Android Q beta launches today, available to all Pixel phones

Android Q Android Q beta Android Q features Android Q specifications Android Q download Install Android Q beta Android Q beta download on Pixel Pixel Android Q Pixel Android Q update

Android Q Android Q beta Android Q features Android Q specifications Android Q download Install Android Q beta Android Q beta download on Pixel Pixel Android Q Pixel Android Q update

The next version of Android is here. sorta.

Today Google has released the first beta build of Android Q, which you can install if you have a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, or Pixel 3 XL. The changes aren't massive here, but the best parts of our year are playing with new versions of Android. For a design like the Huawei Mate X, which sports a wraparound display, the phone's single display panel changes from a segmented "front" and "back" display in phone mode to one big display in tablet mode. Different devices will have have different display configurations and it's important Android can morph appropriately.

Information about Android Q is scant at the moment, but the new mobile operating system will introduce new privacy features, support for foldable handsets, and more, Google says.

Android Q lets developer control how their apps behave on foldable screens. Google and Samsung already spilled the beans on this feature during the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

There's no guarantee these will make it into the final build of Android Q, mind you - Google teased a dark mode in previous versions of Android, only to pull them in the final release - but a man can dream. This makes it possible for the apps to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options, create 3D images, or support AR photography use-cases.

Android Q's new Sharing Shortcut. In addition to this, apps will be prevented in Android Q to launch Activity while running in the background. For example, Chrome could show shortcut buttons for adjusting settings like WiFi, airplane mode, and data without you needing to go into the Settings app.

Android Q offers high-performance and low-latency modes for wireless connections. Android Q allows you to fine-tune control over location sharing; when an app asks for your location data, you can select "allow only while the app is in use" or "allow all the time".

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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.

Android Q aims to improve the sharing process on Android (something that's been in dire need of fixing) by allowing the share menu UI to appear instantly when invoked.

There are two ways to test Android Q on your Pixel, and both are pretty easy.

Those interested can enroll here to get Android Q beta updates over-the-air, but only on their Pixel phones (at least for now).

Enlarge / "Allow only while the app is in use" is a new option. Those may not ultimately make it into Android Q but that will probably depend on how hard the change is to implement, meaning that some fairly substantial reworks might take place before final launch. As always, update at your own risk.

Changes to the way Android's preview program will work may end up being far more impactful though.

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