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Android Q rumors, features, and release date: all we know so far

Posted: , by Nick Todorov Nick Todorov

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Android Q rumors, features, and release date: all we know so far
It was all the way back in 2008 when the first Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream), hit the shelves. At that time, Google's software still lacked essentials we take for granted nowadays – including an on-screen keyboard, rich notifications, video recording, and multitouch gestures – but it paved the way for a whole new ecosystem to emerge. Android is now the most popular mobile OS in the world and the only real alternative to Apple's iOS in the space. 

In 2019, Google is expected to unveil the 10th major Android release. We're still months away from the announcement of Android 10, but thanks to leaks and rumors, we already have a clear idea of what to expect from it. Here's a quick rundown of the Android Q features and improvements Google could be working on. But first... 

Android Q name: what is it going to be called?

For the past 10 years, major Android releases have all had a nickname. This has always been the name of a sweet treat, and all names since that of Android 1.5 Cupcake have been picked in alphabetical order. Android 9.0 Pie is the latest version of the OS, meaning that Android 10 Q is coming next. And indeed, leaks indicate that development of "Android Q" is underway, but what is its sweet name going to be? Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure, and nobody has a good guess either. After all, Android 10 Qurabiya or Queijadinha (pictured below) doesn't quite roll off the tongue, as sweet as these pastries may be. So let's leave naming Android 10 to Google for now and move on to the leaks and features.

Android Q Dark Mode

The likeliness of Android Q arriving with a Dark Mode option seem high – and not only because Google has been experimenting with dark themes in its Android apps, including Chrome and YouTube, for some time. The guys over at XDA Developers managed to get an early build of Android Q running on a Pixel 3, and in Display Settings, they found a dark theme option. The setting affected not only various UI elements, such as the backgrounds in the app drawer and the notifications panel, but also stock apps like Messages and Phone. The dark theme could be either activated manually or scheduled to turn on and off automatically.   

It goes without saying that a dark mode is much easier on the eyes than a light one, especially at night. Another well-known benefit is that it reduces the power consumption of AMOLED screens; the darker each OLED pixel is, the less power it draws.

Desktop Mode in Android Q?

Curiously, the XDA Developers team also stumbled upon a "Force Desktop Mode" option in Android Q's Developer Settings. This didn't do anything during their testing, but it hints at a possibility of Android adopting a mode similar to the Samsung DeX experience, where a phone can be used as a desktop computer when connected to an external monitor and keyboard. Or it could be something completely different. We hope to find out soon.

Permissions overhaul in Android Q 

Permission management is a necessary evil, as it gives users control over their privacy. Many changes to the way the OS handles permissions were spotted in the aforementioned Android Q build, including the option for apps to access a sensor or feature only while actively used. In other words, you may have an app like Facebook Messenger access your location or microphone only while on the screen. Another welcome tweak is that if an app is accessing your micropone or location, for example, its name will appear up in the Android status panel. And if you open the Permissions screen for an app, a new screen will provide details as to how many times it has been granted access to a certain permission. 

Native support for foldable devices

The addition of this feature is no rumor. Back in November of last year, Google officially announced that it will fully integrate support for foldable and dual-screen devices into Android Q. This is expected to add a sense of continuity to the experience. Imagine having a foldable phone and tapping on a YouTube video while it's folded, then unfolding the device resuming playback on the bigger screen.

Additional Android Q features

  • Extending carrier control over network access. Leaks indicate that with Android Q, carriers may gain more control over which networks a phone can and cannot connect to. Dual-SIM phones may be also affected by being more easily locked down to a particular network. 
  • A Sensors Off button. The option to disable a phone's sensors and network connections was spotted in the Android Q build we mentioned earlier. However, its purpose remains unclear. We won't be surprised if this is merely there to ease developers in their work. 

Android Q release date and announcement

Since last year, Android 9.0 Pie was first shown during I/O, Google's annual developer conference, it is safe to assume that Android 10 Q may be announced at I/O 2019. Dates for this year's event haven't been confirmed, but most previous I/O conferences have occurred in May. Naturally, the Android 10 release date isn't known either, but it is likely to launch towards the end of 2019, probably along a new generation of Pixel phones. 


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