The Google I/O event 2019 witnessed some pretty significant releases this year. We also got to see the launch of the Google Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL smartphones at this event. But, another release from Google which caught the attention of all the tech enthusiasts out there was of the Android Q Beta 3. This Beta update from Google was launched as an incremental update to the previous March and April releases. Google has made it clear that with these updates it is laying emphasis on developers and identifying current issues. The company also announced that this update would make its way to 21 smartphones from 13 OEMs and on those lines we have already seen OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T receive the update. Also, there’s the Nokia 8.1 which also got the Android Q Beta update and we have managed to install it on our handset. Here are the features which are present on the beta version of Android Q.
Changes in UI
The first thing that the developers will see when they flash the ROM for the new Android Q Beta is the build number in the quick settings menu on pulling down the notification panel. In addition to this, Google has revamped the emergency information on the phone, and it now includes blood group type, allergies, address, medication, organ donor and other medical information. The notifications have also been given a different touch to allow better control. Long pressing on these notifications will allow the users to control how they function with options to select from – Block, Show Silently and Keep Alerting. It is worth noting that although the options were available in Beta 2 as well, in the latest Beta 3 they are well explained.
Privacy and Security
Throughout its keynote, Google execs emphasised again and again on privacy and security and these concerns surely reflect on the Android Q Beta 3 as well. Some of the improvements in this regard include the ability to have better control over location settings. Another feature is Scoped Storage which will grant more power the user to control how the apps access sensitive data. The OS will also prevent background app launches and will limit access to non-resettable device identifiers like device IMEI, serial number etc
On the security front as well, Google has extended the BiometricPrompt authentication framework to support biometrics at a system level. There will also be explicit and implicit authentication flow for improved security in Android Q. Lastly, Google is also adding support for TLS 1.3 which includes performance benefits and enhanced security.
Android Q’s fully gestural navigation mode is Google’s adaption towards edge-to-edge screens as the search giant wants the users to utilise every bit of the display. This navigation method allows the apps to make full use of the expanded screen real estate. The options to toggle this navigation method are available in Settings > System > Gesture. As per the Beta 3, swiping up will take you to the Home screen while holding up will bring Recents. Swiping from the left or right side of the screen will trigger the back action. That being said, the gestural navigation feature is not available on non-Pixel devices at the moment. Even we were unable to spot the Android Pie’s gesture navigation in this build for OnePlus 6T and Nokia 8.1.
Android Q will finally come with a system-wide dark mode which will be available for toggling in the quick settings menu. Alternatively, users will be able to go to Settings and toggle on the Dark Mode from the Display Menu. The feature changes the system UI to dark. Google has noted that apps will have the option of either building their own dark theme or they will be able to opt-in for a Force Dark feature which will let the OS create a dark version of their existing theme.
Last year, Google introduced useful features under the Digital Wellbeing tag like Dashboards, App Timers, Flip to Shush, and Wind Down mode. The users of the OS widely praised these features since they helped them in cutting down their smartphone usage. In this Beta 3 version, Google has brought two new features – Family Link and Focus Mode. Focus Mode will silence the apps that users find distracting while working. Users will be able to enable or disable this feature from a Quick Tile.
The Family Link feature will help you when you set up a new device for your child. You will be able to see your child’s daily screen time limits, see the apps they are using, where they are spending their time, review the apps which they want to install, and also set up bedtime so that they can disconnect during the night.
Smart Reply and 5G
Google has added that Android Q will offer smart replies to all the notifications when they come to your phone. For this, the developers won’t have to do any additional development and users will be able to see the smart replies by default. Again, this feature is not present on the non-Pixel phones at the moment.