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  1. Google has once again shifted its target API level requirement for all apps submitted to Google Play. Since August 3, 2020, all new apps submitted to Google Play were required to target at least Android 10. Starting today, all updates to existing apps must target Android 10 (API level 29) or higher. The search giant made similar changes at the end of last year and has been requiring Android app developers to target newer API levels since 2017. Since its stable release in September of 2019, Android 10’s distribution has grown steadily, with the operating system running on 100 million devices just 5 months post-launch. As of April of 2020, Android 10 was running on 8.2% of all Google-certified devices, though that percentage has likely gone up significantly in the last few months because Google has requirements on the OS version that new devices can launch with. Source: Google When you take a look at the many new APIs available in Android 10, you start to realize how important the release is. Some of the notable APIs include support for foldable devices, support for 5G, support for Dark Theme, and improved privacy features. Most developers by now have likely adapted their apps to target Android 10 or higher, but any developer that hasn’t must now comply with Google’s rules or risk abandoning their software, which ultimately leaves consumers in a lurch. By requiring app developers to target last year’s release of Android, Google is hoping to encourage the adoption of new APIs, thus providing users with an improved experience. Earlier versions of Android are still more prevalent than more recent releases, but with initiatives like Project Treble, Google is slowly closing the fragmentation gap and making it easier for OEMs to update their devices. It will eventually be the same story next year when Google will require that developers target Android 11 (API level 30), which is the most recent release. Source
  2. Android 10 has the fastest update rate ever, hits 16% of users in 10 months Google's next target? Linux kernel portability and modularity. Enlarge / Google's Android adoption chart. Android 10's "300 day" mark was 10 days ago. Google Google today dropped a blog post detailing its progress on improving the Android ecosystem's update speed. The company has been hard at work for the past few years modularizing Android, with the hope that making Android easier to update would result in device manufacturers pushing out updates faster. Google's efforts have been paying off, with the company announcing Android 10 has had the fastest rollout ever. The last few versions of Android have each brought a major improvement to Android's update system. Android 8 introduced Project Treble, which separated the OS from the hardware support, enabling easier porting of Android across devices. In Android 9 Pie, Google completed its work on Treble and started publishing Generic System Images (GSIs): drop-in versions of Android that work on any Project Treble-compatible device. Android 10 introduced Project Mainline and the new APEX file type designed for updatable lower-level system components, delivered through the Play Store. Google's stats show that all this work is actually improving the ecosystem. "Thanks to these efforts," Google writes, "the adoption of Android 10 has been faster than any previous versions of Android. Android 10 was running on 100 million devices 5 months post launch—28% faster than Android Pie." At the end of the chart, Android 10 hits 400 million users at the 300-day mark (Android 10 is 310 days old), which sounds like a pretty big number. As of last year though, Google said there were 2.5 billion active Android devices out there, so 400 million users works out to 16 percent of the active Android install base. It's great that adoption is increasing from Oreo to Pie to Android 10, but there's still a lot of room for improvement. The next up: the Linux kernel The next great frontier for Android updates is a more portable Linux kernel, instead of the heavily forked, device-specific Linux kernel that every Android device uniquely spins up today. We last wrote about this project back in late 2019 when the plans to build a "Generic Kernel Image (GKI)" for Android were the first discussed. The goal was a kind of "Project Treble for the Linux kernel." Instead of the fork-happy process that exists today, a portable Generic Kernel Image could be used, and proprietary drivers and code could be loaded as kernel modules, with a stable interface between the two codebases. This was also talked about in conjunction with shipping the mainline Linux kernel instead of an Android-specific Linux, meaning you could run Android on the same kernel you'd get in a Linux desktop. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 6 images. Today Google announced that, in Android 11, the GKI system will be up and running. Google says "In Android 11, we are further isolating common code in the Android Linux kernel to create a Generic Kernel Image (GKI) that works across all Android devices, as well as to enable faster security deployments." The "Android Linux kernel" specifically means "not the mainline Linux kernel," so this is still a fork, but it's integrating a kernel into an Android build, and doing minor security-version updates should be easier now. Today, the Linux kernel gets forked three times before it hits a phone: the LTS release gets forked into the "Android Common" kernel by Google with Android OS-specific changes, then that gets forked into an SoC-specific kernel (usually by Qualcomm), then that gets forked by the device manufacturer into a device-specific kernel. The GKI would take the Android Common kernel—the first fork—and run it on a device. So it's still a fork, but it's less of a fork. XDA's Mishaal Rahman says he's seen the unreleased Android 11 version of the Android Compatibility Definition Document, or CDD, which are the rules all manufacturers must follow in order to license the Google apps. He says that, just like with the Generic System Image, running the Generic Kernel Image will be part of Google's certification process. All Google Play devices wouldn't have to prove they can pass Google's Compatibility Test Suite with an untouched OS and kernel. Presumably, like in the case of the Generic System Image today, manufacturers won't be expected to ship with this generic code, it would just be used as a benchmark for the drivers and other proprietary code that ships with the phone. Presumably, like with the GSI today, modders will have a bonanza with generic Android kernels. Google says to "Stay tuned for a more detailed post on GKI in the coming months." Listing image by Google Android 10 has the fastest update rate ever, hits 16% of users in 10 months (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  3. Android 10: How to easily share Wi-Fi networks using QR code It is very important that one uses a strong Wi-Fi password for their home or office network which is a mix of alphabets and numbers. However, a complex password can become a headache when you have guests over at your place and they want to use your Wi-Fi network. This does not mean you should use a weak Wi-Fi password to avoid such situations though. In other cases, there is a possibility that your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network whose password you don't remember or have access to but would want your friends or family to join it. For such situations, Android 10 introduces a handy option of sharing a Wi-Fi network using QR codes. This QR code can then be scanned by any smartphone to join the Wi-Fi network. The good thing is that this entire process works seamlessly and does not require one to download any third-party app. It even works with iPhones so irrespective of which phone your friends or family members are using, you can use this method to quickly connect them to any Wi-Fi network you want. Wondering how you can share the Wi-Fi network using QR codes with your friends or family in a gathering? Follow the steps below. Step 1: On your smartphone running Android 10, go to Settings -> Network & internet -> Wi-Fi. Depending on which device you are using, the option in the Settings menu might be different. You need to basically go to the Wi-Fi menu screen where all the available and connected Wi-Fi networks are shown. Step 2: Your phone must already be connected to the Wi-Fi network whose password you want to share via QR code. Tap on the Wi-Fi name followed by the Share button. Step 3: A QR code will then be displayed on your phone's screen. Simply open the camera app of another Android device or an iPhone and point it to this QR code. That device will then automatically give you a prompt to join the shared Wi-Fi network. On Pixels and Android One devices, the Wi-Fi password will also be shown at the bottom. On Samsung Galaxy devices though, only the QR code is displayed and not the password. Source: Android 10: How to easily share Wi-Fi networks using QR code (Neowin)
  4. The best Android 10 features to know about Slowly but steadily, Android 10 is making its way to almost all flagship Android devices released in 2019. Samsung has already updated the Galaxy S10 and Note10 to Android 10, with OnePlus, Sony, and Huawei all rolling out the update for their flagship devices as well. Chances are, you are likely struggling to find what new features Android 10 brings to the table after updating your device to it. This is because the update does not really bring any major UI overhaul to the table. Instead, Android 10 is all about a number of small yet important features that greatly help in improving the overall user experience. These features might not seem like a big deal at first, but they can have a great impact on how you use your smartphone on a daily basis. Below is a roundup of some of the top Android 10 features. New Navigation Gestures Google released Android 9.0 Pie with half-baked navigation gestures which were confusing and difficult to use. With Android 10, Google took inspiration from Apple and added a similar navigation gesture to the OS. The new gestures are far more straightforward and intuitive to use, and mark a major step up in terms of usability from the navigation bar as well as the half-baked gestures of Oreo. Here's how the new navigation gestures in Android 10 work: Go Home: Swipe up from the bottom of the display Open Recent Apps View: Swipe up from the bottom and hold Go back: Swipe from the left/right edge Open Google Assistant: Swipe diagonally from the bottom left/right and hold The only issue is that gesture navigation only works with the stock launcher on non-Pixel devices for now. Granular Control Over Location Access Android 10 marks a major step forward in how the OS handles app permissions and location management. It now provides users with an option to only grant location access to an app when it is in use. This way, you can rest assured knowing that an installed app is now shadily tracking you in the background. Image Source: Android Dark mode After years of requests, Google has finally added a native Dark mode to Android. The new dark system theme has been very well done and it ties neatly with system and third-party apps as well. A simple flick of the switch and Dark mode will be enabled not just for the OS, but all your installed apps that feature a dark theme as well. The feature currently lacks a scheduling option, though that's possibly coming in Android 11. Faster Share Menu The Share menu in Android 10 has received a major overhaul making it faster and smarter than before. The share menu now populates the list of installed apps and direct contacts more quickly than before. It will now also show a preview of any content before you share it. Focus mode Building on the Digital Wellbeing feature introduced in Android Oreo, Google has added a new Focus mode in Android 10 to block out all the noise and distractions. If you are getting distracted by an app and just want to focus on the work at hand, use Focus mode. You can use this mode to pause apps while you use your smartphone for other more important work. It is also a great feature to have if you want to get over your addiction to social media apps or games like PUBG. Smart Reply Google has made Android 10 smarter in how it handles notifications from messaging apps. Now, depending on the content of the message received, you will get an action relevant to it. For example, if your friend texts you "Hi," Smart Reply will show "Hi" as a suggested action. The best part is that the feature works with third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal as well. Google Play System Updates With every new release of Android, Google takes a major step forward in making the platform more secure and rolling out quick updates. In Android 10, Google is making it faster and easier to roll out security updates right via Google Play, the same way one installs app updates on their devices. This method will presumably allow Google and OEMs to bypass carrier certification thereby making the entire process of rolling out security updates notably faster. Live Caption This is a major new accessibility feature in Android 10. Live Caption can automatically caption your pre-recorded videos, podcasts, and audio messages. The best part is that all these things happen locally without requiring Wi-Fi or cellular data. New Emoji Who does not like new emoji to better express themselves. Android 10 brings over 236 new emoji and also modifies the existing one to make them more expressive and gender-neutral. Below is an image from Emojipedia showing the new emoji in Android 10: Image Source: Emojipedia There are plenty of other new features in Android 10 that we have not mentioned above including improved notification management, support for devices with foldable displays, improved privacy handling, Family Link, and more. Source: The best Android 10 features to know about (Neowin)
  5. Samsung starts Android 10 update at a record pace: Only three months late International Exynos models get Android 10, but the US will have to wait. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Samsung is starting the slow and arduous process of updating its flagship smartphone to the latest version of Android: Android 10. This is just the beginning of the Android 10 rollout for Samsung, which, according to tracking from SamMobile, starts with Exynos-powered Galaxy S10s in European and Asian countries, including Germany, South Korea, the UK, India, Poland, and Spain. Android 10 came out on September 3, and with the first devices landing the update on November 28, Samsung took 86 days to begin to roll out stable builds of Android 10 across its user base. Samsung still has a long way to go to release Android 10 to everyone with a Galaxy S10, though. Devices in Europe, Africa, and most of Asia ship with a Samsung Exynos SoC, while devices in North America, South America, and China ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. So far, only the Exynos units have gotten the update. If Samsung follows last year's update timing, it will need another 40 days before its devices in the US get the update, which requires both a Qualcomm build of Samsung's software along with approval and "validation" meddling from US carriers. Samsung's direct "unlocked" customers get the worst end of the update stick and typically get the update last. In 2018, unlocked customers had to wait 55 days after the first rollout to get the update. For the record, Samsung's roadmap lists "January" as the Android 10 update timeframe for the Galaxy S10, but that does not specify SoC or carrier concerns. Samsung is actually improving compared to last year. The company took 141 days to first ship the 2018 Android update (Android 9 Pie) to its 2018 flagship, the Galaxy S9. Samsung taking three months to ship an OS update in 2019 might not sound impressive, but for Samsung, it's a big improvement. With recent core OS changes like Project Treble, Google has been making Android easier to update, and it seems like these improvements are even helping Samsung along. Samsung is still the worst major vendor when it comes to Android updates. Google offers day-one updates for the Pixel line, and others like OnePlus now follow close behind with updates that are just a few weeks late. Even if Samsung completes its Android 10 rollout in the next month—which would be a huge improvement—that's still far behind the competition. The whole ecosystem is slowly improving, with Google even putting out a blog post that credits Project Treble with improving update speed. In July 2018, just before Android 9 Pie launched, only 8.9% of the devices were on the previous version, Android 8 Oreo. This year, when Android 10 launched, 22.6% of the ecosystem had made it to the previous version, Android 9 Pie. Samsung likes to style itself as a competitor to Apple, but the company doesn't even attempt to compete with Apple's iPhone support package, which has day-one OS updates and a whopping five years of major OS updates. Samsung takes three to six months to ship an OS update and only does so for two years. Apple's superior support means its phones have a much higher resale value than any Android device, including Samsung's flagships. Samsung can skin Android to add new user-level features and changes, but it typically does not (or cannot) add new system-level APIs, security improvements, or core system changes. For that, it needs Google and major Android updates, and this year Android 10 brings a new gesture navigation system, even more modularization and easier updates with Project Mainline, new notification-panel features like smart replies and focus mode, and new emojis. There are tons of privacy and security changes, like scoped storage, which limits what apps have access to your other app data, more fine-grained privacy controls, and further hardening of the media stack against malicious files. Listing image by Ron Amadeo Source: Samsung starts Android 10 update at a record pace: Only three months late (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  6. Samsung will soon start rolling out the Android 10 + One UI 2.0 update for the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series. While Android 10 itself brings a number of new features, Samsung has also improved its skin and added a number of new features to One UI 2.0. Here’s a look at some of the major new One UI 2.0 features. One UI 2.0 will be making its way to all Samsung devices that will get the Android 10 update. One UI itself was a huge overhaul from Samsung in the UI/UX department and it introduced a polish that was previously missing from the company’s devices. With One UI 2.0, Samsung is further polishing its skin while also adding some useful features to it. The Korean giant is already beta testing One UI 2.0/Android 10 for the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. You can take part in the beta program if you have an eligible device and if the program is live in your country by using the Samsung Members app. Below is a look at some of the major new features of One UI 2.0/Android 10 that you will be able to enjoy once the update lands on your device. Top new features New animations One UI 2.0 comes with new system animations that are far more fluid in nature. The fluid animations finally help in adding a level of smoothness to Samsung’s UI/UX that can rival iOS. The jank that was usually found in Samsung smartphones due to jerky animations is nowhere to be found in One UI 2.0. Right from the new app opening animation to the app switcher one, every new animation has been thoughtfully designed by Samsung and they don’t feel being added just for the sake of it. Compact Quick settings panel While the Quick Settings panel in One UI 2.0 looks the same as it did in its previous iteration, it now has a more compact layout which means it fits more tiles than before. Its functionality and features remain unchanged though. Android 10 navigation gestures Samsung is adding Google’s new Android 10 gestures to One UI 2.0 as well. This is in addition to its own navigation gestures which were also a part of the original One UI/Android 9.0 Pie release. The new Android 10 navigation gestures are more fluid in nature and are more intuitive to use compared to Samsung’s navigation gestures and the half-baked gestures that Google had debuted in Android 9.0 Pie. The catch here is that one can only use the Android 10 navigation gestures in One UI 2.0 with the stock launcher. Those gestures do not work with third-party launchers. The issue was also present on the Pixel 4 initially before Google got around to adding support for third-party launchers. It is likely that the stable release of One UI 2.0/Android 10 will support third-party launchers. Night mode renamed to Dark mode Samsung added a native Dark mode to One UI almost a year before Google got around to adding it with Android 10. For some strange reason though, Samsung called it Night mode instead of Dark mode. With the One UI 2.0 update, Samsung has renamed Night mode to Dark mode, in line with what Google and Apple are calling it. New Device Care UI The Device Care section has received a UI overhaul in One UI 2.0. It now displays all the relevant information in an easy to understand UI. The battery usage screen also has a new UI which gives more insight into app usage and battery usage over a week, though this feature is a part of Android 10. Redesigned Camera app The Camera app has again received a slight redesign as a part of the One UI 2.0 update. Apart from updated UI elements, Samsung now hides all the available camera modes under the More section which gives the app a cleaner look. You do have the option of customizing the list of modes that are shown above the shutter button so you can keep the ones that you tend to use more and hide others. Slow-motion Selfies Taking a cue from Apple’s book, Samsung has added slow-motion video recording support for the front camera in One UI 2.0. This feature is limited to only flagship Galaxy devices like the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series though. Redesigned volume controls The volume controls have also been redesigned in One UI 2.0. They are now sleeker and smaller in size. OneDrive integration in Gallery app When Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 10 series earlier this year, it announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft. As a part of this partnership, Samsung will phase out all its cloud services and switch its users to offerings from Microsoft. Building on that partnership, Samsung is integrating OneDrive with the Gallery app meaning you can automatically backup all your photos to OneDrive. Samsung has rolled out this feature to selected Galaxy Note 10 units running Android 9.0 Pie but a wider rollout will only happen with the One UI 2.0 + Android 10 update. Enhanced Digital Wellbeing This is a feature that's part of the Android 10 update from Google rather than One UI 2.0. Nonetheless, Digital Wellbeing has been further improved with the addition of Focus mode and Wind Down. The former blocks notifications from all apps except the ones selected by you to help avoid distractions. As for Wind Down, it turns the phone's display into greyscale and blocks notifications making it ideal for use before you go to bed. Improved Pro mode in Camera App The Pro camera mode has been improved and now supports opening the shutter for up to 30 seconds. Previously, this was capped at 10 seconds. The maximum ISO limit has also been increased and one can now bump the ISP up to 3200. Sadly, the Pro mode is still limited to the primary camera and does not support the ultra wide-angle or telephoto camera on devices like the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. Samsung is expected to start rolling out the One UI 2.0 + Android 10 update for the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 by the end of this year. One UI 2.0 will also be making its way to older Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, etc. Source: Top features of Samsung's One UI 2.0/Android 10 Update for Galaxy S10 and Note 10 (via Neowin)
  7. If you’re running Android 10, several apps now give you the option to retain app data when you uninstall them. This allows you to reinstall the app at a later time and resume from where you left off. Right now, the feature is not widely available but is available in a couple of apps including WhatsApp. According to Android Police, which was tipped off about the new feature, when you uninstall one of the compatible apps from the home screen or app settings menu a pop-up will appear with a checkbox. The checkbox label will ask if you want to retain the data and it’ll let you know how much storage it’s using up. If you uninstall an app directly from the Play Store, however, you will not be presented with the option to retain the data. Aside from having your data ready to resume usage of apps, the feature could also be useful in those situations where you need to make room on your device for another app. By retaining app data, you can retrieve space by removing the app but not have to start over again when you re-install it. The feature should also be handy if there’s a bug that can only be fixed by re-installing the app, using this option, you don’t lose your data. Right now, the apps that use this feature are very limited with WhatsApp and ASR Voice Recorder being known to use it. Hopefully, other developers will decide to add this option to their apps and it’s likely they will as the usage of Android 10 grows. Source: 1. Apps on Android 10 allow you to retain data after uninstalling (via Neowin) 2. Some apps like WhatsApp offer to keep app data when uninstalled in Android 10 (via Android Police)
  8. But maybe not for long Google recently integrated Android Auto with the Android 10 operating system, removing the need for a separate app. But this meant that Android 10 users who own a car with a non-compatible head unit would no longer be able to use Android Auto just on their phone, which was possible in the past. So in September, Google promised it would release a new standalone Android Auto app specifically for Android 10 users, and today, that app finally hit the Play Store. Bluntly named “Android Auto for Phone Screens,” the new app is only compatible with certain Android 10 devices, though it’s available on APK Mirror, as AndroidPolice points out. It is exactly what you expect, in that it runs the full Android Auto experience on your smartphone’s screen. Simple, right? Well, the reason Google was okay with getting rid of the standalone Android Auto app in the first place was that it was supposed to be replaced by a Google Assistant “driving mode,” which the company previewed earlier this year. But the Google Assistant driving mode is still not available, and a spokesperson told The Verge on Tuesday that there’s still “no update at this time” on when it will be released. So until that happens, this new standalone app is how Android 10 users without an Android Auto-compatible head unit will get by. If and when the new Google Assistant driving mode does finally drop, Android Auto for Phone Screens will likely go away. As The Verge’s executive editor Dieter Bohn put it in September: By the way, Google is also working on an embedded Android Automotive operating system that will start showing up in cars made by Volvo, Renault-Nissan, and General Motors in the next few years, removing the need for a smartphone altogether — which, looking at the current state of things, sounds like bliss. Source: Android Auto standalone app now available for Android 10 users (via The Verge)
  9. Gaming on Android has usually meant gaming on the touchscreen of your smartphone. While Android does boast of a very large collection of touch-optimized games, some titles just work out better when the player uses a gamepad and real hardware buttons and keys. For the same purpose, you can find a whole host of generic gaming accessories, including controllers, that will easily allow you to upgrade your gaming experience. For example, if you have a PlayStation 4, you can connect the DualShock 4 controller to your smartphone to play. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on every device, and the reason usually boils down to missing key layout files. If you are looking to reuse one of your existing game controllers, Android has been gradually adding in support for various popular controllers, such as the Xbox One S wireless controller, and the Xbox Elite Series 1 Controller. A study of the AOSP commits revealed that Android 10 also brought along the ability to connect and properly play on Android using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. A commit in the AOSP Gerrit had added in the key layout file for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The key layout file enables Android to properly recognize the button presses on the controller, and map it to the appropriate Android action that games can listen for. Without this key layout file, the game either will not be able to recognize hardware presses or it will initiate wrong actions. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller was launched alongside the Nintendo Switch and served as a better alternative to the Joy-Cons. This commit was added back in June 2019, so Android 10 updates on your phone are likely to have the same already incorporated. If you have a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller around, you can check and confirm if the same works seamlessly on your Android 10 device. Source: Android 10 brings controller mapping support for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (via XDA Developers)
  10. Samsung began rolling out Android 10 based One UI 2.0 Beta builds to Galaxy S10 devices early this month amid reports of a possible delay. The successor to Android 9.0 Pie-based One UI is more of an iterative update that brings with it polishes and improvements to existing features along with Android 10-specific features such as the gesture navigation system. However, users that are running the beta builds were in for a surprise when a recent update locked them out of their devices – refusing to accept any authentication methods. Users running recent One UI 2.0 Beta builds began reporting that they were unable to unlock their devices through the way of a pin, password or biometrics after restarting the phones. The only preventive measure for those that still had access to their device was to disable all lock screen authentication methods through the Lock Screen settings. For those that were locked out, one of the ways to circumvent the issue was by deleting all authentication methods through Samsung’s Find My Mobile service (provided it was enabled). However, if that service was not enabled, there was no other option but to reset the device and roll back to Android 9 Pie through Smart Switch. Some users also reported that they have been unable to set a pin/password even after rolling back to Pie. Considering the severity of the issue, the firm was quick to release a hotfix for the problem that is now rolling out to all One UI 2.0 Beta users. The critical update package is about 131MB in size, carrying build number G970FXXU3ZSL and should be available to all S10 variants running the beta software. It should be noted that users that are currently locked out will have to either delete their authentication presets first or roll back and re-join the beta since the device will not initiate the update if the device is locked. Running beta software always brings a few risks with it, so it is best to have one’s device backed up in case something goes wrong. As a precaution for any such issues in the future, you can turn on Find My Mobile from Settings > Biometrics and Security > Find My Mobile. Source: 1. Samsung rolls out hotfix for One UI 2.0 Beta after update locks out users (via Neowin) 2. Critical Galaxy S10 Android 10 beta update out, fixes device lock issue (via SamMobile)
  11. Thanks to Project Treble, a major rearchitecting of the Android OS, it’s possible to boot a generic, AOSP-based system image without modifying the boot or vendor image. OEMs seeking Google certification are required to test their devices for Treble compliance by booting this “Generic System Image,” or GSI, and verifying basic hardware functionality, but they aren’t required to make sure that everything works. Unfortunately, that means GSIs are fairly functional on some devices and broken on others. That’s where the community, and in particular XDA Recognized Developer phhusson, comes in. The custom GSIs built by independent developers on our forums are designed to operate on as many devices as possible and with few bugs. For example, phhusson’s latest GSI brings Android 10 to any device that supports Project Treble, and it does so without breaking basic functionality like Wi-Fi, RIL, or brightness controls on many devices. Google does offer its own Android 10 GSIs on its website, but their GSIs are only so developers can test their apps against the latest API level. Google’s GSIs aren’t designed for users to run as the daily-driver software on their phones, which is a bummer because AOSP is a lot cleaner than the stock software on many phones. If you own a popular phone with a thriving developer community, then you may be able to flash an Android 10-based custom ROM from our forums. If you can’t find any device-specific Android 10 ROMs on our forums, then give phhusson’s GSI a chance. His custom GSI should boot on any Android device that supports Project Treble, which means most devices that launched with Android 8.0+. Note that Project Treble support is only required for devices with Google certification, so you may come across some issues if you’re trying to boot this GSI on devices imported from China. Regardless, you’ll be surprised by how functional the GSI can be, especially on lesser-known devices with MediaTek chipsets. Interested in trying this out? The first thing you’ll need is an unlocked bootloader. Next, you can download the latest version of phhusson’s GSI from his GitHub page here and learn how to flash a GSI here. Before you do so, you should read phhusson’s XDA forum thread here and check which variant you should download by using the Treble Info app linked below. Due to the difficulties of supporting so many devices with just one system image, there are bound to be some bugs on certain devices. If you have any issues, you can report them here or in one of the chats linked here. I also recommend you check out our Project Treble forums as other custom ROM developers will eventually rebase their work on phhusson’s latest release, giving you more choice in case you aren’t a fan of stock AOSP. Source: Android 10 custom GSI brings the latest Android OS to any Project Treble-supported device (via XDA Developers)
  12. In the past, if you wanted to send money via Google Pay you’d be prompted to use an old school PIN pattern to authenticate the transfer. Starting with version 2.100 Google is finally adding support for fingerprints and face authentication for money transfers thanks to Android 10’s biometric API. The feature is currently only available for Android 10 devices and is found in the Sending money settings section of the app. Previously you were only limited to using your Google Account Pin but now can switch to biometric authentication instead. Google’s own Pixel 4 lineup relies on facial unlock for authentication so this new addition will certainly be useful for owners of that one. Source: Google Pay finally adds biometric authentication for money transfers (via GSMArena) p/s: While this news is about mobile software app, but this article is suited to be placed under Security & Privacy News as the post does talk about new security feature (using biometric authentication on top of Google Account Pin) on Google Pay when it is installed under Android 10.
  13. One of Android’s key issues is fragmentation. The vast array of available phones means manufacturers have to work extra hard to keep every one up to date and many aren't very keen to do so. With the launch of Android 8.0 Oreo, Google aimed to improve things with the introduction of Project Treble, which brought a modular base for Android and made it much easier for companies to update their devices in a timely manner. In a new blog post, Google detailed the progress on Android adoption rates which shows that Android 9 Pie has the highest adoption rate in its first year and now holds a 22.6% share of the entire Android ecosystem. This was in large due to Google’s efforts with Project Treble and the close collaboration with major manufacturers. Google claims the average time to upgrade between Oreo and Pie was cut down by 3 months and expects upgrades to Android 10 to happen even quicker. Inline with companies like Essential, Xiaomi and OnePlus which have Android 10 on their devices, Google expects more manufacturers to jump on board and offer a stable build of Android 10 before the end of the year. This is a major breakthrough in the Android fragmentation issue and will hopefully carry on with future iterations of the OS. Having popular manufacturers like Samsung who haven't had the best track record with Android update speeds in the past, in particular, is definitely a welcome addition. Source: 1. Google lists manufacturers that will ship Android 10 updates this year (via GSMArena) - main article 2. All About Updates: More Treble (via Android Developers Blog) - reference to the main article
  14. Every Android device comes preloaded with a few different sets of apps, some chosen by the OEM, some by the cell carrier, and usually a set of Google apps. We’ve now learned precisely which apps Google has mandated inclusion on Android 10 and Android Go phones with Google services, which includes some surprising additions. 9to5Google was provided a copy of the latest version of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) agreement that OEMs have to abide by. This document lays out requirements for Android device makers, and it reveals a lot of interesting information about what device makers have to be compliant with. In the document, we found several sections laying out the default apps for Android 10 and Android Go devices. Android 10 Google apps For a new device to be compliant with Google’s rules and provide Google services, OEMs need to include a minimum set of Google apps — or “Core apps” — at first boot. Over the years this list has evolved, and we now have the most recent list of required Google apps for Android 10 devices. Of course, as some of these apps may not be available in all countries, Google allows OEMs to not include them if that is the case. Google Play Store Google Search Chrome Browser Google Drive Gmail Google Duo Maps Google Play Music Google Photos Google Play Movies YouTube Just below the list, in our copy of the document, there’s a note about a change that hasn’t gone into effect yet. Apparently beginning next month, YouTube Music will be a “Core app,” replacing Google Play Music. YouTube previously outlined that change publicly, though there was no date attached in their announcement. Another interesting footnote reveals that, in November of last year, Google Duo replaced Hangouts as a Core app for “non-Telephony” devices, like tablets. The timing of this change actually predates our original report on the shutdown of Google Hangouts ‘classic’ by almost a month. Note on Android Auto Further down in the document, there’s also a special note about Android Auto. According to the documentation, all devices launching on or upgrading to Android 10 — excluding Android Go phones and non-telephony devices like tablets — “MUST preload the Android Auto app as a privileged, headless Core service app in the system image.” By “headless,” they most likely mean that there’s no app icon in the app drawer, normally used to launch the “phone screen” experience for Android Auto, which is slowly being deprecated in favor of Google Assistant Driving Mode. This also lines up with some changes that happened to Android Auto during the Android Q Beta period that led to the app’s icon disappearing from the app drawer for some. Regardless, this means that all Android 10 devices will be able to connect to an Android Auto head unit without needing to first install the Android Auto app. Android Go Google apps Elsewhere in the document, we find a list of the Google applications required to be included on Android Go phones. Below the list, there’s a note that Gallery Go is only a “Core app” as of the beginning of next month. It’s interesting that Files by Google, previously known as “Files Go,” is not considered a “Core app” for Android Go phones. Gboard (lightweight version for Go) Assistant Go Chrome Gallery Go Gmail Go Google Go Maps Go Play Store YouTube Go (or YouTube if allowed in country) Source: These are the new default Google apps for Android 10 and Android Go (via 9to5Google)
  15. Earlier today, we first reported on Google’s new Game Device Certification program and Digital Wellbeing requirements. We obtained information on both thanks to the latest version of Google’s GMS Requirements for OEMs/ODMs. This document also outlines the deadlines in which OEMs/ODMs can submit software builds to Google to get approval for GMS distribution. Notably, the document confirms that January 31, 2020 is the last date that Google will approve smartphones running Android 9 Pie. After that date, Google will only approve new devices running the latest Android version, Android 10. GMS stands for Google Mobile Services, and it’s a suite of Google apps, services, and libraries that companies must license to preinstall on Android devices. The suite is most notable for containing apps like the Google Play Store and Google Play Services, the lack of which has soured the recent launch of the Huawei Mate 30. In order to be approved to preload GMS, OEMs must submit the software builds for each device they make to Google for approval. The approval process involves meeting the requirements in the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) and the GMS Requirements document, and also passing automated test suites like the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), Vendor Test Suite (VTS), and Google Test Suite (GTS). It’s a complex process and there are a lot of requirements to meet, so OEMs apply for GMS approval weeks or months in advance. However, Google wants OEMs to ship newer versions of Android on their devices, so after a while, they stop approving GMS distributions on devices that launch with older Android versions. As you can see in the chart below, Google will stop approving new devices that run Android 9 Pie after January 31, 2020. Android 9 Pie was released to the public on August 6, 2018, so that means OEMs will have had nearly a year and a half to release devices running Android 9. Just because the approval window closes on January 31st doesn’t mean we’ll completely stop seeing Android 9 devices after the date, though, since OEMs can seek approval for their upcoming devices before the approval window closes. However, knowing that January 31, 2020, is the cutoff date for Android 9 means we can expect to see a flood of new devices running Android 10 in the weeks after. For devices that won’t get an official update to Android 10, Google will still approve new software builds based on Android 9 Pie for a few more months. Google will stop approving Android 9 Pie-based software updates after the launch of Android 11, which will likely happen in August of 2020. After the Android 11 launch, Google will no longer approve Android updates except for security patch updates. Interestingly, if Android 11 launches in August as expected, then that means Google is cutting short the software build approval window when compared to how long they used to approve software updates for older Android versions. Another interesting piece of information from this table is the extended approval window for Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition). New Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition) devices will still be approved until October 31, 2019, 10 months after the approval window closed for the standard Android 8.1 Oreo release. According to Flame Group, a company that specializes in helping OEMs pass Google’s GMS Certification, Google extended Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)’s approval window due to performance regressions found in Android 9 Pie (Go Edition). Android’s overall update situation still isn’t great, but requirements like these have forced OEMs to keep up with new Android releases. We can see what things might be like without such requirements, as Amazon just launched a new tablet today with Android Oreo onboard. Thanks to initiatives like Project Mainline in Android 10, Google is making it easier for system components to get updates, easing the burden of manufacturers to keep up with all the changes in each Android release. Android updates are definitely getting better, and we’re slowly seeing the update situation improve each year. Source: Google will require new Android devices to run Android 10 if approved after January 31, 2020 (via XDA Developers)
  16. Android 10’s new gesture navigation system is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s what Google wants to be a standard across every Android device. Now, we’re learning that Google is going to force OEMs to hide their own gesture navigation systems in Android, even going so far as to not include them in the setup wizard. 9to5Google was provided a copy of the latest version of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) agreement that OEMs have to abide by. This document lays out requirements for Android device makers, and it reveals a lot of interesting information about what device makers have to be compliant with. One interesting section of the document talks about gesture navigation systems. Back at I/O 2019, Google confirmed that device makers would be able to keep making their own systems, but they would also be forced to include the new Android 10 gestures as well as the traditional three-button setup. Thanks to this document, we’re getting further clarification on Google’s requirements. Apparently, any Android device using GMS that launches on Android 10 will need to ship out of the box with either the classic three-button or the new Android 10 gestures. If a device ships with the gestures by default, the three-button setup must be supported as an optional setting. Notably, this effectively kills off the two-button “pill” navigation from Android Pie, as Android 10 devices can’t include it as a “user-selectable option.” Google mentions that devices being upgraded to Android 10 are strongly encouraged to keep that option in place. We’ve seen this on Pixel and Essential devices, but OnePlus removed the “pill.” Another interesting tidbit from the GMS document is that Google is essentially forcing OEMs to hide their own gesture navigation systems. While they can be included on a device, Google says that they cannot be advertised by the “Setup Wizard or any other method” including pop-ups or notifications. Obviously, these systems also cannot be the default option. Further, OEMs are forced to bury their systems one level deeper in the settings menu. Google gives the example of putting it under “Advanced or similar.” Clearly, Google doesn’t want users to have easy access to third-party systems. Google also reminds partners that their own gesture navigation systems must still be CDD compliant. We’re not entirely sure how OnePlus’ modified Android 10 gestures fit into this picture, at least based on this document, although there is mention of “implementation details” without further information. Source: Google is hiding OEM gesture navigation systems on Android, can’t include in setup (via 9to5Google)
  17. Android 10 — The Ars Technica Review Clear your schedule: this is our longest Android review ever. It is once again time for Google's big yearly Android rollout. This year we're up to "Android 10," though if we're counting by API levels (which actually go up one per release) this is the 29th release of Android. For most of 2019, this new software snack has been in beta under the name "Android Q," and we've seen a whopping six beta releases. Normally that "Q" would turn into a snack-themed codename with the final release, but this year the "Q" apparently stands for "Quitters"—the codename branding is dead. Android is going on a textual diet and it's just "Android 10," with no snacks attached. Despite the change, Android 10 brings a lot of tasty, frequently user-requested changes to Android. The OS is finally getting a dark mode, the share menu is getting revamped, and gesture navigation has seen huge improvements over the half-baked version introduced in Android 9. Developers have a host of new APIs to play with, including support for upcoming foldable smartphones, floating app "Bubbles," and a new, more generalized biometrics API. And on top of all that, there's a host of changes to work around, like considerations for the new gesture navigation system and new app restrictions focused on privacy and security. Even the notification panel is getting a fresh injection of artificial intelligence, and of course there are new emoji. The under-the-hood work on Android modularity continues, as always, with Android 10. This year "Project Mainline" is the highlighted engineering effort. This initiative creates a new, more powerful file type for system-level code, and it sees several chunks of functionality move out of the difficult-to-update core OS and into the Play Store, where they will get monthly updates. There's new dual boot functionality, too, which will allow curious users to quickly switch between retail and beta builds of Android. As has become Ars tradition, we will be covering every single change in excruciating detail. So even if Google is ditching the snack theme, you may want to grab your own snack before diving in to the following 20,000+ words of Android 10 intel. Table of Contents Android 10—Just Android 10 Gesture Navigation—Massive improvements, but not quite done yet The Back gesture: Feels great, looks bad The many edge cases of gesture navigation Gesture nav for developers Third-party launchers get left out, again Ready for primetime, pending that future update Project Mainline: The next great update scheme APEX versus APK What’s getting updated Security and Media Consistency and ANGLE The Privacy modules A foundation for the future New notification panel features New priority notification buckets Smart Replies and Notification Actions Smart replies still aren't very smart Focus Mode Dynamic System Update—Dual Boot, for Android Dynamic partitions Dark Mode—save your eyes and your battery What's the deal with theming? Foldable smartphone support Multi-resume: Fixing split-screen mode for poorly-coded apps The new Share menu Emoji 12.0—We're up to 3,053 emojis Scoped storage: Sandboxing app storage Scoped Storage versus File Managers, FIGHT! Coming next year: Storage Armageddon! Maybe? Other privacy changes Bubbles—A "Developer Preview" of a floating app API Security Adiantum—Storage encryption for everyone A few extra settings Looking toward the future The Good The Bad The Ugly Snip... this very long article containing many image galleries is best viewed from the source link below or the Table of Contents links above. Source: Android 10—The Ars Technica Review (Ars Technica)
  18. Google today pushed the latest source code for Android 10, formerly Android Q and the successor to Android 9.0 Pie, to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Google also started rolling out the latest version of its mobile operating system today as an over-the-air update to Pixel phones. If you don’t have a Pixel phone, you won’t be getting Android 10 for a while (if at all). During the beta testing phase, Android Q was made available on the Asus ZenFone 5Z, Essential Phone, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, LG G8, Nokia 8.1, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7, OnePlus 6T, Oppo Reno, Realme 3 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ3, Tecno Spark 3 Pro, Vivo X27, Vivo Nex S, Vivo Nex A, Xiaomi Mi 9, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G. Google says it is “working with a number of partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 10 this year.” A spokesperson confirmed that this includes the list of devices that received Android Q betas. Android Q was on a tight beta schedule. Last year, there were five developer previews (four betas). This year, Google had six betas in total. Google launched Android Q Beta 1 in March, Android Q Beta 2 in April, and Android Q Beta 3 in May at its I/O 2019 developers conference. Android Q Beta 4 arrived in June, Android Q Beta 5 in July, and Android Q Beta 6 in August. Android 10 features Most importantly, Android 10 brings features powered by on-device machine learning and supports new technologies like foldables and 5G. Google also promises faster app startup and “almost 50 new features and changes focused on privacy and security.” Here’s Google top 10 list for users: Smart Reply now suggests actions without any copying and pasting required. It also works in messaging apps. The new Dark Theme works on your entire phone or for specific apps. It’s easier on your eyes and on your phone battery. A new gesture navigation introduces single swipes that let you go backwards, pull up the homescreen, and move between tasks. Live Caption (coming later this fall) will automatically caption videos, podcasts, and audio messages across any app. Choose to only share location data with apps while you’re using them. Reminders let you know when an app that you are not actively using is accessing your location. Settings has a new dedicated Privacy section for controls like Web & App Activity and Ad Settings. Google Play can send system updates with security and privacy fixes just like app updates (Project Mainline). Greater control over where and when notifications will alert you. Mark notifications as Silent and they won’t make noise nor appear on your lockscreen. Focus mode lets you select the apps you find distracting and silence them until you say otherwise. Family Link is now part of every device running Android 9 or 10, so parents can set digital ground rules for their children. You can use different keyboards per profile, set app timers for websites, use gender-inclusive emoji, and stream audio to hearing aid devices. For developers, Android 10 brings new APIs, new media codecs and camera capabilities, NNAPI extensions, Vulkan 1.1, a foldables emulator, biometrics improvements, and TLS 1.3. Source
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