- Google announced new features at Google I/O for its upcoming version of Android that hadn’t been announced before.
- Google is focusing a lot on improving privacy, but it’s also adding useful features we can use on a day-to-day basis.
- The one feature I can’t wait for is Dark Theme for Android, which makes looking at your phone more comfortable, as well as improving the battery life on your smartphone.
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Google went over some of the Android Q features we already knew about during Google I/O, and it also announced some new features to expect in the next version of Android that weren’t previously announced.
So far, we knew that Android Q will bring some well-needed privacy enhancements, like giving you better control over an app’s access to your location information. We also knew that Google is adding support for foldable smartphones, improving WiFi performance on a per-app basis, and letting third-party apps use your phone camera’s portrait mode feature.
Check out the new Android Q features Google announced on Tuesday:
Android Q will have native support for 5G networks.
As Google’s Stephanie Cuthbertson said onstage during Google I/O, “5G networks mean consistently faster speeds with lower latency,” and 5G networks will be natively supported in Android Q. That means any phone that’s released with Android Q won’t need any tweaking from a phone maker to add 5G to an Android device.
Cuthbertson said that more than 20 carriers will launch their 5G networking this year, and that over a dozen 5G-compatible smartphones will be launching this year.
Android Q will have a “Live Caption” feature that will bring captions to any video on your device, even your own home videos.
Live Caption will bring captions to your home videos, apps, and web content, and it all happens on your phone, which is pretty significant for privacy.
Typical live captions that haven’t been pre-written need to go to a server to be analysed, and the captions are then sent back to your device. Having the captioning made from a device itself without even needing an internet connection means your video’s audio isn’t sent to some server somewhere.
Live Captions is “OS-wide,” Cuthberston said, which means any audio from Android, your apps, and web content can get captions. That’s fantastic for Android users who are hard-of-hearing, and it’s also great for generally quieter usage when you don’t have access to headphones, or it’s inappropriate to use a phone’s speakers in a public setting.
Smart Reply is coming to Android Q, Google’s service that predicts what text you’ll type next — and it can even predict actions you’ll take.
Smart Reply was previously only available on Google’s own Messages app, but Android Q will bring Smart Reply to third-party messaging apps.
Smart Reply will also suggest the most likely action you’ll make after reading a message. The example Google gave was receiving an address in a message, and Smart Reply will suggest you open the address in Google Maps. Tapping on the suggested action will open up the app and show you the relevant content.
And my personal favourite upcoming feature: Dark Theme.
Dark Theme will give Android and Google apps a black colour theme, which Cuthbertson and Google have previously said will improve the battery life of your phone.
Better battery life is all well and good, but darker colour themes are also more comfortable on the eyes.
Cuthbertson didn’t specify how far-reaching the dark theme in Android Q will go – as in, whether the dark theme will apply to non-Google apps when you enable Dark Theme mode.
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