Android Q Engineering Reddit AMA: Roundup of Everything Important You Need to Know

Nokia 7.1 Screen
Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1 Screen

Reddit’s AMA(Ask Me Anything) is a great feature for discussions between people and  Google’s Android Engineering team recently had an AMA session on the /r/AndroidDev subreddit to answer on some Android Q beta questions.

The AMA was an hour and a half long and here’s a roundup of everything important you need to know.

Improvements on Dark Mode

One feature that was there before Android Q was a time-based dark mode which got killed off. According to Google, it hasn’t been removed but deprecated as it required apps to request locations permission and also sunset and sunrise calculations were buggy.

Android Q brings system-wide dark mode when it officially rolls out but for now, the dark mode can be only be enabled in Settings or when Batter Saver is activated.

Nightlight on Android Nougat uses sunset/sunrise schedule that uses a lot of code to work and the Google team doesn’t want that but according to AMA, they are looking into it.

Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson added that users should expect that all Google apps will have a dark theme by the time Android Q is officially launched for consumers.

Background apps won’t be killed when removed from recent apps

Google is working on fixing this inconvenience experienced especially if you use devices from Chinese smartphone manufacturers where an app gets killed off if it continues running in the background as a battery saving feature. Google said that they’ve added a CTS test in Android Q to ensure that an app is not killed upon being swiped from Recents.

A more dynamic gesture bar on Android Q

The gesture bar on Android Q is static and doesn’t move with your finger and unnecessarily hangs around. On the AMA, Google said that they are working to not only make the navigation bar less static but also balance where it appears or disappears.

Third-party launchers will eventually work with gestures

Early last month people noticed that the latest Android Q beta was breaking default gesture navigation making third-party launchers switch to the three navigation buttons since Google hasn’t found a way for seamless transitions. In the AMA, Google said that they’re working to fix this issue.

However, it was clarified that that will be after Android Q is released to be backported for new devices launching with Q. So yes, you’ll be able to use Nova or Lawnchair launcher.

Improvements on Privacy

According to Charmaine D’Silva, product manager for privacy on Android, the new SMS and Call Log policies they introduced to limit the types of apps that could request for these permissions have led to more than a 98% decrease in the number of apps with access to this sensitive information.

Google also announced that they’re improving on “Scoped Storage”, a security and privacy feature that limits apps access to files on external storage such as music apps needing permission to see your gallery.

Developers had complaints about the Storage Access Framework(SAF) API but Google said that they have addressed this issue and brought performance improvements in the latest Android Q Beta.

Better screen recording

Smartphone vendors have better forms of screen recording and Google said it is considering how to do native better screen recording as they play catch-up.

Scrolling Screenshots on Android R

Google said that they’re working to bring improvements to the whole screen-[X] experience for R including scrollable screenshots mentioned early this year.

Other notable updates:

  • Improved Android Q native desktop mode for OEMs to innovate around.
  • Google added new requirements for all phones launching with Android Q to natively support HALv3/camera2 API to let third-party camera apps to use the secondary or tertiary camera modules. The Night Sight feature on Google’s Pixels might be available to other camera apps.
  • Google praised Project Treble for increasing the number of OEMs adopting Android Pie and Android Q beta and noted that Android Pie adoption was triple Android Oreo adoption by late 2018. More useful metrics for the Android version distribution chart are also coming.
  • Updates to Project Mainline’s Run Time and longer support length to its modules is being considered.
  • No, custom ROMs won’t be killed by Dynamic System Updates that make use of logical partitions. Google assured developers that this feature is not to constrain their custom ROMs.
  • Android might bring wireless ADB.
  • Android tablets are not going the way of the dodo – Google is still working with device manufacturers to ensure that they ship some awesome tablet devices.

Keep up with everything Android Q here.


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