Android 10 is officially out of beta and is now available in its final form for all Google Pixel phones. This means the final version of Android 10 is now rolling out for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL phones – if you happen to be on the latest beta build, the update weighs in at just 6.2MB. Going by the nature of such updates, your eligible Pixel phone may not get the Android 10 update right away. As for third-party devices, the Essential Phone and Xiaomi’s Redmi K20 Pro (China-variant only) are also getting the stable Android 10 update same day as Google’s Pixel phones.
Android 10 does not look very different from Android 9 and yet it’s possibly one of the biggest updates to Android to date. Not only does it bring a new iPhone-inspired gesture navigation system and system-wide dark mode, Android 10 also brings stricter privacy controls and what Google is calling the “right balance with technology for you and your family.” Here are a few Android 10 features worth talking about.
--Project Mainline: Project Mainline is claimed to be a “new approach to keeping Android users secure and their devices up-to-date with important code changes, direct from Google Play." This means certain OS components will be able to update in the background, similar to how one updates an app from the Play Store. Not only will this ensure faster updates, it will also bring with it the convenience to never reboot your device post a software update.
--Focus Mode: Google’s digital wellbeing feature is being expanded to include a new per-app based Focus Mode in Android 10. The feature will allow users to selectively mute certain apps – it's launching in beta for now though.
--Family Link: Parents will be able to not only set app-specific time limits for their children in Android 10, but also add bonus time which Google says has been a highly requested feature.
--Smart Reply: Smart Reply which was first introduced in Gmail will now work inside any messaging app (SMS, WhatsApp et al) to suggest replies in notifications in Android 10. Google says the feature will be also able to ‘intelligently predict your next action.’ For instance, if someone texts you an address, Smart Reply can take you straight to Google Maps. If someone sends you a YouTube video, it can take you straight to YouTube. No cut, copy, paste required.
--Live Caption: Live Caption will automatically caption media that’s playing audio on your device by pressing a button. There are two breakthrough advantages of Live Caption – it can work across any app, as long as there’s audio playing, and it works on-device without needing internet (cellular or Wi-Fi). Live Caption isn’t available immediately though – the feature will be available later this year beginning with Google Pixel phones.
(Photo by Saurabh Singh)