Google Announces Android Q Beta: Faster Apps, Privacy Boosts, and More

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Like clockwork, Google's released the first beta version of its mobile operating system, Android Q, for developers.

But in the official Android Q Beta announcement post, Google's VP of Engineering, Dave Burke, revealed that support for the update had been extended to the original Pixel series due to "popular demand".

There are several other changes, including better support for sharing between applications, improved MIDI support, tighter integration with the Vulcan graphics API, faster application launching and more.

Here's a closer look at what this Android Q release delivers, how to get it, and when we can expect additional updates. As part of its work in Project Strobe, Google is adding a number of new privacy and security features to Android Q. These include more control over when apps can get your location information, more control over apps' ability to access private data like photos and videos, and a new blocker on apps launching foreground activities from a background task (which often interrupts what you're now doing in another app).

Android Q is also adding Settings Panels to help you quickly enable a specific setting that an app needs.

Android Q also comes with hardened privacy protections that'll give users more control over when apps access their location; you can choose to only let an app access your location when it's in use as opposed to always or never. Apps will be able to request special JPEG metadata to create 3D depth maps using Google algorithms.

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That's right, notches and screen corners now appear in Android Q screenshots. For example, Chrome could show shortcut buttons for adjusting settings like WiFi, airplane mode, and data without you needing to go into the Settings app.

Apps will be able to show key system settings in their own context, not having to point you to a specific part of Settings and then hope you keep in mind to go back once you've enabled whichever option the app needed.

Developers will be able to publish targets in the Sharing Shortcuts interface in advance, which allows them to load instantly when launched by a user. Google has a beta program that lets you update via a simple OTA.

Android Q is a beta and as such, it's likely buggy. There will be a high-performance mode with low latency so that users can take advantage of stutter-free Wi-Fi connectivity while playing games, video and voice calls.

Android Q provides more support for passive authentication like face ID.