Android Weekly: What’s Coming in Android Q (and Some Other Stuff)
Posted by Cameron Summerson on 15th March 2019
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This article was originally posted on HOWTOGEEK.COM

There was a lot of movement in the Android world the week of March 8th thru 15th. The Q beta landed with all sorts of new features, Vivo showed off a portless phone, and Google killed a bunch of services.

Android Q Feature Roundup

Let’s start with the biggest Android news for the week, shall we? The Q beta landed for all Pixel devices, and it’s jam-packed with all sorts of new features. Android Police and 9to5Google both did an incredible job of covering all the new stuff as it showed up—here’s everything so far.

  • The Android Q Beta is here. For Pixel phones, anyway. [Android Developers Blog]
  • The word on the street is that Q is also going to hit even more devices during the beta and developer previews this year. [Android Police]
  • With the upcoming demise of Google+, the Android Beta community has been moved to Reddit. [Android Police]
  • Android Q has a built-in screen recorder! But apparently, it’s broken right now. [9to5Google, Android Police]
  • There are more haptic feedback vibrations in Android Q. Okay then! [9to5Google]
  • Foldable phones are coming. Q is ready. [Android Police]
  • The always-on display in Q got a bit of a makeover. [9to5Google]
  • The Files app is all new, with an updated look and some nifty new features. [Android Police]
  • Google is cracking down on undocumented APIs to make Q more secure. [Android Police]
  • The sharing menu is getting faster and less crappy. Finally! [9to5Google]
  • Thanks to some ART enhancements, apps launching should be faster. [Android Police]
  • Android Q has a desktop mode! Which is…kind of confusing. Why does Android Q have a desktop mode? [XDA Developers]
  • Pixel Launcher on Android Q will let you replace removed items with a new undo feature. [Android Police]
  • Dual SIM and standby support on the Pixel 3 is live in Q. [XDA Developers]
  • There’s a little bell icon for new notifications now, so you can tell which one just pinged. That’s useful! [9to5Google]
  • You can share your Wi-Fi password with a QR code. [Android Police]
  • Remaining battery shows an estimated time in the shade now. [Android Police]
  • You can only dismiss notifications by swiping to the right in Q—the left is the action menu. Oof. [9to5Google]
  • So many new privacy features. [Android Police]
  • Accent colors and new icons shapes are tucked into Q’s Developer Options menu. Are more customization options incoming? [Android Police]
  • You can switch the audio source from the notification shade. [9to5Google]
  • Rounded corners and the notch show up in screenshots in Q. Yuck. [Android Police]
  • There are more options when you long-press a notification, which is neat. [Android Police]
  • Third-party camera apps have access to depth effects and more. [Engadget]
  • Call screening and emergency information apps are now part of Android’s Default Apps menu. Third-party options don’t exist yet, so this is telling. [Android Police]
  • Background clipboard access is blocked in Android Q, which probably means bad things for clipboard managers. [XDA Developers]
  • Smart Home and IoT connections are getting simpler in Q. [Android Police]
  • Battery Saver is more dynamic in Q, with the option to automatically activate based on usage. [Android Police]
  • There’s a new series of options called “Feature Flags” that lets users tweak all sorts of stuff. [9to5Google]
  • You can see all your disabled notifications in one place in Q. [Android Police]
  • It looks like Google is planning six betas in total, with the final release in Q3 of 2019. [XDA Developers]
  • In what’s sure to make some users upset, the Magisk dev says that Q could mean bad things for root access. Uh-oh. [9to5Google]

Vivo’s Portless Phone Shows Its Stuff

Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo showed off an absolutely gorgeous portless concept phone to a group of writers in Hong Kong. The shell of the phone is a unibody piece of glass—apparently, Vivo had to come up with a special production method to form, cut, grind, and polish a single piece of glass for the body of this phone. It’s wild.

You can read more about this forward-thinking handset at The Verge and Engadget.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Updates (And More)

All sorts of stuff happened with Samsung’s newest flagship this week. Some good, some bad. Some just neat. Here’s you go.

  • If you hate the S10’s hole punch camera cutout, these are the wallpapers for you. [XDA Developers]
  • Samsung pushes the one-handed gesture navigation app from One UI to the Play Store. This means it can be updated independently of the OS. Nice. [Android Police]
  • S10 owners can get six months of free Spotify Premium. The downside? Spotify is pre-installed on all S10s. You win some, you lose some. [The Verge]
  • Speaking of free stuff for S10 owners, they also get four months of YouTube Premium. Yay for no ads! [9to5Google]
  • In slightly less pleasant news, the S10’s face unlock feature easily can be fooled by a picture because Samsung removed the retina scanner. Ouch. [Android Police]
  • Verizon started pushing Android 9 Pie with One UI to the Note 9. Better late than never, I guess. [Android Police]
  • Similarly, Android Pie started hitting the Galaxy A+ this week, too. [XDA Developers]
  • Samsung wants to make a “perfect full-screen” phone with no cutouts or notches. Interesting. [Engadget]

What’s New with Google This Week

Google announced some stuff, killed some stuff, and maybe killed some other stuff. This is everything that isn’t the Android Q Beta.

  • Finally, Google released an Android Q feedback app. [9to5Google]
  • Google Fit is getting more battery efficient on Wear OS. All three of you who use Fit and Wear OS better be grateful. [9to5Google]
  • Google Home Hub and other Assistant smart displays finally got continued conversations. Finally. [Android Police]
  • Google teased its upcoming game streaming service. It’s going to announce plans at GDC next week. Exciting stuff. [Google on Twitter]
  • Speaking of, Google filed a patent for a game controller. [The Verge]
  • If you subscribe to Google Fi and bring your existing number and device, you get a free month of service. That’s better than a not free month of service if you ask me. [Android Police]
  • Deaths: Allo, goo.gl URL shortener, Inbox, and Google+. RIP, those things. [9to5Google]
  • Third-party Google Assistant speakers are getting phone calls. [Android Police]
  • Google shut down part of its hardware division focused on tablets and laptops, which is troubling. [9to5Google]
  • If you use Google One and pay for 2TB of storage, Google probably wants to give you a free Home Mini. [Android Police]
  • Google’s Lookout app for the visually impaired is now available for download…assuming you have a Pixel device, anyway. [The Verge, Google Play]
  • The Drive mobile apps got a facelift to match the web UI. It’s pretty. [Engadget]
  • Google Maps is getting more features from Waze, like speed trap and crash reporting. Nice. [9to5Google]
  • Good news: An adware app had almost 150 million downloads before Google realized it and pulled it from the Play Store. Also, I think I need to work on my definition of “good news.” [The Verge]
  • Chrome’s data saver on mobile now works on HTTPS sites, which is like 80% of the web at this point. I think that really is good news. [Android Police]
  • Shared Libraries on Photos moved to a more obscure place that still kinda makes sense? [Android Police]

Device Updates, App Updates, and Everything Else

There were a couple of major app updates this week, along with some minor device updates. Also, RED said some stuff about the Hydrogen One that pretty much confused everyone.

  • Pushbullet got a major update that brings bundled notification, quick replies, and some other stuff. [Android Police]
  • Facebook is testing a blindingly-white interface in its Android app. I’m sure that’s going to go over well if it gets released. [XDA Developers]
  • Spotify is testing an option to let users disable its dumbest feature: canvas videos. Good. [9to5Google]
  • Microsoft’s My Phone feature in Windows 10 is getting screen mirroring. [The Verge]
  • The Xiami Redmi Note 7 got its first MIUI update, which brings a low-light camera mode. [XDA Developers]
  • The NVIDIA SHIELD got a small update that brings Xbox Elite Controller support and some other stuff. [9to5Google]
  • You know the little dinosaur you see in Chrome when it’s offline? Well, you can buy a real one now. I need it. [Dead Zebra]
  • RED pulled the add-on modules for the Hydrogen One, then said some confusing stuff. [Android Police]
  • The Xiaomi Mi 8 got official LineageOS support. [XDA Developers]
  • T-Mobile’s OnePlus 6T got RCS messaging. So it begins. [9to5Google]
  • Firefox Fenix got its initial release. It looks neat. [Techdows]
  • Root Stuff: The 2015 Amazon Fire TV got rooted again. Go modders, go. [XDA Developers]
  • Root Stuff: GravityBox can be installed on Android Pie devices running the Xposed framework now. [XDA Developers]
  • Some details about Motorola upcoming Razr folding phone leaked. Curiously, it’s said to be using a Snapdragon 710 processor. Weird. [XDA Developers]

That’s a lot of stuff, but that’s how it goes in Google’s world. Something is always happening.