Android Q: What you need to know about the new Android OS and how to get it

Sure, there’s a major phone release right around the corner from Huawei but this week it’s all about the new mobile operating software updates.

Apple has confirmed the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019 date for June 3 where we’ll get a first look at iOS 13, and Google has unveiled the beta programme for its next Android software, Android Q.

Starting with Android Q, here’s what we know so far about the new OS and how to get it.

Android Q: What you need to know

Android likes to name its updates alphabetically, so after last year’s Android P – which became Pie (there’s a dessert theme too), the next update is set to be Android Q.

The beta programme has now launched which is a chance for developers to familiarise themselves with the new changes Google will be implementing. If you have a Pixel phone, you’ll be able to try out these changes too – we’ll tell you how to do a bit further down.

There are a few new features coming to Android Q, though Google will unveil more at its I/O conference in May.

Android Q: New features to look out for

One of the best parts about Android Q is going to be a dark mode. You can access a version of dark mode when you turn on battery saver, such as a dark keyboard. Apple introduced a dark mode for its MacOS software last year, and Twitter has been playing around with a dark mode for it desktop version, having had that in its mobile app for a while.

Dark mode is supposed to help you focus more – minimising the white spaces around you and ensuring you concentrate on the task at hand. Having a full dark mode option via Android Q is going to be very interesting indeed.

Google is also making changes to location data. Usually apps only have two options when it comes to location: they either get it all of the time or not at all, unlike Apple’s iOS which lets you control this so apps only access your location data when you’re actually using it, say on Maps to find somewhere or on Uber when you call a car.

Google is finally adding an option for location access only when that particular app is in use – this is really important given the company ran into trouble last year for collecting user location data when people told it not to.

A final new feature to note is an estimation of remaining battery life. Speaking for the Pixel 3 XL, it actually doesn’t have a great battery life, particularly when you compare it to the mega battery on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

In Android Q beta, if you pull down the settings at the top, the battery percentage icon will change to tell you how long it estimates the battery has left. This will be probably utilise DeepMind’s AI tech, integrated during Android Pie, which analyses how much battery you have left and adapts your phone to make it last longer.

As well, there’s going to be a new Dynamic Depth image feature, which will turn the pictures you take in apps, such as Instagram, into comprehensive shots with specialised blurs and bokeh options. This looks very cool.

How to download Android Q now

Can’t wait until August to get Android Q? If you have a Pixel phone, you can download it now. Keep in mind that it will be a little bit buggy and probably have some issues as it’s still a beta programme, but if you’re excited to try the now features, go ahead.

To sign up for the beta programme, you can enrol here via Google.com/android/beta. Then your device will do an over-the-air update like when you download a normal OS update.

Alternatively, you can download system images for Pixel devices, though that is a little more complicated.

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