Close to six months after the first beta release, Google is finally rolling out the final release of Android 10 operating system. Formerly known as Android Q, it was just recently named as Android 10. To start with, Google has released the software update for select Pixel smartphones. Other than Pixel hardware, Xiaomi’s Redmi K20 Pro has started receiving MIUI10 stable updates based on Android 10. Even OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro are among the first few phones to receive Android 10 beta update, with the stable build to be released soon.
Android is being used on over 2.5 million active devices and by over 180 device makers across the world. This 10th major update of the Android software has features powered by on-device machine learning and will support new technologies like Foldables and 5G. Aiming to offer users greater protection, transparency, and control over their data, Google has introduced close to 50 changes related to privacy and security. Google claims to have built this on the top of ongoing commitment to providing industry-leading security and privacy protections on Android.
Security and privacy
To start with, there will be a dedicated Privacy section under Settings, where users will be able to find all important controls in one place. Under Settings, there will be a new location section providing more transparency and granular control over the location data shared with apps.
Users will be able to choose if they want to share the location data with apps while using respective apps. Moreover, they will receive reminders when an app accesses location in the background so that they may decide whether or not continue with sharing. Android 10 also provides protections for other sensitive device information such as serial numbers.
With Android 10, Google is introducing a fast way of getting the latest security and privacy updates. Google plans to update important OS components in the background, similar to the way apps are updated. This would mean that users will get the latest security fixes, privacy enhancements and consistency improvements as soon as they are available without having to reboot the device.
Over the last ten years, Android was the first to have many new technologies – OLED displays, predictive typing, high density and large screens with edge-to-edge glass. Android 10 has been designed to support the next big tech in smartphones – foldable phone displays and 5G. Google claims that Android 10 intends to support the potential of foldable devices – from multi-tasking to adapting to different screen dimensions. Android 10 offers app developers’ tools to build for faster connectivity and enhancing the experience of gaming and augmented reality.
On the innovation front, Google is witnessing many first in software drive-by on-device machine learning such as Live Caption. With a single tap, Live Caption will automatically caption media that’s playing audio on your phone. Live Caption works with videos, podcasts and audio messages across any app-even stuff users record themselves. As soon as speech is detected, captions will appear without Wi-Fi or cell phone data.
On-device machine learning also powers Smart Reply, which is now built into the notification system in Android, allowing any messaging app to suggest replies in notifications. Smart Reply will also intelligently predict the next action-for example, if someone sends an address, a tap can open the address in Maps application.
Enhanced digital wellbeing
With Android Pie, Google had introduced a set of Digital Wellbeing, helping users have control of their phone’s usage. App timers helped people stick to their goals over 90 per cent of the time. With Android 10, there will be some new features. Focus mode will be the one that will help users select distracting apps and silence them to focus on what they are doing. Google also plans to make Family Link part of every device that has Digital Wellbeing (starting with Android 10) and much-requested features such as bonus time and the ability to set app-specific time limits.