Google this week officially announced the first beta of Android 10 Q available for their Pixel devices. The Beta 1 is one of six scheduled beta releases before the official version comes out sometime in Q3 this year. Android Q brings some UI changes and quite a few novelties under the hood, and also a dark mode whose activation Google made complicated in Beta 1, for whatever reason.
The UI changes include options to set up accent colors and fonts in developer settings. This is something most devices have for ages, and with the Q update this feature will be natively supported. In Beta 1 the theming section is in Developer options, but hopefully it will be available as part of the regular settings in the end. The sharing menu also got visual improvements and in the status bar the estimated battery life is shown.
For some reason, Google decided to include the notch and rounded corners on screenshots on devices that have the notch and rounded corners. It not only looks silly, but also raises the question who approved such an implementation and more importantly – why?
A new interesting feature is sharing WiFi via QR codes, which is much better than changing the password to some simple number array to make the network easier for sharing. Apps will now be able to ask users for permission to use location all the time, only when the app is running or never. The Settings Panel API will use more of the Android Slices feature, allowing developers to natively display pop-ups for WiFi, Bluetooth or location inside their apps, instead of re-directing users to settings.
More technical aspect of Q1 Beta includes support for AV1 video codec, require apps that target Android Q and above to use public APIs instead of private, MediaCodecInfo API that allows easier device screen specs identification for better media targeting and new Neural Network API 1.2 for more AI and machine learning features for developers. New camera features are there as well, as Dynamic Depth format for pictures, which allows creation of depth maps – something HMD does on Nokia 9 PV.
Maybe the most interesting new feature is the dark theme, that can be activated only when using battery saver. XDADevelopers have a way to make it active all the time, and if you have a Pixel and want the dark theme always on, check the method here. I really hope that until final release Google will implement a proper dark theme and return to normal-looking screenshots.
The Beta 1 is only available for Pixel Devices. More info about Q will be released in May at Google I/O annual developer conference. If and when some Nokia phone will be included in Android Q beta is unknown. Considering HMD’s close relationship with Google, it’s very likely that Nokia smartphones will be a part of the beta program.
If you wonder when your device will receive the official Android Q, no one on the planet can tell you that because the final version of Q doesn’t exist, and until Google publishes the AOSP version of Q (sometime during the summer), no manufacturer can really start implementing the new version across their portfolio. The ones in beta program will have a small head start, but the exact date for anything official is unknown.
In terms of Android Pie, just three Nokia smartphones are expecting the rollout of Pie (the Nokia 1, 3 and 5.1), and HMD Global will for sure have the whole portfolio (except Nokia 2) on Android Pie before Android Q is officially released, which is a great job in that regard.