Although the steady launch of Android 14 has but to drop, Google went forward and launched the primary beta of Android’s subsequent launch earlier this week. No, not Android 15, however quite Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1. QPR1 shall be Android 14’s first quarterly platform launch, an interim replace that brings some new options and plenty of bug fixes (however not any new APIs for builders).
Android 14 QPR1 will possible be launched for Pixel telephones in December as a part of that month’s Pixel Characteristic Drop, Google’s quarterly launch of latest Pixel-exclusive options. Nevertheless, Android 14 QPR1 can even be included into Android’s supply code, so any OEM can choose the options they discover interesting. Few, if any, system producers will roll out software program updates primarily based on Android 14 QPR1, although, as they’ll as a substitute select to attend for Android 15, which can incorporate all adjustments from QPR1, QPR2, and QPR3.
Which means if you wish to expertise what the upcoming replace at the moment has to supply, you’ll want to have a Pixel telephone enrolled within the Android 14 QPR1 beta. In case you’re interested by what’s new however don’t need to take care of any of the beta’s bugs, I’ve received a rundown of what to anticipate.
Observe: this breakdown of options in Android 14 QPR1 is predicated on findings throughout the Beta 1 construct. There shall be extra betas, which might add, take away, or change a few of these options.
Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1: Each new characteristic you possibly can attempt
Whereas not most new options usually are not explicitly highlighted by Google in its launch notes, there are a selection of user-facing options which are accessible so that you can attempt with the QPR1 beta put in in your Pixel telephone. Right here’s what I discovered:
Overriding an app’s side ratio
That is the one new characteristic in Android 14 QPR1 that Google formally documented, and it’s aimed toward large-screen gadgets just like the Pixel Fold and Pixel Pill. By way of a brand new settings menu, you possibly can override an app’s side ratio to lastly pressure apps like Instagram and Reddit into full display. This characteristic isn’t unique to Pixel gadgets. My article for Android Authority has a bunch of screenshots exhibiting the side ratio settings and totally different modes you possibly can choose from.
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Utilizing your telephone as a webcam
Most smartphones supply vastly superior video high quality than your laptop computer’s built-in webcam, so why not use your Android telephone as a webcam in your PC? Whereas there are many apps that allow you to do that, they usually require putting in some software program in your telephone and your PC. Android 14 QPR1 on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 sequence provides a brand new “webcam” choice to USB preferences that turns your telephone right into a wired webcam.
The approach this characteristic works below the hood is a bit sophisticated, however the advantages are that it really works seamlessly with nearly any platform (Home windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, and even Android itself), and it doesn’t require any extra software program. Oh, and this characteristic additionally isn’t unique to Pixel telephones: It’ll be a part of Android 14’s supply code, however it’ll be as much as OEMs to allow it.
Viewing your telephone’s battery well being
Android 14 QPR1 permits you to see some stats about your telephone’s battery, particularly its cycle depend (what number of cost and discharge cycles it’s gone by way of) and manufacture date. These stats might be accessed by going to Settings > About telephone > Battery info.
Whereas any Android system can technically present these stats, many aren’t set as much as show this data, so your mileage could range about what info you’ll see right here.
Switching to the brand new “Metro” lock display clock
One of many key personalization options Google developed in Android 14 for Pixel telephones is lock display clock customization. Pixel customers can open the Wallpaper & Kinds app to choose from a set of various clock types, which now features a new “Metro” type in Android 14 QPR1.
Retaining apps open if you shut the Pixel Fold
One of many options I wished Google to copy from Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 is “proceed apps on cowl display,” which lets you choose apps that you just need to proceed utilizing on the outer display if you fold the telephone. Android 14 QPR1 kind of has this, besides you’re not choosing apps from a menu.
Exhibiting solely new notifications on the lock display
On the Pixel Pill, there’s a brand new “present solely new notifications on lock display” toggle below Settings > Notifications. This setting, which is enabled by default, “robotically take away[s] beforehand considered notifications from the lock display.”
Setting a unique reside wallpaper on the lock display and residential display
Imagine it or not, Android has by no means earlier than allow you to set a unique reside wallpaper on the lock display and residential display, regardless that reside wallpaper help was launched again in 2009. Due to adjustments in Android 14, although, the lock display can now set its personal reside wallpaper independently of the house display.
Though this transformation solely went reside for Pixels within the Android 14 QPR1 beta, it’s truly a part of the core Android 14 OS, so any OEM can allow it. Nevertheless, Google solely enabled this transformation by default in QPR1, so some OEM flavors of Android 14 could not have this.
Altering a Bluetooth audio system’s sort
When Android connects to a Bluetooth system, it communicates with the system to determine what sort of system it’s and what it helps. Extra obscure gadgets could generally not be acknowledged and seem mislabeled in settings. That’s why Android 14 QPR1 now permits you to select the “audio system sort” of a linked Bluetooth system. You’ll be able to choose between a speaker, headphones, automotive equipment, listening to support, or different. Sure options like spatial audio and listening to support preferences are solely accessible when the system sort is about to “headphones” and “listening to support,” respectively, for instance.
Selecting a most popular frequency in your hotspot
The “lengthen compatibility” toggle in Android’s Wi-Fi hotspot settings has been changed with a “pace & compatibility” web page, which helps you to choose between 2.4 and 5GHz or 6GHz frequencies for a hotspot.
Exhibiting bodily key presses
Android is including a brand new developer choice that “present[s] visible suggestions for bodily key presses.” In case you, for instance, press the quantity up key, a dialog seems on the backside of the display that claims “VOLUME_UP.”
Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1: Each hidden characteristic
Whereas there are many user-facing options in QPR1 Beta 1, there are some adjustments that aren’t as apparent, or that lay the groundwork for future builds. Listed below are those that I’ve discovered:
Finding your Pixel telephone even when it’s off
If you wish to discover your misplaced Android telephone, your finest wager is to fireside up Discover My Gadget on one other Android system or PC since Google’s service is baked into each Android telephone. Nevertheless, Discover My Gadget can solely at the moment find gadgets which are on-line, no less than till the Discover My Gadget community rolls out. Even then, although, it gained’t be capable to find gadgets which are powered off.
That would change for choose Pixel telephones in Android 14 QPR1, although, as code throughout the OS suggests you’ll be capable to find them even after they’re powered off.
Looking out your telephone utilizing the floating search bar
Android 12 launched a highly effective on-device search engine that allows you to search by way of your apps, contacts, settings, and extra. Android 14 QPR1 is getting ready a revamp to the best way you entry that search engine. The brand new floating search bar sits atop your keyboard within the app drawer as a substitute of on the high of the display. It additionally follows you to the current display, not like earlier than. A video of the brand new floating search bar might be discovered on Android Authority so you possibly can see how this characteristic works in motion.
Manufacturing unit resetting your telephone earlier than you ship it in for restore gained’t be vital
Code inside Android 14 QPR1 suggests you’ll be capable to enter a “restore mode” on Pixel telephones. This restore mode will present a “safe setting for system restore,” which sounds quite a bit like Upkeep Mode on Samsung telephones. Nevertheless, it’ll possible work in a different way than Samsung’s model of the characteristic.
Bringing again Google Now on Faucet…kinda?
Google Now on Faucet could have been short-lived, however it was (and nonetheless is) a really beloved characteristic. Its religious successor is Google Assistant’s “search display” button, which is powered by Google Lens. To entry that button, although, it’s a must to first name up the Assistant. Android 14 QPR1 is getting ready a brand new long-press display search gesture that’ll skip that step. Sadly, that gesture at the moment doesn’t work.
Saving an app pair
Google has been engaged on letting you save an app pair — a pair of apps that launch side-by-side in split-screen mode — since Android 14 Beta 2. Now, in QPR1, the characteristic is getting nearer to launch. Whereas app pairs can now be saved to the house display and launched, they don’t have an icon and might’t be renamed.
As I beforehand reported, Android is getting help for saving an app pair, and extra progress has been made on this characteristic. In Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1, now you can truly save and launch an app pair. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have an icon and might’t be renamed. pic.twitter.com/3AgTJHFcHySeptember 20, 2023
Turning your telephone over to panorama whereas on the lock display
Android’s lock display has been locked (no pun meant) to portrait mode for the reason that starting, apart from on tablets and different large-screen gadgets. In Android 14 QPR1, although, Google is making an attempt to optimize the lock display in order that it may be utilized in panorama mode on telephones.
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Enhancing the house display
The Pixel Launcher is getting ready a brand new “edit house display” choice that may allow you to add or take away a number of objects from a house display web page with out having to consistently reselect objects.
Updating the firmware of the Pixel Pill’s (unreleased) stylus and keyboard
The Pixel Pill launched with none first-party keyboard or stylus equipment, regardless that it helps USI 2.0. Earlier this yr, a retail demo app leaked the existence of Google’s keyboard and stylus equipment for the Pixel Pill. Now, new code inside Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1 means that each equipment shall be “good,” i.e., they’ll be able to receiving firmware updates. Android’s Settings app will seemingly inform customers when both accent has a firmware replace accessible.
Talking of which, Android 14 QPR1 additionally features a new “movement prediction” machine studying mannequin that’s designed to scale back the perceived latency of drawing/handwriting with a stylus.
Placing bubbles right into a bubble bar
Google’s getting ready a revamp of Android’s chat bubbles characteristic, no less than on large-screen gadgets. A brand new bubble bar will seem on the backside proper that homes your chat bubbles. We don’t know what the bubble bar will seem like, although.
Turning on an on the spot hotspot
Little is thought about this hidden setting proper now, however there’s an “on the spot hotspot” characteristic within the works. My guess is it’ll improve the hotspot characteristic of Chromebook’s Telephone Hub by some means.
Pixel updates web page
The “system replace” web page is perhaps getting a revamp that exhibits whether or not your OS, Venture Mainline modules, and Pixel system apps are up-to-date. At the moment, this web page solely exhibits your OS model.
Utilizing your present lock display wallpaper as your display saver
Android 14 QPR1 prepares to sync your lock display and display saver. A brand new setting will allow you to “use your present lock display wallpaper” as your “dream” (code-name for display saver).
That’s every little thing I discovered up to now in Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1. I do know it’s quite a bit to soak up, however QPR1 is often the place the most important new options are added because it’s the place Google tries to align issues with their new Pixel launch. In distinction, QPR2 and particularly QPR3 shall be lighter on options, as Google shall be knee-deep into Android 15’s growth by then.