As more and more phones finally begin receiving upgrades to Android Pie, Google is already looking to the future of Android and this year’s major upgrade. Today, we’re seeing results of the company’s efforts in the form of the very first Android Q beta.
Not much is known about Android Q as of yet, but a leaked build of the OS that made its way to a few tech reporters gives us a glimpse at what we can expect.
For starters, Android Q will come with a system-wide dark mode. Everything from the apps to the notification center to the settings interface will receive the dark theme treatment, something users of Android have been begging for for years. There will even be a developer option to force apps to switch to a dark mode if you absolutely don’t want a bright, white UI anywhere on your phone.
Much like last year and every year before that, Google will also be introducing new privacy options with Android Q. With the new OS, Google will revamp the entire permissions panel within the Settings app to allow actions such as restricting certain permissions while apps are open, viewing active permissions, and quick actions to take on apps you might want to uninstall or force stop. Obviously, there are also under-the-hood security improvements to better safeguard you against malicious attacks.
Another noticeable change: Google could get rid of the back button entirely. Code leaked a few weeks ago that hinted at the omission of the virtual key in the navigation bar, but it’s not clear if Google ultimately decided to leave it out. We’ll let you know when we know more.
There are also plenty of smaller changes in Android Q worth noting. There’s a tweaked Always-on display, a new accessibility screen, a screen recorder for gamers, a new UI for app installations, and even a potential desktop mode similar to DeX found on Samsung phones.
Of course, we have to disclose we can’t confirm any of these suspicions until we give the software a try for ourselves. I’ll be installing the Android Q beta on my Pixel 3 XL later today and will report back with any features I left out in this article.
Luckily, if you want to take part in the beta program for Q, there’s a greater chance this time around your device will be supported. Last year, Google said devices from Essential, Nokia, OnePlus, Oppo, Sony, Vivo, and Xiaomi would support the Android P beta program, and they did. This time around, though, more manufacturers will be added to that list. It’s unclear which OEMs will be added, though, so stay tuned.
We’ll update this article with links to where you can install the first beta as soon as they’re live. In theory, the first phones to support Android Q should be the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3 XL. In other words, they have the best chance of getting the software today, opposed to a few days or weeks down the line.