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  1. Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble. Google is releasing the second Android Q Beta today. As we learned with the first release, Android Q is bringing support for foldable smartphones, better privacy and permissions controls, and a grab bag of other features. We've yet to install the second beta on one of our own devices, but Google's release blog post promises "bug fixes, optimizations, and API updates," as well as a crazy new multitasking feature and an emulator for foldables. Android loves multitasking. So far we've had split screens and floating windows, and Android Q Beta 1 even had a hidden desktop mode. Beta 2 brings us a new multitasking feature called "Bubbles." Bubbles let you minimize an app into a little circle, which floats around on the screen above all your other apps. Tapping on a bubble will open a small UI. The only demo Google shows is one for a messaging app. Each bubble is a contact, and tapping on the bubble shows a small chat UI. If you remember Facebook's "Chat Head" UI for Messenger, Bubbles is that, but built into the OS. Google offers a few suggested use cases for Bubbles, saying, "Bubbles are great for messaging because they let users keep important conversations within easy reach. They also provide a convenient view over ongoing tasks and updates, like phone calls or arrival times. They can provide quick access to portable UI, like notes or translations, and can be visual reminders of tasks too." Bubbles is "built on top of Android's notification system," and developers can "send a bubble through a notification." Does that mean apps can just spawn a new bubble when you get a message? Apps need to specifically support Bubbles in order for the feature to work, which will certainly make consistently using it or even testing it out pretty difficult. Start petitioning your favorite developers. In other Android Q news, Google is preparing for the coming flood of foldable devices like the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X. When foldables fold and unfold, there are big display state changes that Google needs to support. Multi-screen devices like the Galaxy Fold need to be able to switch screens when the devices open and close. For single-screen devices like the Mate X, Android needs to be able to grow and shrink the active area of the screen when a user unfolds or folds the device. Foundational Android changes to make all this work are going into Android Q, and with the second beta, Google is also releasing Android Studio 3.5, which comes with foldable support in the emulator. Nobody has a foldable smartphone yet, but developers can at least do some testing on the new emulator, which supports dual-screen devices and can grow and shrink in size. Google is also rolling out more of its "scoped storage" changes, which stop apps from having free-for-all access to your internal storage. Google warns that this is going to break a lot of stuff, saying, "You might experience problems with apps that access photos, videos, media, or other files stored on your device." Android Betas normally come with a list of known issues, but Google is laying on the warnings very strongly for this version. We're still going to flash it, though. We'll test it out and report back. Source: Google’s second Android Q Beta brings us “Bubbles” multitasking (Ars Technica) Poster's note: The original article contains a slideshow. To see it, please visit the above link.
  2. Android Q to get a ton of new privacy features Coming to Android Q: MAC address randomization, new location data permission popup, no more clipboard sniffing. Google's upcoming Android version, currently referred to only as Android Q, will arrive later this summer with a trove of privacy enhancements. Details about these new additions have been revealed earlier this week after Google published blog postsand new Android support pages for Android Q following the release of a first beta version earlier this week. Below are all the privacy-focused features that are expected to land in the stable version of Android Q at the end of August. ACCESS TO CLIPBOARD DATA Android apps can no longer access the Android operating system's clipboard data unless they are in focus (running in the foreground aka on screen). Apps can access clipboard data while in the OS background if they are also the default input method editor (IME) --aka the default keyboard apps. MAC ADDRESS RANDOMIZATION ON BY DEFAULT Google introduced MAC address randomization in Android 6.0, but devices broadcast a random MAC address only when the smartphone would initiate a background Wi-Fi or Bluetooth scan. Android Q devices will now transmit a randomized MAC address by default, at all times, and for all communications. Despite security researchers proving that they can still track devices with randomized MAC addresses, supporting this feature will reduce the efficiency of some data harvesting and user tracking operations. REMOVING EASY ACCESS TO NETWORK DATA Android Q will also remove the /proc/net function that gives out information about the device's network state. App developers have other alternatives, but those are safeguarded by permissions, menaing the free lunch for some data harvesters is over. REMOVING EASY ACCESS TO DEVICE DETAILS Similarly, starting with Android Q, Google will also require app developers to request a special permission before they can access what the OS maker calls "non-resettable device identifiers" --device IMEI and serial number. NON-RANKED CONTACT DATA Google has also decided that Android Q will stop tracking contacts based on the frequency of interaction. Any app that received the permission to access the user's contacts will only get non-ranked contacts going forward. MORE CONTROL OVER LOCATION DATA Probably one of the coolest features that will be included in Android Q is the new permissions prompt for accessing location data. Starting with the next Android release, users will be able to give apps access to location data all the time or only when the app is in focus (in the foreground). Source
  3. Karlston

    Android Q Beta 2, a deep dive

    Android's Bubbles feature can actually completely replace the notification panel. Enlarge Android Android Q Beta 2 is out! Despite the plethora of bug warnings from Google, I flashed it on my daily driver and am back to report on some things. Beta 2 gives us a whole new feature to play with called "Bubbles," lots of little changes, and frustratingly slow development on Android's gesture navigation system. Of course everything is a work in progress, and there are plenty of bugs and weird design quirks. We're still going to bring attention to them now, though, in the hope that they get cleaned up before release. Let's dive in! <snip> Source: Android Q Beta 2, a deep dive (Ars Technica) Poster's note: This is a long multi-page article with several image slide-shows. Best viewed by visiting the above link.
  4. Google has finally planned to introduce what iPhone users were enjoying for years. According to Android Q documentation, Android Q to natively support the 3D Touch-like feature called “deep press.” Although they both mean pretty much the same, the name “deep press” makes more sense as compared to the 3D-Touch. The feature will allow you to perform various actions such as bring up the context menu without having to tap here and there multiple times. Just tell your fingers to put some extra pressure and it’ll do the trick for you. It’s early days and the feature is yet to make its way to the Android Q Build, therefore, we haven’t been able to see the feature in action. Assuming the feature works more or less the same as the iOS, there is one major concern and that is compatibility. It’s not clear whether the existing smartphones running Android Q will be able to cash in on the new feature or they will be left out. It’s been four years(almost) since Apple launched 3D-Touch feature in iPhone 6s and with every new iPhone, the 3D-Touch got more feature-rich. That said, I think this year’s Google I/O will see Google talking extensively about the feature and you might see the company taking a dig at iPhone but for that to happen it has to deliver. Source
  5. 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
  6. Google has officially launched Android 9.0, publicly confirming the name for the next version of its mobile OS is Pie. Now that the suspense is over, we’re already thinking about 2019. Unless something changes drastically, Google will launch Android 10.0 Q a year from now. What will the next major Android update’s name be? Historically, Google has used the names of desserts, candy, treats, or cookies as the official codenames for big Android updates. The letter “Q” doesn’t offer many options if Google sticks to sweets, but it’s got a few names to pick from for Android 10.0 Q when the time comes. Consulting the internet doesn’t give a lot of options, either. There are a few desserts that do start with Q, but most of them originate outside of America. And while they’re surely delicious, they likely lack the level of familiarity that Google is looking for on a marketing level in the US. Android 10 Qurabiya Android 10 Quindim Android 10 Queen of Puddings Android 10 Qottab Android 10 Quesito Android 10 Queijadinha Android 10 Quaker Oats Quiche Quaker Oats Queen of Puddings Quindim Qottab ? Article Sources: Android Authority The Verge
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