Google has hit a major landmark in the development of Android Q with the final beta version now rolling out to developers and public testers.
The company says Android Q beta 6 is developers’ final opportunity to get their handsets ready for the official release out of beta.
Dave Burke, the VP of engineering for Android, also narrowed down the timeframe for Android Q’s roll-out to the public, saying it’s a “few weeks away.”
In a post on the Android developers blog, Burke said: “We’re just a few weeks away from the official release of Android Q! As we put the final polish on the new platform, today we’re rolling out Beta 6, the last Beta update.
“Now is the time to make sure your apps are ready, before we bring the official release to consumers. Take this opportunity to finish up your testing and publish your app updates soon to give users a smooth transition to Android Q.”
That, and the urging for developers to “update your current apps for compatibility as soon as possible”, makes it almost certain the new OS will be here within the next month – well before Google debuts the Pixel 4 handsets, running Android Q.
So what’s new in Android Q beta 6? Well, as you’d expect this close to release, not an awful lot. We’re looking at “many new fixes and optimisations.” The key refinement seems to be the new Gesture Navigation with improvements to the Back gesture, including a sensitivity preference.
Android Q, which was officially previewed at Google I/O in May, will focus on three themes, which the company identifies under innovation, security and privacy and digital wellbeing. The OS will also embrace foldables, edge-to-edge screens, 5G connectivity and on-device machine learning.
As well as the notifications, there’s a brand new system-wide dark mode to look forward to and Bubbles, which will give users the opportunity to pull up floating versions of apps on top of content. For example, when you’ve got a notes app open, you’ll be able to pull up a text conversation over it, in order to send a quick reply.
There’s also new location tools that’ll give Android Q users finer controls over when applications can view their whereabouts. Other privacy-centric features limit apps’ access to device IMEI, serial number, and other identifying information. It also gives users a little more protection when using Wi-Fi networks by randomising the devices MAC (media access control) address.