Now that the Android Q beta has been out a couple of days, folks have had time to dig into it and find new features that Google didn’t mention in its official announcement.
One hidden feature inside Android Q is an experimental desktop mode. Discovered by Shad0wKn1ght93 on Twitter and XDA-Developers, the feature allows you to enable a Samsung DeX-like desktop mode with your Pixel phone, complete with the ability to add shortcuts to your desktop and launch freeform windows. When enabled, the status bar and navigation bar remain unchanged, but this is a beta after all.
You can give this desktop mode a try by going into the Developer Options on your Android Q-powered Pixel phone and enabling the “Force desktop mode” option and then launching the activity in the Pixel launcher using this command: adb shell am start -n “com.google.android.apps.nexuslauncher/com.android.launcher3.SecondaryDisplayLauncher”.
Another notable Android Q feature is the ability to customize the clock on your lock screen. There are currently three options to choose from in addition to the normal digital clock: a text clock, a bubble clock, and an analog clock with long arms. These clocks are incomplete because they don’t show the date or weather, and in the case of the bubble and analog clocks, they also still show the digital time. Again, this is still a beta.
The good news is that if you do use one of the other lock screen clock options, they’ll work on the Always On Display of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3.
Google announced several new Android Q features when it launched the first beta earlier this week, including better foldable support, privacy improvements, and faster sharing. There are surely lots of other new features planned for Android Q, though, and we’ll probably hear more about them in an official capacity at Google I/O in May. Until then, though, there are going to be lots of folks digging into the betas and finding new features hidden by Google.