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Google shows off Android Q


Google Android Q dark theme Image: Supplied

Google's Android Q will add dark themes, more foldable device support and new privacy features.

Android Q was always going to be a big part of Google's I/O 2019 keynote presentation overnight, and the search giant announced a number of key new features, and a whole raft of devices that will be able to be part of the Android Q beta program today.

Foldable devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X will (whenever they do eventually launch) have new features built into their Android Q software.

Android Q will be 5G compatible – that's not exactly news – but Google claims more than a dozen OEMs will launch 5G-compatible devices with Android Q.
Google's new Live Caption feature built into Android Q will enable automatic captioning. You're probably already familiar with the way YouTube adds generated captions to a video, but Live Captions allows for real-time captioning, even of a live video. It's pitched both at those with hearing impairments and those who simply can't have volume onboard.

Impressively, it'll be an on-device feature with no data usage required. Google's demo used a phone running in Airplane mode to show this off. Google's claim is that the speech model only requires 80MB, and it's across the entire Android Q operating system.

Android Q will also predict responses across messaging apps, whether you typically reply with text or emoji. Again, this is an on-device feature using machine learning.

For fans of less eye strain, or those looking to save a little battery life, Android Q will also launch with a dark theme option on board.

Google is also aware that it's under a privacy microscope, so it's also building in new security and privacy features on board Android Q.

Android Q will make it easier to manage your privacy with positioning at the top level of your settings. Android Q will remind you when apps access your location on an ongoing basis, so you can decide when to share your location – or when to switch it off. You'll also be able to check the location settings access across all apps in a more simple way.

Google is also promising security updates directly over the air for individual security updates. Google's claim is that they'll be available immediately for devices and without a system reboot.

Google already has a suite of Digital Wellbeing tools on Android, and it will add to these with a new "Focus mode", which will allow you to select apps that persistently distract you. Apps that are put in Focus Mode won't disturb while Focus mode is on, and it will be a feature of both Android Q and Android P later this year.

Parental controls will also be a part of Digital Wellbeing, so setting up a phone for a child will enable you to connect to your phone, track their usage and set time limits on specific apps. You'll also be able to add "bonus time" if they're behaving for specific apps... or to finish off that one last boss.

The Android Q beta 3 will be available for 21 devices, including all Pixel phones. Here's the full list of supported devices for the Android Q beta 3 release:

  • Google Pixel/XL
  • Google Pixel 2/XL
  • Google Pixel 3/XL
  • Asus ZenFone 5Z
  • Essential PH-1
  • HMD Global Nokia 8.1
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
  • LG G8 ThinQ
  • OnePlus 6T
  • Oppo Reno
  • Realme 3 Pro
  • Sony Xperia XZ3
  • Tecno Spark 3Pro
  • Vivo X27
  • Vivo NEX S
  • Vivo NEX A
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
  • Xiaomi Mi 9

Relatively few of those devices are officially available in Australia right now, and it's not a guarantee that those devices will see full Android Q all that rapidly at release time – excluding Google's own Pixel devices, of course.

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