Android Q: Everything you need to know

Android Q

Google announced Android 9 Pie on August 6, 2018, and despite being the earliest to be released in recent times, only a handful of devices will have received the OS by the close of the year. In fact, a good chunk of users are still waiting on Android Oreo to arrive over a year down the line, but talks of the next version of Android are already gathering pace.

Since we know Google’s naming scheme, we also know that the next version of the popular OS will be called Android Q, probably version 10.

Related: What inspired Android Pie update?

When will Android Q be released?

  • March 2019 outing expected for the developer preview build
  • May release for the public beta

The last time Google announced a new version of Android OS earlier than August 6 was back in 2012 with respect to Android Jelly Bean. With Android Q, we don’t expect the search giant to relent on its approach to releasing the next version of its OS as early as possible.

With this in mind, we expect to see Android Q developer preview 1 (Android Q DP1) to hit us sometime in mid-March, while the first public beta build could be out somewhere in May 2019, with the stable release to follow at about the same time as Android Pie – August 2019.


Which dessert will Google pick for Android Q?

Now that Android 9 P is officially called Android Pie, the question that’s on many enthusiasts’ minds is what dessert Google will pick for its next version of Android, Q. Honestly, there aren’t so many names that Google can pick from because, letter Q. The likes of Quesadilla, Quiche, and Quinoa are already emerging as fan favorites, but Google also has other options like Quail, Quesito, Qurabiya, Quaker Oats, Quenelle, Quinoa Pudding, and so on.

In short, let the guessing games begin for at the moment, what we know is what you know.

Will my device receive Android Q?

While some might be concerned about the name of the next version of Android Q, what others want to know is whether the OS will be released for their current devices.

At the moment, it’s not easy to tell. Typically, premium phones and a few midrangers receive two major OS upgrades in their lifetime, however, we recently saw OnePlus promising a third major OS upgrade for the OnePlus 3 and 3T. The two came with Android Marshmallow and are currently running Android Oreo, the second major OS upgrade since their 2016 launch. Whether other OEMs will follow this pattern is still early to tell, but with the help of Google Project Treble, we could see a change in future – a future that has Android Q in it.

As to whether your current device will receive Android Q, you can only be sure of this if you own one of those $700+ smartphones that come preinstalled with Android Oreo. But as pointed out, Treble could bring us a new dawn in terms of software updates, where more midrangers (and even budget phones from the likes of Nokia) with Oreo preinstalled will also join the high-end models in receiving Android Q updates.

Related: These devices will receive Android Pie update

What can I expect from Android Q?

The newly launched Android 9 Pie is a major overhaul of the OS as we know it, especially with respect to the user interface. The major highlight is the addition of new gesture controls that are expected to get even better in Android Q.

The fact that Android Pie represents a major change compared to Android Oreo and the versions before gives the impression that Android Q won’t be accompanied by yet another overhaul. Instead, the update will be more of an incremental upgrade building upon the changes introduced in Pie. Still, this doesn’t mean Android Q will be short of nifty features worth looking forward to.


Android Q features [Rumored]

A member from the XDA developers website managed to get their hands on an early leaked build of Android Q and installed it on the Google Pixel 3. As expected, at present not much is different from Android 9 Pie yet due to the fact that this is simply an early build and some features could be added while some could be removed.

Here are the new features added in the leaked Android Q build.

System-wide dark mode


The system-wide dark mode has made its way over to Android Q and it does indeed seem to be an actual ‘dark mode’ since all supported apps do switch to a dark theme when enabled. This was a feature heavily rumored to come with Android Q and we’re glad it’s already present in the early leaked build.

Enabling the dark mode feature is fairly easy; head over to Display settings and set dark mode. You also get the option for choosing Automatic to change the system theme from light mode to dark mode and vice versa based on the time of day. While it’s highly likely we would get to see dark mode officially in Android Q, night mode had been spotted in previous early Android builds as well but never made its way over to the official software.

Permissions enhancement


Android Pie brought along some revamped privacy features which allow users to have more control over the app permissions. With the leaked build, the permissions have been enhanced once again and users can restrict apps from using location in the background etc.

It seems Google intends to give users granular control over the app permissions which is a great move. The permissions page has also got a design overhaul and gone are the confusing toggles for each app and now apps simply show up in a clean allowed and denied list for each permission.

Samsung Dex-like feature


It seems Android Q would have a feature similar to Samsung’s Dex mode when connected to a display via HDMI. This information comes as a result of an option being added to the Developer options to force desktop mode. Unfortunately, as of now, the feature does not seem to work even when connected via an HDMI cable.

Since this is a very early leaked build, it could be possible the feature hasn’t been developed fully yet. Nevertheless, having a desktop mode on Android Q would be super useful since users would be able to do a lot more with their smartphones than they normally could.

New developer options


There are a lot more developer options added in the leaked Android Q build; however, this does not mean all these newly added options would make their way over to the official Android Q build. Once again the ability to enable freeform windows is added and there are several other new options such as Game Update Package Preferences, built-in screen recorder shortcut, show wallpaper on AOD, etc.

Most users were asking for a built-in screen recorder in Android Q and it might just be happening. There is not much information available about the Game Update Package Preference option yet and what it’s supposed to do.

Accessibility additions


There seem to be a few additions to the accessibility additions as well since the options for Time to take action and Time to read have been added. The time to take action feature lets pick “how long to show messages that ask you to take action, but are only visible temporarily.” Whereas the time to read feature lets you pick “how much time you want to read and take action on messages that automatically go away.”

It is worth noting that not all apps support this setting and the app developers would have to add support for the feature to their apps.

These were the major changes spotted in the leaked build of Android Q and we do expect to see a lot more additions and changes as well. Once again, it’s worth noting that these features can be taken forward or removed with the next few Android Q builds and may or may not make their way over to the official stable Android Q build.

As pointed out at the beginning, we don’t expect Android Q until somewhere in Q1 2019. That’s quite long, meaning there’s still plenty of time to speculate on what’s coming as part of the update. To make things a little easier, we’ve created a table with all the expected (rumored) features in Android Q and while some of them might materialize, we cannot guarantee which ones they are.

Android Q feature What it does
Assisted dialing Automatically adds a given country’s code to a dialed number. Quite a handy feature for international travelers.
Emoji 12.0 (Unicode 12.0) Adds emoji for a deaf person, emoji sequences for a couple holding hands, up to 55 skin tone and gender combinations, service animal vest changes to safety vest, new emoji characters for skunk, axe, a yawning face, kite, sloth, briefs, diving mask, onion, parachute, and more.
Desktop experience (for tablets) Allow users to use the device as a PC via a built-in desktop UI similar to Samsung DeX.
Multi-monitor support Ability to connect to an external monitor and keep using both screens (phone/tablet and monitor) at the same time, much like Samsung is already doing with the Galaxy Note 9 and Tab S4.
Manual Google Drive backups Back up files to Google Drive when on battery power or without Wi-Fi
Vulkan API for UI rendering Depending on how this technology is implemented, the end result could be better battery life as well as smoother animations and menu transitions.
Warning for users running apps whose target OS is Android Lollipop and older Android Q will warn users whenever they have an installed app that was developed to work on Android Lollipop or older operating systems.
Prevent incoming call’s ringtone from playing over a held call When you put a call on hold and in the process, even before you get your phone off the ear, another call comes in, your eardrum might get blasted if the ringtone volume is really high. Android Q will have a feature that prevents your phone’s ringtone from playing for an incoming call just in case there’s another on hold. Cool huh!
System-wide dark mode All preloaded apps (AOSP apps) in Android Q to support dark mode natively
Multi-resume feature This feature will allow Android Q users to run multiple apps simultaneously without pausing
New APIs for RCS support in third-party apps Android Q may open RCS to third-party app developers via new system APIs
Drop support for Android Beam Android Q may drop support for Android Beam APIs, a feature that lets users tap their phones together to share files, sites, photos, apps, and so on via NFC.
Remove support for seamlessly setting up Live Cases Android Q will drop support for the feature that lets users seamlessly set up Live Cases
Support ANGLE to make 2D game development easier Android Q will support ANGLE to make 2D game development easier. More details here.
More devices to get early access Android Q may let more users test the OS using GSI ahead of official AOSP release
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