Android 10 or Android Q is the latest version of the Android Mobile Operating System released by Google on September 3rd, 2019. It is going to be launched first as updates to all the Google Phones including the original Pixel and Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL. The Android 10 update brings a ton of new features, which Google has listed on its official page for the new software. Go through the following summary if you don’t want to go through the whole article. Let’s check out the new Android 10 features.

Android 10 features explained

Highlights of Article

  • Naming customs: Android 10 or Android Q is the latest version of Android. All the Android versions until Android 9 were named after popular desserts starting from Android version 1.5 which had the code name Android Cupcake. All the versions that followed had names of desserts as their code name. It included Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo, and Pie. The versions from Android 10 would have names like Android 11, Android 12, etc. This decision was made since no desserts starting with Q are available.
  • Availability: The public version of Android 10 was released on September 3, 2019. As usual, it was initially available as an update on all of the Google phones like the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Google Pixel 3 XL, Google Pixel 3A, Google Pixel 3A XL. Other major companies like Samsung, One Plus, etc are expected to release their OEMs ( Original Equipment Manufacturer) soon. The entire update process could be completed by the year 2020.
  • New Features: A dark theme for the entire phone including the settings page is an exciting new feature included in Android 10. Permissions for apps and privacy, in general, are given more importance than ever before with better controls. Gesture handles are being tested for Google Assistant. It also has come out with some other exciting Android 10 features as well.

New Features of Android 10

Android 10 has improved control settings for the permissions given for apps and your privacy, in general, is given more importance than ever before. It provides more ways to customize your settings. Let us take a look at the highlights of the Android 10 version.

Live Caption

A unique new feature added to Android 10 is the Live caption option that will automatically put captions over any media playing on your phone. This includes video and audio and the captioning is done in real-time. The impressive thing about this feature is that you will be able to pull this off with a single tap and without the phone connected to the internet. Android 10 uses speech recognition and Natural Processing techniques to dish out the captions in real-time.

How accurate would the captions be? We would have to wait and see. This feature works on offline videos, podcasts, and even any audio messages. Imagining sitting in a classroom and getting an audio message on your WhatsApp. Think about how useful this feature would be. This feature was announced in the annual Google developer conference in 2019See more about this feature from the video below from the Android’s official youtube channel.

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Smart Reply

Another interesting new feature of the Android 10 has to do with messages. To be more specific, Android 10 has ‘smart’ replying techniques installed. Previously, messaging services had some pre-recorded responses which had to be chosen for each message. But now, with Android 10, the messaging service would recommend appropriate actions as responses. Suppose someone asks you to go out for a movie, the messaging service would suggest you reply a thumbs-up emoji. Android 10 is smart enough to decode the message and understand the content and it will also transfer to Google Maps to show routes and traffic. Personally, it is a scary feature that the machine can understand human communication and react appropriately. Who knows what the future has in hold for us.

Sound Amplifier

Sound Amplifier is yet another feature or a new accessibility service built into the Android 10 operating system. Android 10 has a new Dynamics Processing Effect in the Audio Framework. The Sound Amplifier is the newest addition to the Accessibility service which is used to indicate the potential of this effect. It elevates the relevant audio from the noise.

The Sound Amplifier is supposed to work smoothly in the poorest of acoustic conditions so that you have a better audio experience. It employs a flexible Application Programming Interface which can be used to regulate the frequency response and dynamic range of an audio file. The Dynamic Processing feature renders amazing audio post-processing. This powerful feature allows a developer to do all these just like a professional sound engineer.

The Sound Amplifier has a multistage processing architecture. It features dual multi-band equalizers, multi-band compression, and a linked limiter. Learn more about the Sound Amplifier from the Android team themselves below. The video below shows a live demo from Google I/O 2018.

Gesture Navigation

A new feature of the Android 10 that I am not very enthusiastic about is the gesture navigation. You can swipe backward and forward to switch between screens. You can also pull up the home screen. As per the reports, apps on Android 10 are allowed to partially block this feature. At the moment the new Android version has an exclusion limit. This limit applies to the backward gesture.

A drawback of this gesture that may trouble the users is that they may accidentally close an app despite the limit. This can especially happen during gaming which may lead to the game being closed while playing. They might have some tweaks and fixes for this feature shortly but I am not entirely convinced with the purpose of this feature. I was happy with the previous three-button navigation system on Android. They probably added this new feature to keep up with a similar feature on iOS phones. But because Android is run on multiple OEMs, it will be no surprise o me if this feature becomes broken in some phones.

Dark theme

Dark theme for the entire phone including settings is a new feature I am excited about. It not only makes it easier on your eyes but also saves a lot of battery life. Back in the day, the dark theme was a thing from Android versions 2.3 to 4.4. They took this feature off Android from the Lollipop version in 2014 and have now bought it back.

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You can apply the dark theme for Android 10 in two different ways. Both the methods are through the notification area.

  1. In the first method, simply switch on the dark theme with a dedicated button placed in the notification shade. If you want to go back to the normal light mode press it again.
  2. The other method is via the ‘ Battery Save Mode’. Switching on the battery save mode will trigger the Dark theme automatically. If your phones have AMOLED display instead of IPS, this dark theme is a major plus for your battery. The OLED display will turn off the area which turned black due to dark mode. Since fewer pixels absorb the power, more battery life for your phone.

Now even Google Maps, Gmail, Google Photos and Calendar will all have dark modes. This is a feature that everyone had been waiting for it seems from the time it was announced as can be seen from the comments of the following video.

No Android Beam

Android 10 won’t be using Android Beam which was used by the previous versions to transfer files between nearby devices. Nowadays contactless payment services using NFC like Samsung Pay, Google Pay, etc are the norm. But back in the day, Android Beam was the sole purpose of NFC existing in your Android phones. It came about from Android version 4.1 and allowed users to transfer images, contacts, etc by placing the phone near to each other or on top of one another. The main reason for scrapping this feature is that it cannot transfer large files. Since the internet is much cheaper and faster these days, no one even uses Bluetooth anymore. Smaller files can be transferred using messaging apps like Whatsapp and Telegram. So it is pretty pointless to carry on with this outdated technology.

Ensuring better privacy from Apps

App developers have over the ears have begun to trick the users to reveal more privacy-related information than they were allowed to by the permissions they were given in the first place. A recent inquiry into the matter has revealed that over 1000 apps on the playstore have been acquiring information from the users without their permission.

For example, even if you deny permissions for the app to know your location, some apps went out of their ways to gather the information from image metadata, MAC address, etc. In Android 10, these issues are supposedly rectified. Users will be allowed to look into a list of apps that you gave permissions to access particular information. You can search and filter to get the names of all apps that have access to your contacts, location, etc.

You can change all privacy settings together

 

 

Web and App activity is now available in settings.

 

 

You can change location access to apps.

 

You can choose not to get personalized ads.

Multitasking

Foldable support

Android 10 is preparing for the next generation foldable phones in the market. It will focus on the multitasking features offered by foldable phones. For example, you will be able to watch a movie and use Instagram simultaneously in parallel. The foldable phone revolution is still in the fetus stage. With Android 10 supporting this new user interface, more companies are expected to follow Samsung and their Galaxy Fold model.

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Bubbles

Android 10 has another method for supporting the multitasking feature. They have decided to utilize the bubbles feature used by facebook messenger for multitasking. The app would be minimized and dragged to a corner of the screen as a small bubble while continuing with another app. It is expected to be seen in the Google messaging apps soon. Other apps on the playstore are also expected to follow this and bring out floating bubbles feature in their UI. Check out the video below to know more about this feature.

Scoped Storage

While designing an app, the developers decide the limits or the environments where a particular code, should be restricted to or can be executed in.  This process is termed as Application Sandboxing in the field of Mobile Application Management. Android 10 takes it to the next level by taking the basics of this process to introduce Scoped Storage.

Scoped Storage provides more power and control when it comes to apps. All the apps will only have scoped storage meaning they are restricted outside the environments they operate in providing the users with more privacy to their data. As said before, this method will prevent apps from snooping in on your location, IMEI number, etc.

Project Mainline: security updates in the background

Project Mainline is the term used to denote a new feature about how you receive updates from Google playstore rather than the traditional updates from your OEMs. These updates will be downloaded in the background and will update the OS after rebooting. So you don’t have to wait for OEM updates all the time. Unlike the traditional updates that come in a bulk, the project mainline focuses on smaller update packages focusing on particular segments of the OS. This will keep your OS fresh as updates are expected to roll out more frequently than with the rate you are used to receiving from OEMs. According to the reports, these updates from Google Playstore will focus more to keep the device security and the user’s privacy in check.

5G Support

With 5G aiming to become the norm all over the world from the start of the next decade, Android 10 also varies from the changes occurring in the telecom world. The Application Programming Interface in Android 10 will make the apps more flexible in using the user’s data as they would get info on speed, latency, etc.

Conclusion

All in all Android Q has some cool and unique features rivaling those in Apple iOS. I am looking forward to the features like the dark theme. How the new features would hold up, whether any bugs would pop up, we will have to wait and see. The new update features through Google Play is also something interesting to look forward to.

 

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