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Android Q is so close we can taste… whatever Q will stand for

Google has released Android Q Beta 5 as it looks to put the finishing touches on the next-generation operating system before release.

In a post on the Android developers blog, Google says this beta is “very close to the system behaviours” that will be in the final release.

So, effectively, this is a release candidate for the as-yet-unnamed 2019 OS update that will see new gesture navigation, a system-wide dark mode and much, much more.

There isn’t a whole lot that’s new in the beta, but there are some tweaks to the new gesture navigation tools. Apps that use a navigation drawer will now benefit from a new peek behaviour to ensure the return gesture does not conflict. Also the Google Assistant can now be launched by swiping from either corner.

The VP of engineering for Android, Dave Burke, says Google has been working closely with device manufacturers in order to ensure there’s a wide range of gesture navigation support on edge-to-edge screens.

Related: Android Q features

He wrote: “As we talked about at Google I/O, we’ve been working closely with device-maker partners to ensure a standardized Android gestural navigation for users and developers.

“Gestural navigation lets apps use the full screen for content while minimizing the visible system chrome and navigation – which is particularly important on today’s edge-to-edge screens. In Beta 5 we’re continuing to improve and polish based on your feedback and we wanted to provide an update on a few key areas.”

Google is advising developers to continue testing their apps for compatibility with the new operating system. It says developer APIs that were finalised in the previous update.

It’s not clear when Google will officially drop the Android Q operating system, or whether there will be a beta 6 in the coming weeks. One thing we know for sure, it’ll be ready by the time the Pixel 4 phones land in October.

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