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Android Q release: Face ID, system-wide dark theme, improved privacy and other features expected

Android Q is expected to arrive in the form of developer beta at Google I/O 2019 in May.

  • Published: January 28, 2019 4:09 PM IST
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Image Credit: XDA Developers


Google I/O 2019, the annual developer conference of the search giant, will be held from May 7 to May 9. The company confirmed the dates early this week and it will be held at Shoreline Amphitheater in the backyard of Google’s Mountain View campus in California. One of the big announcement at I/O 2019 will be the introduction of Android Q or the tenth major release of Google’s mobile operating system. As usual, the leaks have already started revealing some of the key new changes and features that are expected to be part of Android Q build and the public beta is expected to become available immediately after the keynote. Here are the changes that are expected to come as part of Android Q release:

Apple’s Face ID-like feature comes to Android

One of the big feature coming with the release of Android Q is said to be an implementation of Face ID, the facial recognition feature Apple introduced with the launch of iPhone X in 2017. Android smartphones like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition already support feature similar to that of Face ID but they have to do extensive changes to Android. With the release of Android Q, Google plans to add native support for Face ID-like feature, which will allow OEMs to implement secure facial recognition on their devices.

The existence of this feature has been spotted in dozens of strings, methods, classes and fields by XDA Developers in the leaked AOSP build of Android Q. The new face authentication setup flow requires a user to setup a PIN, password or pattern as a backup just like they would do while setting up a fingerprint. The report adds that the user will also have an option to require password, PIN or pattern before the device’s data is decrypted on startup.

System-wide Dark Theme and Permission Revamp

Since the release of One UI by Samsung for Galaxy flagships, stock Android users have been asking for system-wide dark menu. OnePlus and Samsung implement system-wide dark theme to a large extent with their custom version of Android and the release of Android Q is expected to make it native. The Android Q release will include an option called Dark mode that can be set to Always On, Always Off or Automatic. The update is also expected to bring major changes to permissions in the Settings app. The revamp will make it easier to see which apps are allowed or denied access to a certain permission like camera or microphone.

Desktop Mode

Google is often not the first to bring new features and it has not been shy to copy features first introduced by its OEM partners. With Android Q, Google is likely to adopt a desktop mode that could work similar to Samsung DeX interface. The feature is called force desktop mode and it comes with the description of “force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays”. It could be Google copying Samsung DeX or Huawei’s Easy to Project feature allowing users to mirror their screen to a large display.

New Font and Icon Shape

With the Android Pie release, Google focused on major system-level changes and now with the release of Android Q, it could take it a step further with new font, icon shape and accent color overlays. XDA Developers notes that Android Q will further expand on its support for additional theme elements, which were first added with the release of Android 8.0 Oreo.

Background Clipboard Access block and protection to media files

With Android Q release, Google is also planning to add new features like blocking background clipboard read for applications. Every Android app can read your clipboard and users don’t have to grant them a runtime permission to do so. Google has added a new permission called “READ_CLIPBOARD_IN_BACKGROUND” that will limit what apps can read the clipboard in the background. Other features expected with Android Q release are option to downgrade from an app update and secure files on external storage.

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What will Android Q be called?

One of the big questions ahead of the release of Android Q is what Google plans to call its next mobile operating system. We are not really sure whether Google will even stick with dessert name this year since Q is a difficult name. There are chances that Google will pick between Quiche, Quindim, Quaker Oats, Quesito, Queen of Puddings but at this moment, the name Quality Street stands the highest chance of becoming the name for Android Q.

  • Published Date: January 28, 2019 4:09 PM IST