Android Q Open Beta 3 announced with live captions, focus mode, dark theme and more

It’s the tenth year of Android and the operating system now powers over 2.5 billion active devices. And over time, a lot has changed since Android 1.0. At its I/O 2019 conference in Mountain View, San Francisco, Google announced Android Q Beta 3, detailing what Android 10 will bring to devices. The focus this year is on bringing new mobile experiences, more control of privacy and enhanced security.

Developers can now start testing Android Q Beta 3 on the Pixel devices (if you are already part of the beta program) and it will also be avalable in 21 other devices from 13 OEMs. It’s also designed to adapt to foldable devices and is being touted as the “first operating system to support 5G”.

Here’s all the new features coming to Android 10 Q later this year to devices —

1. Live Captions and smart replies

Live captions that Google showcased at I/O 2019 as part of deploying on-device AI to the upcoming Pixel 4 smartphone later this year. The feature essentially takes visual cues from videos to transcribe what’s being said in a preferred language, offering real-time continuous speech transcription and it works across phone calls, podcasts, audio recordings, videos and more.

Google is making smart reply more integrated into the notification system of Android Q. It predicts your next actions like opening Google Maps when someone texts you the address. This also will use on-device AI capabilities.

2. Framework updates pushed automatically

Android Q will also receive key updates to the operating system automatically in the background similarly to how Android apps update via the Play Store. This will make security components like security patches as well as bug fixes and privacy enhancements update without rebooting your phone.

3. New Privacy section in Settings

There’s a new section for Privacy in the Settings menu in Android Q where you can find important checklists and controls for your privacy. There’s also more granular control of location history. You can choose to share location data with apps only when they’re in use. You’ll also see when an app is using location in the background, via a notification.

4. Focus Mode

Android introduced Digital Well-being last year in Android 9 Pie which Google claimed helped users cut down screen time through setting app limits and using the wind-down feature. Android Q will bring Focus Mode that’s aimed to keep you from getting distracted while working or studying. The mode will silence notifications from emails, news, and social media while you’re concentrating.

5. Family Link now part of every device

Every device that has Digital Well-being can now enable Family Link to monitor and control smartphone usage of children. It can now be used to set specific app time-limits and bonus time and even block certain apps.

6. Beta release time-line

Google also announced a time line for when the next beta releases for Android Q will be available —

March: Beta 1 (initial release)

April: Beta 2 (incremental update)

May: Beta 3 (incremental update)

June: Beta 4final APIs and official SDK, Play Publishing)

Beta 5 (release candidate for testing)

Beta 6 (release candidate for final testing)

Q3: Final release to AOSP and ecosystem.

Unlike last year where there were five developer previews including 4 betas, Android Q will is planned to have six betas in total. Three are already out and three more will be out by June. This is so that early adopters can get the hang of the new features while app developers make their apps compatible as well as give feedback.

About the author