Google has officially rolled out Android Q Beta 1 starting today for Pixel phones including the first generation Pixel devices. This is perfectly in-line with what was reported on March 11 about the possible announcement of Android Q Beta 1. If you look at the track record of the last 3 years, Google has consistently released first beta versions of Android in March. Not only does it make the app developer happy, but Google itself also gets a pretty good time to fix the bugs and listen to user feedback.
As far as Android Q is concerned, Google is planning to release 6 beta versions as shown in the timeline below –
The final release, which would possibly be a public release is expected to be rolled out in the 3rd quarter of 2019. Based on this timeline, we are expecting one beta release every month for the next 3 months. Now that the plan is laid out, let’s look at what is new in the Android Q Beta 1.
Android Q Beta 1: What’s New?
Let’s start with the dark mode which has been in the headline since last few months.
System-wide Dark Mode
Google has brought dark mode to the Settings and Photos app. The dark layout does look outstanding in the Settings app but it is pretty messed up in the Photos app. What is not welcomed is the inability to select the mode which we know is temporary. The option to switch back to the light mode is unavailable in the first beta and if you’re planning to update your phone, you should think twice. While some expected dark mode to be grayish in color, I’m absolutely loving it.
Accent Color and Icon Shapes
Is it about time to have this level of customization in-built? That’s what it seems like. Android Q Beta 1 gives more control over the accent color and the shape of the icon. Until now, this was partly possible either through a custom ROM or different launcher. While the options are limited, it is certainly a welcome move. In the first beta, you and I have the ability to change the accent color to purple, black, green or the default (which is blue). The icons can be shaped in four different styles i.e., teardrop, squircle, rounded rectangle and default which is circular.
Better Control Over Permissions
Google first revamped permission management system in Android Noughat and since then they have been trying to improve it wholeheartedly. The efforts seem to have paid well as I glare at these new permissions control settings. Instead of listing out apps and going into the app from settings to view permissions, you can now first select the permission you’re concerned about.
For example, if you want to see which apps have location permission, it is now fairly easy to just tap it and boom, you have the list. With this overhaul, it is also possible to restrict apps to use permission only when the app is running in the foreground. Sweet, isn’t it?
Android Q – Minor But Important Updates
The estimated time by when the battery dies – Android Q is now showing estimated time by when the battery of the phone will completely dry out. This is being shown just beside the battery percentage icon. Please note that this can only be viewed if you’ve enabled battery percentage in the settings.
Sharing WiFi details using QR Code – It is now possible to share the WiFi details with every other smartphone using a QR code. This makes it really easy for those who haven’t changed the default creepy password from their modem.
Native Desktop mode – Call it an unfortunate/fortunate timing or something else but Google moved a number of Engineers from their Chrome OS team. Is there any link to this newly found Native Desktop mode? With this, you will essentially be able to connect your phone via USB-C and emulate full desktop UI of Android. Although this is a work in progress, we think the idea has great potential.
Built-in screen recording – Android Q Beta 1 brings built-in screen recording, one of the most sought after feature by developers to showcase their apps. This is currently buggy but certainly a welcome move.
Rounded corners in screenshots – When I installed Android Q and started taking screenshots, one of the first things that I noticed was rounded corners in the screenshot. In fact, these screenshots are also putting a notch if you take a screenshot on Pixel 3 XL.
Revamped share menu – Google had acknowledged in the past that they were planning to revamp the share menu because of how slow and sluggish it has gotten. They seem to be delivering on that promise. Android Q has a slightly revamped share menu which becomes faster with every use and as it starts caching. We are waiting for more details on how exactly that is working.
Swiping left on notifications – Google has pissed me off with this change. I used to swipe left to dismiss notifications but with Android Q, it will open the snooze menu for notification. I’ll have to start getting used to the swiping right method to dismiss notifications.
Long-press notifications – Long pressing on the notification brings a new intuitive set of options that lets you control notifications. You can either block them, show silently or keep alerting.
Haptic feedback and vibration – Android Q bring haptic feedback for text selection which seemed pretty cool. What’s more subtle is the short vibration when you connect the phone to the charger.
Of course, this is not a complete list of new features that Android Q is bringing. There’s a lot more and I’ll keep updating this post as and when needed.
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