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Google releases first Android 14 preview – here’s what’s new

Google has issued the first Android 14 developer preview, offering initial hints of what’s to come from this year’s major operating system update.

The preview, which is not intended for consumers and is released so developers can begin with the process of upgrading their apps, suggests there’ll be several overarching priorities with Android 14. They are: better support for larger screen sizes, and improved battery optimisation, accessibility, and user security.

In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google says Android 14 will continue the work of Android 12L and 13 by improving support for the foldables and tablets. This preview includes more tools to help developers build apps that seamlessly adapt to different screen sizes.

“With every release, our goal is to make it easier for you to optimize your app across all Android surfaces,” Android engineering chief Dave Burke says.

Google is also focusing on improved customisation with an accessibility feature where users will be able to scale their text up to 200% (up from 130%), which will be useful for visually impaired people.

Android 14 will also attempt to streamline background work of apps, which users should see the benefit of when it comes to battery life. For example, developer could ensure the background work happens when users are on Wi-Fi

The company is also working on a new Grammatical Inflection API, which will enable app developers to add support for languages where the sentence changes based on grammatical gender. For example, the translation of the phrase: “You are subscribed to…” In French.

To provide a similar phrase in French, there are a few options:

Masculine-inflected form: “Vous êtes abonné à…” (English: “You are subscribed to…”)
Feminine-inflected form: “Vous êtes abonnée à…” (English: “You are subscribed to…”)
Neutral phrasing that avoids inflection: “Abonnement à…activé” (English: “Subscription to … enabled”)

“Today we’re releasing the first Developer Preview of Android 14, and your feedback in these previews is a critical part of making Android better for everyone,” Burke says. “Android 14 continues our work to improve your productivity as developers, along with enhancements to performance, privacy, security, and user customisation. This preview is just the beginning, and we’ll have lots more to share as we move through the release cycle.”

Of course, this is just the beginning for Android 14. We’ll start seeing some user-facing stuff in future releases and certainly when the public previews begin to come available in the spring.

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