Android Q beta a month after: dark mode is awesome, some apps are broken



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The first two Q beta are usable with some frustrations.

Angela Lang / CNET

I used Android Q – Google's beta software available on its Pixel phones – every day for a month and up to now, I can say that it contains a few additions that I like a lot, some adjustments that make my phone easier to use and some bugs that I want Google to fix.

The first drafts of any new operating system are interesting because they indicate the direction a company takes and give you the opportunity to try a feature before it is finished. But they can also be unstable because a company is solving problems. I still wanted to use it to find out what types of Android Q treats we will bring later this summer or this fall, when Google plans to release Q to the general public.

Google has published the first public beta of Q on March 18th and the second beta April 3rd. The software runs on any Pixel device and allows interested Android owners to view upcoming features and help Google identify problems with preliminary software and applications.

Unless you need to use it for your work – or have a spare pixel on which you want to try it – running from scratch. an early beta may not be the best use of your time. With Q, Google focuses largely on privacy, giving Android owners more control over the data they share and setting stricter limits on what information apps can request. It also includes small modifications useful to the interface and commands.

Google clearly explains what you do with Android Q, warning before installing the mobile operating system that the pre-release software contains important changes that may affect photos, videos, and other files that you store on your phone. I was curious enough to intervene anyway. At the end of a month, here is everything that characterizes Android Q so far.

Where Android Q is already solid

You expect strange behavior when running a beta version. Google said the system could be "janky". But over the last month, I've been using Android Q and my Pixel 2 to stream movies on my TV and music on my car's audio system, browse the central California coast with Maps, check email, listen to podcasts, take pictures, make calls, send messages to family and friends … basically everything I do regularly on my phone. Except for some trouble that I will discuss in a few moments, Q has been stable and usable, despite Google's warnings.

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You can force Q in dark mode.

Screen capture Clifford Colby / CNET

Dark mode. In my eyes, everything seems better in dark mode. Android Pie finally allowed to apply a dark theme via the display settings. This setting has disappeared in the first two beta versions of Q, but you can still force it into dark mode. In the battery settings, if you turn on the battery saver (designed to preserve the battery charge), you can switch the phone to dark mode when you unplug it.

And Q's dark mode appears in more places than Pie's, which is nice.

More info on the lock screen. The Q lock screen displays more interesting and useful notifications, such as the song being played or your expected arrival time if you are using a transit application such as Citymapper.

More comments. When you use Q, you get charge sound and vibration when you plug in the phone to charge it. And when you select text, you get a haptic feedback. At first, it's a bit annoying to feel my phone vibrate more, but I appreciate the notification that I plugged it in.

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Android Q displays more information about the battery.

Screen capture Clifford Colby / CNET

Useful battery level indicators. Android Pie indicates the status of the battery via an icon in the status bar. Q goes further and displays the battery level as a percentage to the right of the battery icon. When unplugged, you can swipe the status bar down to view an estimate of your battery life. Does this make the bar cleaner cleaner? Maybe not. Is this information more usable? For me, yes.

Quick access to emergency information. I do not intend to use it, but hold down the power button, whether the phone is locked or unlocked, to display an emergency shortcut. It appears under the Shut Down, Restart, and Screen Capture buttons. Tap the shortcut to view your phone's keypad and access your emergency information if you've completed them. (You can include your name, address, blood type, medications and contacts in the emergency information).

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Tap the Share button to create a QR code.

Screen capture Clifford Colby / CNET

Sharing Wireless details. New visitors should no longer type or retype the super-secret Wi-Fi password to access the network. In Android Q, I can create a QR code containing Wi-Fi information that visitors can then scan to connect.

Where Android Q is still a work in progress

No deal breakers, but Q has some problems that do not seem to me yet ready to use and that have led me to change the way I use my phone.

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The Photos application can behave strangely.

Screen capture Clifford Colby / CNET

Some applications do not work as expected. Google notes in Q that some applications have known issues. One of them is the Photos application, which does not handle the photos as expected. I can take pictures with the camera, but I can not apply filters to them in the camera or in photo applications.

And some apps do not work at all. Mozilla's two Android browsers – Firefox and Focus – close just after pressing to open them. However, Chrome works fine, like other Chromium-based browsers, such as Opera and Brave.

Next to Q

In the second beta, Google added bubble notifications, that act a lot like the Facebook Messenger chat heads and provide a way for applications to view a notification. Developers need to add bubble notifications to their apps. None of the apps I've installed are using them yet, but I can not wait to see them in action.

As for the future, Google has announced its intention to publish four more beta versions of here spring and summer before the final release in the third quarter.

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Google intends to publish Q in the third quarter.

Google


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