps to improve to no less than the Android 9 Pie API degree and an extra limiting of personal APIs by builders—will kick in with the ultimate launch of Android Q.
There are tons of different options in Android Q that we’ll dive into in a hands-on report later. If you would like to observe alongside at dwelling and have a Pixel gadget, you possibly can join the beta at Android.com/beta. For now, we’ve some putting in to do!