In keeping with its pattern of a March release for the last several years, Google has as of this afternoon launched the first developer preview of the next major version of Android — giving developers and early adopters a look at what’s coming via a beta that’s being made available for even more devices this time around.
Developers can get started right now by enrolling any Pixel device, including the original Pixel and Pixel XL, and the beta is available now for download at https://www.google.com/android/beta.
The company walks through in a just-published blog post some of the myriad changes and tweaks coming with this next version of Android, including new security and privacy protections, more location controls, support for foldable screens and more.
“As the mobile ecosystem evolves, Android is focused on helping users take advantage of the latest innovations, while making sure users’ security and privacy are always a top priority,” the company explains in its note. “Building on top of efforts like Google Play Protect and runtime permissions, Android Q brings a number of additional privacy and security features for users,” as well as a host of others that are likewise included in the update.
The new version of the OS gives users more control over location permission. In prior versions of Android, apps could only get your location when they ask for permission and the users grants it. Android Q lets users set their location permissions to never, only when the app is in use or all the time.
Speaking of control, Google’s blog post today notes that Android Q gives users more control over things like access to shared files. “Users will be able to control apps’ access to the Photos and Videos or the Audio collections via new runtime permissions,” the post explains. “For Downloads, apps must use the system file picker, which allows the user to decide which Download files the app can access.”
“Sharing Shortcuts” in Android Q also makes it easier to share content like a photo withs someone in another app. With the new OS, developers can publish share targets that launch a specific activity in their apps with content attached.
There are tons of other updates and tweaks the new OS brings, including the ability for media providers to stream high quality video content to Android devices using less bandwidth than before. Head here for the full rundown.