Google outs first Android 14 preview to test drive the new features on Pixels
Google released the Android 14 Developer Preview (DP) to test drive on your Pixel 7, Pixel 6, and Pixel 5 series phone, down to the lowly Pixel 4a even. As usual the release timeframe forecasts another DP edition in March, then a few betas until the summer when more stable and feature-complete versions will be released until the final Android 14 release in the fall.
Android 14 release timeframe
So, what's new in Android 14?
New Android 14 features
Speaking of new Android 14 features, as usual in the Developer Preview stage, there aren't many user-facing ones, but rather deep under-the-hood changes that bring interface speed and power-draw optimizations, as well as security and privacy upgrades. Still, there is one biggie one it comes to new Android 14 feature that you will immediately notice.
System fonts grow larger
Google calls this new Android 14 option "bigger fonts with non-linear scaling," which is exactly what it says on the tin. Android phone owners will be able to boost the size of the system fonts twofold, rather than the 130% threshold available now.
It's understandable given that the screens are getting ever larger, and now we have foldables north of the 7-inch diagonal with small font being hard to read. Needless to say, Google doesn't just boost the Android 14 font size in a way worthy of the best phones for seniors ranking, but rather applies smart "non-linear" scaling to grow text with fonts already large enough less than the smaller text that gets an increase in size.
Non-linear font scaling in Android 14
"Android supports font scaling up to 200%, providing low-vision users with additional accessibility options that align with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)," is how Google explains the drive to provide the new larger font scaling in Android 14.
Battery life and performance
Through a clever mix of background process streamlining and delivering actionable queries to apps only when they are out of a cached state, Android 14 will optimize the mobile OS system's overall performance and present less of a power draw from unneeded processes.
In addition, apps that don't require strict timing schedule like clocks or calendars, won't be able to constantly probe for resources by setting exact alarms without the user's permission explicitly granted.
Adapting to foreign language
With Android 14, several foreign language optimizations address the device accessibility department by adapting the text to reflect non-English speaking peculiarities such as personalized translations accounting for the grammatical genders that exist in other languages.
Another great locale adaptation addition to Android 14 is the ability to dynamically update the set of foreign languages in an app's settings to display what reflects the region and even customize the keyboard based on the interface language that the app is shown in.
Security and privacy
Down on the system level, Android 14 will include several new malware-fighting features that plug known exploits by blocking app installations or only allow them if they meet certain criteria.
Dynamically loaded applications that can be changed by injecting code in the process will be marked to be read-only in Android 14 in order to close another door for the installation of malware and various exploits.
Android 14 release date
- Android 14 Beta: April 2023
- Final Android 14 release build: October-November 2023
How to install Android 14 Developer Preview on Pixel phones
- Flash an Android 14 system image on a Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, or Pixel 4a (5G) phone.
- Install the 64-bit Android 14 system images with the Android Emulator in Android Studio.
Things that are NOT allowed: