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Android 10

10

Connecting to smart home and IoT devices on Android Q will be less of a hassle

Connecting to smart home and IoT devices on Android Q will be less of a hassle

One of the banes of my geeky existence is setting up and using smart home and IoT devices. Every manufacturer figures out one way to let you connect to their product and you have to follow their step-by-step guide to the letter, and even then, it's better to be prepared for frustration and a few retries. That's especially true for WiFi devices, but Android Q is ready to make things easier.

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[Update: Works for some] Android Q Beta introduces built-in screen recording, but it's broken for now

[Update: Works for some] Android Q Beta introduces built-in screen recording, but it's broken for now

Screen recording is pretty handy for people like us, but there's never been a native solution in Android. Some OEMs include it as part of their software enhancements, and there are third-party apps like AZ Screen Recorder, which is the one I've been using in recent years. As rumored previously, Google is baking one into the OS with Android Q, although it's pretty borked right now.

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18

Android Q's little bell icon will tell you which notification just came in

Android Q's little bell icon will tell you which notification just came in

Our phones receive a lot of notifications each day, and because we're busy people, it's hard to keep on top them. This leads to an anxiety-inducingly large number of items in notification shades everywhere, so much so that when a new alert fires, it's difficult to know which one is the most recent. Thankfully, Google has a new feature to help us out in Android Q.

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44

Android Q lets you easily switch audio output for playing media

Android Q lets you easily switch audio output for playing media

There are tons of small improvements in Android Q, and one you may find very handy is the ability to quickly switch your audio output when playing music. A new button in Now Playing notifications shows up and lets you pick whether you want audio to play through your phone's speaker or a connected Bluetooth device.

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54

Android Q brings native desktop mode support

Android Q brings native desktop mode support

Several manufacturers have looked at solutions to turn phones into full-featured workstations, the most recent one being Samsung with DeX. Sadly, most of these required a costly dock to connect to external monitors, keyboards and mice, which led to limited usage. Since the release of the Note 9, Samsung got rid of the need to use a cradle and let users directly connect the handset to a display using the built-in USB-C port, which made it easier to use the device as an actual computer. However, since the solution is specific to Samsung, apps have to be optimized specifically for DeX to work best when used in desktop mode, or would otherwise just be regular windowed Android apps.

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23

Android Q adds more useful alert options when long-pressing notifications

Android Q adds more useful alert options when long-pressing notifications

Google has made notification filtering one of the centerpieces of recent Android updates, and Android Q has yet another enhancement in this area. Long-pressing notifications in Q provides more useful options for managing how that app pings you in the future. The granular controls are still there if you want to dig into the settings, though.

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Android Q lets you set default apps for call screening and emergency information

Android Q lets you set default apps for call screening and emergency information

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Android Q adds more foldable phone features, which app developers will surely use

Android Q adds more foldable phone features, which app developers will surely use

As part of today's Android Q Beta Program announcement, Google revealed a handful of changes made to the platform to better help developers build software support for folding form-factors. In addition, the Android Emulator will soon be updated to support switching between display types (i.e., folding and unfolding). Surely developers will get right on that.

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32

Android Q has a brand new Files app, with filters and updated Material Theme

Android Q has a brand new Files app, with filters and updated Material Theme

Android's built-in file manager hasn't received much love over the years. In fact, until the Oreo update, it didn't even have its own icon in the launcher on stock Android. The app has received a facelift in the Android Q beta, along with a few new features.

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24

Developers take note: Android Q will block even more undocumented APIs

Developers take note: Android Q will block even more undocumented APIs

Google's been trying to crack down harder on unofficial, non-public APIs a lot harder since Android P, and that pressure is set to further increase with Android Q. The hammer has dropped: If your app targets Android Q, there's a much larger pile of non-SDK APIs that it can't include. And if Google sticks to its previous schedule, that means you'll need to cut that non-public API use by next fall.

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