Google announces Android Q beta for Pixel 1, 2, and 3

Google releases first Android Q beta for Pixel phones

Well, the Android Q beta arrived as a first build and we took it for a quick spin.

Android Q brings "a number of additional privacy and security features", Google said in a blog post, as well as new camera capabilities, faster app startup, enhancements for foldable devices, and more. The handsets supported are Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL along with the official Android emulator.

Although the Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 devices will receive a minimum of three major software updates, Google only ever promised two Android version updates for the original Pixel duo.

There's also a host of other less visible under-the-hood updates to Android Q including a new settings panel that can be activated from within certain apps. In the past, you could either grant or deny location access for an app, but there was no in between. It is worth noting that unlike what happened with Android 9 Pie past year, Google is making its Android Q beta 1 available non-developers as well.

In Android Q apps can request a Dynamic Depth image, making it possible for third party 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. There's no telling what apps or services will break due to changes made throughout the beta process.

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Developers will also be able to show contextually-important system settings within their apps, which harnesses the "Slices" feature that came in Android 9 Pie. Google has a beta program that lets you update via a simple OTA. There's a new Sharing Shortcuts feature that "let users jump directly into another app to share content". For example, if you're using a browser but you've got no internet connection, a setting panel can pop up and display the Internet Connectivity panel so that you can quickly toggle on Wi-Fi or mobile data without leaving your app.

As for what's coming in the future, Android Q also has the foldable tech into consideration. You can do this if you don't have a Pixel device.

Developers will be able to publish targets in the Sharing Shortcuts interface in advance, which allows them to load instantly when launched by a user. What are your thoughts on the Android Q Beta 1?

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.

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