Although Android Pie only recently left the oven, Google is staying true to its annual mobile operating system releases and is set to announce Android Q in March.
The Android makers have been teasing new features that users can expect in the next Android update – 10.0, and some could have a significant impact on the way everyday users interact with your apps.
Below, we’ve put together four of the biggest features that are expected to come packaged as part of Android Q and share advice on how to prepare for its release and rollout in 2019…
Be ready for foldable phones
Samsung and Apple have both made it clear that they wanted to release their own foldable smartphones in the future, but the South Korean tech giant pipped the Cupertino firm to the post and will reportedly start selling its Galaxy Fold device in 2019.
While some tech critics say that foldable technology is nothing more than a fad right now, there’s no denying that the tech will change the way we use our smartphones in the long-run – and Google is on board.
The Android makers have already confirmed that version 10.0 will support foldable displays for the first time, so app developers should prepare for a new wave of user interface design when the smartphone is released.
Google has already introduced several features that will suit dual-screen devices, like power saving mode that turns off screens when they’re not in use, but it remains to be seen what capabilities developers will have from day one with Q.
However, there are endless possibilities for developers to add new functionality to devices with foldable screens.
Indeed, you could effectively offer a desktop or tablet experience on a smartphone, and give users more controls, access to more information, and improve the levels of customisation in your app, whether it’s for business or leisure purposes.
Update older apps
Google announced a new Play Store policy in 2018 that will encourage developers to make apps that work with Android 8.0 and above, and its likely Android Q will take that to the next level and encourage users to stop using older apps, just as Apple did with iOS 11 in 2017.
As an app developer or business with a mobile app, you should make sure your apps are fully compatible with the latest Android operating systems and are up to date.
Android apps should work on Lollipop devices and above.
If you’re using outdated code or your app hasn’t been updated in a long time, Google may warn users not to download it, which could affect engagement rates and encourage people to try out one of your competitors’ apps instead.
Enjoy more time for beta testing
At the Android Dev Summit last year, Google announced that it would be making the next iteration of its operating system available to developers for testing purposes before it officially launches.
In the past, Google has been criticised for limiting its beta testing rollouts, leaving many without access until the general release.
Last year, the firm offered limited beta access with Android Pie, but many developers and businesses were left in the dark.
It’s hoped this strategy will help developers become acquainted with the new updates and increase adoption rates of upcoming Android releases, which are slow in comparison to iOS.
Many argue that the fragmentation of Android puts many people off from innovating on the platform, as only a small number of users upgrade to the latest version (or can if their carrier locks them into an older operating system release).
As a developer, that means testing and optimising an app across many versions of the operating system, which can result in delayed product launches, broken or inefficient functionality, and more expensive app development.
Get your dark mode on
One long-requested feature that is set to be released in Android Q is a Dark Mode.
Google has said that the new Dark Mode will cut down battery consumption on OLED devices, and help to make users more productive on their devices, especially when working in the dark.
Google is working on adding a system-wide dark mode, revamped privacy permissions for apps and other minor UI tweaks to Android Q, as per a leaked build obtained by XDA. https://t.co/Zg4uKFbZbx pic.twitter.com/NkHzjicF83
— iTD (@iTDfeed) January 20, 2019
Apple has failed to offer a Dark Mode on iOS thus far, although it brought the feature to macOS in 2018 as part of Mojave.
Google is leading the way with Android Q, and following a growing number of developers who have implemented dark mode features (Reddit, Twitter).
As a developer, it’s unknown whether you’ll need to make changes to your app to support Android’s system-wide dark mode, but if you’re already offering your own dark mode with custom programming, it’s likely that this can be removed.
This will reduce the size of your app file package and help you to deliver a streamlined, more efficient app to your users.
There are very few sweet treats beginning with the letter Q – Quality Street, or the Puerto Rican Quesito, perhaps? – which has lead many critics to ponder whether Google will be moving away from its sweet-related naming cycles to something more traditional.
Some have even questioned whether Google plans to phase out its Android branding entirely and slap the Google logo on the operating system, though that’s unlikely as Android is synonymous in the mobile world and it would take years of marketing and pushing for users to get used to it.
Whatever Google has planned for Android 10, we can expect to hear more in March, with a beta period in May and a general release in August 2019.
It’s an exciting time to be an Android app developer – and the changes coming in 10.0 and beyond will help to make our apps more inventive, customer-focused and streamlined than ever before.
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