It has only been a short time since Google released the first public beta for Android Q for Pixel phones but that hasn’t stopped them from releasing the second beta this morning. Available for download and with OTAs rolling out now the second beta brings a few cosmetic changes but mostly system changes and fixes.
Announced on the Android Developers Blog by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering at Google, the new beta brings few changes including some important privacy features. Some of the more notable changes include:
- Bubbles – This is Google’s take on chat bubbles although the bubbles are for more than just chatting. The bubbles are a new way for developers to implement multitasking into their apps and are similar to the bubbles many apps already use. Google have brought ” the best from those into the platform, while helping to make interactions consistent, safeguard user privacy, reduce development time, and drive innovation”.
Bubbles are a new feature in Android Q. With bubbles users can easily multi-task from anywhere on their device. Bubbles are built into the Notification system. They float on top of other app content and follow the user wherever they go. Bubbles can be expanded to reveal app functionality and information, and can be collapsed when not being used.
When the device is locked or the always-on-display is active, bubbles appear just as a notification normally would.
Bubbles help users be able to dive into another app while still maintaining the current context in the original app. Developers will be able to display content within the bubble along with an icon (disabled at this stage).
- Privacy Features – privacy is, as it should always be, at the forefront of the public eye these days and Google are looking to head off any issues at the pass with new privacy features. New features include Scoped Storage which gives apps the ability to access data within their own sandboxes. Scoped storage will require new permissions to access shared data such as photos, videos, audio and downloads. Apps that would use Scoped Storage include photo and video galleria, media browsing and document storage apps.
- Enhancements for foldables – Google obviously thinks that foldables are here to stay with new support for foldables in the Android Q beta 2. Alongside the new beta Google have released an emulator for foldable devices in the Android Studio. Foldables are all about multitasking and as such Google have made improvements to onResume and onPause to support multi-resume and notify when an app is focused upon. The resizeableActivity has also changed and can be used to “help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens”.
- New swipe left Navigation gesture – Google have introduced a new swipe left gesture to the controversial navigation gestures. Swiping left and right allows you to now switch back and forward between apps but the swipe left gesture seems be a bit inconsistent at this stage.
- Swipe directions for notifications – you can now change which way you swipe to dismiss a notification and show menu.
- A new share menu is now available.
- There are quite a few other cosmetic changes including changes to the volume overlay, the media playing notification and the always on display.
The new beta is available now for full download for all pixel devices and the Android Emulator. TO get onboard the beta enrol your device at the beta website and you will get the notoifcation of a new update very soon. For those already on the Android Q beta OTAs are rolling out but if you head into your settings and hit the Check for update button you will be greeted with an OTA to install and enjoy.
As always this is a beta program so feedback is encouraged. Remember some users may find this not acceptable for day to day use but as someone who has used it for a few weeks now there doesn’t seem to be many bugs affecting my daily usage. If you are interested hit the links above and get an early preview of what Android Q will bring later this year.