Updated: Android Q And What it Means For Chrome OS

Published by Lamin Kanteh on

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News outlets have been all over rumors pertaining to what Google’s next iteration of it’s mobile platform will entail as details about new additions and discarded changes began to slowly take shape.

Despite the large fragmentation within the Android Ecosystem — the lack of uniformity meaning very few brand of Android devices get the latest version of the platform as soon as it is made available– enthusiast of the Mobile OS always relish new details as what the new package might contain during this time of the year.

The previous version of the mobile operating system (Android Pie) did introduce some major overall system overhaul meaning a similar approach is unlikely to occur this time around but doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing interesting changes and juicy additions being applied to the newest version of Android.

A leak  through the ever reliable XDA developers platform has shed light on possible new interesting arrivals like a System Wide Dark Mode, Additional Accessibility Options, Samsung DeX-like Desktop Mode, Expanded Developers options being the biggest.

The leak suggest this is an early build of Android Q running on Google Pixel 3XL handset and there is a great chance even more additions will be made to the already mentioned features and some might get axed when the final build arrives.

But, nevertheless, excitement is at the maximum and expectation is very high.

The system-wide dark option was said to make its maiden arrival on Android back in October last year and though things got a little quiet after that, its inclusion through the early build of Q means the team behind the platform is continuing working in the background, with the feature pretty likely to make the cut when final build is open to the public.

From what we’ve seen so far, the feature can be activated directly from the Display Settings by simply tapping the “Set Dark mode” option.

You can expand the setting to affect almost every part of the system including  the Settings, Launcher, Launcher settings, and Files app. Even the volume panel, Quick Settings panel, and notifications all turn black.

The feature even affects third-party notifications like download notifications from Google Chrome which begs the question as to how native apps like Google Phone app, Google Contacts, Messages, Google News, Google Play Games, YouTube will interact with the new feature since all of these apps have options for dark themes.

Android Q Dark Mode

Through intense deciphering, developers were able to unearth what is called a “force desktop mode.” with a description that reads “force experimental desktop mode on secondary displays.” potentially indicating a Samsung DeX-like Desktop Mode.

With Android Pie, Google seem to made a huge push towards guarding users privacy with security-centric changes made that affects how apps use your data, from what have gathered from the incomplete Android Q build, the search giant seem to have doubled down on privacy.

The big permissions revamp in the Settings now  allows you to get an overview of permission access by apps and restrict certain permissions like location stop apps from tracking you even when not in use.

Android Q Permission Revamp

These features do signal that there are exciting times ahead for Android but how does it stack up against the broader Ecosystem which includes ChromeOS?

With Android apps playing an intricate part within Chrome OS going forward, it is no surprise that the search giant is putting manpower and resources to develop a native version of a Dex-like Desktop Mode which in turn means Android apps are going to integrate better within Chrome OS.

Developers will have to make their apps transition seamlessly from touch-based mobile phone display to a bigger desktop display with support for both mouse and keyboard needing little to no adjustments when they downloaded on a Chrome OS-based device.

This would further strenthen an already strong bond between Android and Chrome OS should Q ever get pushed over to Chrome.

With Google skipping Android 8.0 and going straight to version 9 of the mobile OS in the dev channel –the stable build is stuck with Android 7.0–, there is a huge chance Q will be hitting the Chrome OS sooner rather than later.

Update!

Facial recognition tech have been around for a while but it was Apple’s pitch to sell more IPhone Xs that actually shone a brighter light on the inner workings of the technology itself.

Microsoft was actually among the first companies to adopt Face ID like authentication functions on mobile devices when it launched both the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Microsoft Lumia 950 XL devices.

But when Apple decided to adopt facial recognition technology to its smartphone lineup, the Cupertino-based company improved on what is already available using a combination of several components that includes Time of Flight (TOF) sensor, IR illuminator, dot projector in conjunction of several sensors for hardware facial recognition.

This, it called Face ID and allows users to seamlessly log on to their devices to a access sensitive data by only having their faces scanned.

Android devices do have their own variation of the technology but it is not as secure as Apple’s Face ID due to relying on a single camera sensor to authenticate faces.

Evidently, this approach have been documented to be less secure since the system can be spoofed with a likeable photo or face.

Through what the guys at XDA were able to dig from the early build of Android Q they are currently tinkering with, the team have come across code that suggests Google is working on putting together frameworks necessary for a Face ID like implementation on upcoming Android devices.

We’ve beared witness to several features eventually seeping through to Chrome OS after being fully adopted on Android –the two are practically cousins now — and a Windows Hello-like-feature for Chromebooks could totally be on the cards.

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Lamin Kanteh

I live, breath, and dream technology. I've only known myself to push the boundaries on what's possible in my mental scope in relation to technology. And having been a writer for the good part of the past three years (covering varying subjects on the major mobile platforms), No place has ever felt more like home than Chrome OS. And as you may know, Chrome OS is ushering us into a future of the unknown and I'm here to help in the process of easing the way into that future via ItsChromeOS.

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