Although there were suspicions that the first Android Q beta would drop on Monday, that day came in went. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait much longer as Android Q Developer Beta 1 is now available to download.
Google isn’t providing a lengthy list of tangible, user-facing features that are the hallmark of all new Android releases, but it is detailing new developments that are happening under the hood. For starters, Android Q is placing a heavy emphasis on privacy, which is something that Apple has made it a point to criticize every chance it gets.
Android Q puts further limits on access to device location data, and when an app requests location data a new prompt will be presented to the user. The user will have the ability to deny access, or grant permission at to access levels: 1) only while in use (foreground) or 2) at any time (foreground and background).
The operating system will also place further restrictions on how data is accessed on external storage. Each app will have its own “isolated storage sandbox” within external storage (i.e. a microSD card). No other app will be able to gain direct access to this siloed information.
Other privacy-centric features include restricted app access to data and identifiers like your MAC address (which will now be randomized) along with your device serial number and IMEI.
One of the most anticipated changes, however, is native support for folding displays, as we’ve seen with the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X. Google has made modifications to onPause and onResume to accommodate this new product category. Google writes:
We’ve also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, to help you manage how your app is displayed on foldable and large screens. To you get started building and testing on these new devices, we’ve been hard at work updating the Android Emulator to support multiple-display type switching — more details coming soon!
There are more behind-the-scenes details with this first developer preview that you can read all about right here.
With that being said, the Android Q Developer Preview 1 is available for download right now, but it is currently limited to Google’s first-party Pixel smartphones (all three generations). You can download it here.