Google is focusing on three key areas for the next Android release, Android Q: innovation, security and privacy and digital wellbeing.
Android Q Beta is available for 21 devices from 13 brands, including all Pixel phones. Here is what Google shared about the new mobile OS at Google I/O.
Android Q is designed to support the potential of foldable devices—from multi-tasking to adapting to different screen dimensions as you unfold the phone. And as the first operating system to support 5G, Android Q offers app developers tools to build for faster connectivity.
Google is also seeing many firsts in software driven by on-device machine learning. One of these features is Live Caption. For 466 million deaf and hard of hearing people around the world, captions make content more accessible. With a single tap, Live Caption will automatically caption media that’s playing audio on your phone. Live Caption works with videos, podcasts and audio messages, across any app—even stuff you record yourself. As soon as speech is detected, captions will appear, without ever needing Wifi or cell phone data, and without any audio or captions leaving your phone.
On-device machine learning also powers Smart Reply, which is now built into the notification system in Android, allowing any messaging app to suggest replies in notifications. Smart Reply will now also intelligently predict your next action—for example, if someone sends you an address, you can just tap to open that address in Maps.
Security and privacy
Android Q includes almost 50 new features and changes focused on security and privacy. For example, Google created a dedicated Privacy section under Settings, where you’ll find important controls in one place. Under Settings, you’ll also find a new Location section that gives you more transparency and granular control over the location data you share with apps. You can now choose to share location data with apps only while they’re in use. Plus, you’ll receive reminders when an app has your location in the background, so you can decide whether or not to continue sharing. Android Q also provides protections for other sensitive device information, like serial numbers.
Finally, Google is introducing a way for you to get the latest security and privacy updates, faster. With Android Q, Google will update important OS components in the background, similar to the way we update apps. This means that you can get the latest security fixes, privacy enhancements and consistency improvements as soon as they’re available, without having to reboot your phone.
Google's Digital Wellbeing tools help you take better control of your phone usage. This year, Google is going even further with new features like Focus mode, which is designed to help you focus without distraction. You can select the apps you find distracting—such as email or the news—and silence them until you come out of Focus mode. And to help children and families find a better balance with technology, Google is making Family Link part of every device that has Digital Wellbeing (starting with Android Q), plus adding top-requested features like bonus time and the ability to set app-specific time limits.
Android Q also brings many more new features to your smartphone, from a new gesture-based navigation to Dark Theme to streaming media to hearing aids using Bluetooth LE.