Last week saw the Android version and many new features to join. This week from March 16th to the 21st came even more with it, along with some Pie updates, Google's new game message and more.
More Android Q Features
We had a massive list of Android Q features in last week's Android news roundup, and of course more of that kind of stuff continued to trickle out this week. While the list is not quite so long, there are still many interesting things here.
- Android Q can get bubbles with head-like message bubbles for other apps. This sounds interesting, useful and potentially annoying at the same time. [XDA Developers]
- The same line (but the opposite) blows Google down on whole window overlays like chat heads. This permission will be severely restricted for page-loaded apps, but slightly open with things installed from the Play Store. [Android Police]
- There is a hidden setting in Pixel Launcher on Android Q that provides more iOS-like gesture navigation. Please, Google, for the love of all that is sacred, steals this feature. The IPhone gesture navigation is so good. [XDA Developers]
- Does not disturb the settings can be customized in Android Q. Cool. [Android Police]
- The squircles come! While not directly connected to Android Q, Google Play changes store requirements to make each icon a tip. Okay then! [XDA Developers]
Android Q has been out for more than a week now. I've run it on my Pixel 1XL for testing, and that's honest … just fine. It's this weird mix of "this feels just like Pie", but is also downloaded with a lot of new, subtle features. Enhanced permissions are a real highlight for me, with iOS-like options being able to allow apps location (and other) permissions only under the foreground. It is a blessing for integrity.
Google News: Google Stages, Future Gaming (maybe)
Google announced this week, its new gaming streaming platform. Honestly, it is much cooler than I think someone was expecting. Here it is lean, followed by some thoughts.
- If you want to know what Stadia is about, Review Geek has covered you. [Review Geek]
- If you want the CliffsNotes version, Google released a four-minute version of the live message. Thanks, Google! [YouTube]
- Because Stadia will need content, there is a partner program that offers free development hardware. It should make a good start. [9to5Google]
- We covered (on our sister site, Review Geek) three things that Stadia needs to succeed. [Review Geek]
- Kotaku asked Stadia Boss Phil Harrison some things about the service. He even answered part of it. [Kotaku]
Here's how: Stadia looks amazing. Promise of 4K 60fps game-something that my PS4 Pro can't do, thinking you-streamed over the internet is a thinking concept. But that's the thing: it's still basically a concept. There is a lot we do not know, such as pricing, necessary internet speeds, game catalog and model. Will it be a flat monthly rate where you can stream anything you want, or will you have to buy one-on-one games? It is the first question that must be answered, and I have seen several different opinions on how different journalists think this will work.
Likewise, if it is an all-you-can-eat model, it must be priced aggressively. If it's over $ 14.99 a month out of the gate, it's likely to be dead in the water. $ 9.99 (or less!) Would be a good starting point. then the prices can rise when there are more functions and games.
But the biggest question in my mind? Will Google actually support Stadia ? I have covered Google's services and Android for almost a decade, and if I have learned anything during that time, it is that Google is bad at announcing great-looking products or services just to never deliver any of it and let the service die two or three years later. I really hope this is not the case with Stadia, because this is a service that not only makes much sense but can potentially have an extremely bright future.
Android Updates: Pie for Nokia, ASUS Falls Short, OnePlus Starting Testing
While Android Q is being tested on Pixel phones, several other manufacturers are either currently printing or testing Pie on their devices. It is easily the most significant pain point for most Android users: if you don't buy Pixel, you have no choice but to wait for updates.
- Nokia shoots Pie to 3.1. [Android Central]
- It also released Pie for 5.1. [Android Police]
- ASUS, on the other hand, backs up its Pie update and shoots back to mid-April for many Zenfone models. Ouch. [Android Police]
- OnePlus started testing the Pie update for 3 / 3T in China, which means that a global expansion will soon come too. [9to5Google]
- In non-pie news, the Razr Phone 2's unique Chroma feature has a nice little update with Wave lighting. [XDA Developers]
I know I probably preach to the choir here, but current updates have always been a problem. It is the manufacturer's fault, simple and simple. If they didn't feel it was necessary to download the OS with tons of different options, updates would come faster. On the flipside of this coin, the choice is what makes Android so good. Having all phones running the same version of the operating system would dramatically reduce their value. There must be a good medium here somewhere. We just haven't found it yet.
Samsung News: A New Galaxy An Incoming, S10 + Root, and More
For Android, Samsung is almost as dominant of a power as Google – perhaps more in some situations. As such, there is always a lot with Galaxy phones.
- Samsung sent event invitations for new Galaxy A units this week. Everything will be revealed on April 10. [Samsung]
- There is a new Substratum project in the works to fix all Samsung One UI irritations. Good luck. [XDA Developers]
- If you are talking about a user interface, if you use its dark ones and Android Auto, it will automatically force Auto to night mode. The same thing happens if you use Messages dark theme, so I'm not surprised. Such a strange gem. [Android Police]
- The Exynos version of S10 + was rooted in Magic this week. Great news for tinkerers. [XDA Developers]
- There's a new video showing Galaxy Fold, and by God that thing has a shot just down the dang center. You can see it! [Android Police]
Samsung is honestly one of the more exciting companies in Android, as much as people love to criticize them, this is a company that always makes moves and changes. It pushes boundaries that other Android manufacturers can only try to replicate. Whether you love things like Fold or not, you absolutely cannot deny how innovative Samsung is.
Everything else: Apps updates, security risks, Google's Android Gaming push and more
This week saw a lot of minor discussions – ranging from some decent apps updates from Opera and PowerAmp to devices leaking. Also an Android vulnerability that went unmatched for half a decade. Oh, and your antivirus probably sucks.
- A chromium-based Android vulnerability that goes back to KitKat was recently found, and it was present in all versions until, well, now . The good news is that it is finally fixed. [Wired]
- In other news that somehow is somewhat shocking but also incredible, 170 out of 250 antivirus programs on Android are definitely the trash. Fantastic. [AV-Comparatives]
- In lighter news, Google not only runs streaming games, but also Android games. The company made a dedicated site for Android game development. [Android Police]
- Similarly, it added its own tab to the Play Store for game events. [Android Police]
- In less happy news, Inbox is officially closed on April 2. Excuse me inbox. [Engadget]
- But Poweramp got Chromecast support! And voice assistant integration! Finally! [Android Police]
- Opera for Android now has a built-in VPN. Fo free, yo. [9to5Google]
- Google Doodle started appearing in the Discover window and on the Pixel Launch home page. How cute. [Android Police]
- If you are a rooter and a builder, you will be sorry to know that the dirty Unicorns ROM goes the way for dodo after pie. In a world where we are not talking about Android, that meaning doesn't mean at all. [XDA Developers]
Man, Android vulnerabilities bum out. But you know what probably destroys me even more? Shoddy antivirus program. The research and testing done by AV-Comparatives was both incredible and disappointing. I've said in ages that you don't need an anti-virus program on Android, but seeing that 68 percent of all a / v apps are shit is just disgusting. People install these with the idea that they are protected, when most of these programs actually do nothing to increase security. What a crock.