Google made official the new features that are coming to its next-generation operating system, Android Q. With a focus on privacy and Digital Wellbeing, the new OS brings with it features like Dark Mode, a dedicated Privacy section, as well as Focus mode to disable apps that a user finds distracting.
As foldable smartphones are set to become more mainstream, the user interface for different screen dimensions will be supported in Android Q as well. There is a new focus on voice-based features, an example of which is Live Caption.
So, what are the top features to look forward to in Android Q? We take a look at announcements from Google I/O:
Android Q: Dark Theme
Dark Theme is arguably one of the most awaited features for Android, which users will be able to access in Android Q. Dark Theme can be enabled from the Quick Settings menu or switching on the battery saver on the phone. Dark Theme is not only easier on the eyes, but also saves the phone’s battery.
Though Google is said to bring Dark Theme to its first-party apps, whether it is made available for third-party apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc anytime soon is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, individual apps like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook Messenger support Dark mode.
Android Q: Support for foldable phones
Foldable devices, Google says, open up a completely new category which, though early, might just change the future of mobile computing. So for Android to effectively work on such devices, Google has included support for features like multi-tasking on foldable phones, app continuity, and more in Android Q.
The OS has also been designed to adapt to different screen sizes as such devices are folded and unfolded.
Samsung and Huawei are among the first few players to launch foldable phones, though OEMs such as Xiaomi, Motorola are expected to join the club soon. As of now, foldable phones are limited to the premium segment, but that is expected to change with more competition coming in.
Android Q: Live Caption
Live caption is primarily focused on people who are hearing impaired, bringing real-time captions to videos, podcasts, as well as audio messages. The feature worked quite accurately in the limited time it was demoed.
It works offline and on-device, and what makes it even more accessible is it is a great feature when people want to just watch a video on mute. One can move the captions to any part of the screen or even enlarge the font size.
Once enabled, Live Caption automatically captions media that is playing on a user’s phone. In addition, it works for podcasts and videos across any app and for things that a user records as well. To begin with, the feature is only available in English. Whether more languages will be supported in the future remains to be seen.
Android Q: Focus mode
Focus mode is another feature that is coming to Android Q. Built on the Digital Wellbeing, which was announced last year, Focus mode will let users temporarily disable apps that they might find distracting. One can silence email app, News, and more using the Focus mode.
Digital Wellbeing is also getting the ability to set app-specific time limits and there is a new bonus time as well for that little extra time before the apps get locked.
Android Q: Focus on Privacy
With Android Q, Google has put more focus on privacy with over 50 features. The new Android OS has a dedicated Privacy section, which gives users quick access to privacy settings.
The new Location section lets users choose the apps they want to share their location data with, and even to share location data with apps only while they are in use. More privacy-related features throughout the OS include encryption for low-end devices, randomising your MAC address by default, and more.
The author is in California on the invite of Google India.