Ready for a new version of Android? If you remember last year, Android P, the pre-release version of Android 9 Pie, fell in March. We're probably not that far from previewing the next version of Android, which is likely to be called "Android Q".
The popular news and phone modding site XDA Developers got a pre-release version of Android Q and created an article and a video detailing what's included. Remember, this is a pre-release version of a developer preview, so there are many things that can change. So far, however, Android P's darker mode will look like more of the system's UI, and the privacy and permissions settings will get a big update.
A dark mode, possibly for this time
It seems like Google annoys us every year with a dark mode, and every year when it's released, Android does not have a full dark mode. It started with the Android M Developer Preview, which had a dark mode in the developer preview, but not in the final version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It reappeared in the Android N Developer Preview just to achieve the same disappearance act after release time. Android 9 Pie was finally shipped with a user-selectable "dark" mode, but not much has changed. It just changed the quick settings, the app drawer's background, and a few tiny system UI bits, such as the Volume and Performance menu. Pie did not even change the settings for white text on a dark background, even though this change was made in earlier M and N developer previews.
XDA's Android Q build seems to be a big improvement, assuming it's retained for release. First, the preference screens are actually repainted, so it's probably white text on a dark background. It also changes the system notifications in white, which has never happened. The quick settings that could be changed in Android 9 Pie in Dark are even darker in Android Q.
Although a darker mode in the UI of the system is an improvement, Google would really need to update all the different apps with a dark theme to create a full dark mode. The Play Store, Gmail, Search, and about a hundred other Google apps do not yet have a dark mode, unless the individual app designers do everything they can to create one.
Google really seems to want it, as there have been more and more dark Google apps lately. Today, the phone, Contacts, Google News, YouTube, Google Play Games and News have a dark mode. Also Google Maps came there with a dark mode for the navigation. However, most of it is still light.
For apps that do not have a dedicated Dark mode, XDA mentions that the build of Android Q has an XDA developer option called "Override Force" – dark. "This forces a darker mode, even if the developer XDA says that it works in part for apps like Facebook and web browsers, it's an interesting-sounding feature, but given how much Google preaches consistency and predictability for Android app developers, I can I do not imagine that such a feature will be retained for retail development.
As Google recently stated at its own developer conference, the proliferation of OLED screens has meant that dark subjects consume less power overall than white ones Switching to dark subjects will result in better battery life, unlike LCDs, OLED displays can provide a better battery life Control the power of each pixel, and darker colors consume less energy. In fact, an OLED pixel that is displayed in pure black is only disabled, so it does not require power (or at least very low power consumption).
Google still uses only dark gray subjects in most apps and Android Q interfaces It does not save as much energy as a pure black background. Nevertheless, Google said that the latest dark gray apps, YouTube and Google Maps, reduce the power consumption of displays by 30 percent to 60 percent. But if Google just darkens the colors and uses pure black as the background, more energy would be saved.
After all the fake-outs of the previous Android versions, it's easy to actually view a dark mode to be cynical With the aforementioned dark mode changes across the Google App ecosystem, the company finally seems serious about the alternative color scheme to take. Lately, there has also been some dark evidence from Google's Chromium Bug Tracker, where a Google employee spilled on Android Q early on, saying, "The dark mode is a proven Q feature."
He went on to describe the details Google's guidelines for Android Q: "The Q team wants to make sure that all pre-installed apps natively support the Dark mode, so we'll need all the elements of the Dark mode to send successfully User interface, which should ideally be dark by May 2019. " It seems like dark apps are actually happening.
New Privacy Controls
With the introduction of new privacy-friendly rules for SMS apps in the Play Store, it looks like Android is making some privacy-based changes to the operating system page.
One of the coolest features of the XDA video is a new status bar feature that shows when sensitive phone permissions are used and what apps they use. We've all occasionally shown the GPS / location icon in a status bar on the phone, but the icon just showed that angled your location – it never showed anything. When you drag the status bar down in this version of Android Q, an app name appears next to the city icon. This will help you easily determine which app pings your location. Tapping the icon displays a list of the same information. This does not just work for the site – XDA has found that it works well for the use of microphones and cameras.
"Privacy" gets a new top-level screen in the settings, and inside is a new "Permissions Usage". This page shows how often which sensitive permissions are accessed by which apps. All this is presented in an entertaining bargraph interface, which makes it look more than a bit like the "Digital Wellness" dashboard on the Pixel 3. (I think this would be "Privacy Wellness?"). A drop-down menu lets you select the time range of the bar graph display, and another displays the data type. Choose from the most frequently accessed permissions, which app will use the most permissions, and the most recent access. It seems to be a big improvement over the current Android permissions screen, which is just a set of on / off switches.
The permission settings also include a few more options. In addition to the Allow and Deny pop-up options such as Location, there is now a third option, "Allow only while the app is in use." This is a good idea that was torn right from iOS. For the location, this would cause apps to not ping your location in the background, and instead give them GPS access only when they're in the foreground.
There is a new permissions page in the app info settings that displays these options. This page also provides additional information about why an app needs a specific permission. For now, this early build only states, "The app developer did not specify how the app uses your data." However, it sounds like the developers on this page can explain how their app works.
The "Desktop Mode" and Other Unusuals
XDA's report contains some more details. First, there is a new developer option called "Force Desktop Mode" that promises to "force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays". You can not really connect a "secondary display" to a Pixel 3 because it does not support HDMI output via USB-C. Therefore, XDA could not test this. As we've already seen, Google is providing desktop-like features for Android with features like the Freeform windowed mode in Android N, but so far nothing official has come from this feature. Users can download and install new SoC video drivers like an app from the Play Store , No OEM has ever used this feature, including Google's own pixel line. Even so, Android Q added a "Game Update Package Preferences" page in the Developer Options where you can choose which video driver to use.
There is a very ugly, half-implemented, built-in paperless recorder. Native screenshots would be great.
You can still swipe notifications to the right to remove them, but not the left one. Swiping to the left displays the familiar snooze and settings icon for a specific notification, but does not discard the notification.
XDA is still going through the build of Q, so we'll likely hear more of it in the future. If Google adheres to the usual timeline, we should also get an official Developer Preview in about two months.
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