A version for the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro is 'coming soon'
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have several advertised features that are yet to launch, such as Zoom Enhance, Video Boost, and the ability to use the temperature sensor to check a human's temperature. We're expecting most of these to come as part of the December Pixel Feature Drop due out in about a month and a half. Testing for this new version is already underway, as Google has opened up the Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1) beta program. Today, the next major update for Pixel phones just got one step closer to release.
Finally plugging a massive corporate data loophole
Sharing files from Android devices was a rather janky affair, sometimes involving cloud storage or third-party apps, until Nearby Share burst onto the scene and simplified the process. It came even closer to Apple’s AirDrop in terms of function with support for sharing files, folders, and text to Windows computers introduced earlier this year. However, convenient data sharing is the bane of corporate data security, and with billions of people using Android for work, the concerns are amplified greatly. Google is finally addressing this concern with an update disabling Nearby Share by default on Android devices when you enable a work profile.
The company could make Chromebooks updateable beyond their official end-of-life date
Google’s Chromebooks have carved out more than a niche for themselves, having long become a viable alternative to Windows laptops and MacBooks for many. The one caveat that’s attached to Chromebooks is their limited software support, though. While Google vows to update the latest and greatest Chromebooks for up to 10 years from the moment sales start, this still leaves far too many current devices becoming obsolete before the hardware dies. Google might fix this by bringing ChromeOS Flex to those machines.
SafetyNet Safe Browsing API — the backbone of Android's fortified security
Ensuring security in our digital lives is crucial, given the vast amounts of information we interact with every day. From accessing our bank details to exploring new websites or responding to messages, we need to feel protected. Android has taken many steps to shore up these areas over the years, and now it's gearing up to enhance your sense of security with the introduction of Android Safe Browsing.
These under-the-hood memory management tweaks might be game changers
Android's has historically pushed the limits with cutting-edge developments. But when new systems are implemented, they have a tendency to break existing functionality, so updates can sometimes decrease battery life and performance. Android 14 is bucking these trends by focusing more on refinement than new features, and there are a handful of changes that should help with memory management in particular.
Beta testing ahead of the December Pixel Feature Drop is underway
The Android landscape is ever-changing, and currently, all eyes are on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro by Google. These flagship smartphones have consistently led the way within the Android world, pioneering the latest OS advancements. Today, they venture into a fresh domain with the Android 14 QPR1 Beta program.
A Quick Settings toggle for quick data SIM switching might make its way to the OS
Android 14 started rolling out widely in the stable channel earlier this month. It is merely an incremental update to Android 13, but Google is changing and improving how Android handles system-level operations and settings behind the scenes. The OS continues evolving and the promise of more refinement in future updates lives on, because Google has been spotted developing a Quick Settings tile to switch data SIMs easily.
Days after the Galaxy Z Fold 5 did the same
Samsung's latest foldables, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, have both been out for quite some time now. And they are really, really good phones. If Samsung hasn't yet perfected the foldable, it's really close to doing so — and as the form factor becomes more and more popular, its offerings are going to mature even further in upcoming generations. Like other Samsung flagship phones, the new foldables are eligible for the upcoming One UI 6 update, based on the just-launched Android 14. Now, it's the Galaxy Z Flip 5's turn to get in on the beta for Samsung's next major upgrade.
Users will now have crisp, stunning images
We all love getting our own pictures and videos from events. But sometimes, the quality of photos we end up with boils down to our phone’s image formats and features. There has been an outcry in the tech world for features that provide perfectly processed images. As usual, Google has jumped into the pond and equipped Android 14 with plenty of premium tools, including HDR image support that uses a backward-compatible format to view images in Ultra-HDR for crisp and clear shadows and stunning bright content.
It's nothing like the Easter egg on your phone
In May this year, right after Google I/O 2023, people discovered an Apollo Mission 14 patch-inspired Bugdroid statue on one of Google's campuses in Mountain View, and considering the Android 14 Easter egg matches this theme, we naturally thought it would be used for the official launch of the OS. But after Android 14 made its debut this week, a different statue has shown up out front of the Android headquarters to commemorate the release.
Android 14 will club updates for the Android OS, play system, and apps in one place
Software updates to the app and operating system of our favorite Android devices play a much bigger role than just fixing bugs and adding new features — they keep your device safe from known vulnerabilities identified by security researchers, app developers, and beta testers. Google stepped up security by converting many Android components into Mainline modules updated through the Google Play system, so they don’t have to wait for the next Android release. Now, the company is working on collating all pending updates for your device in one place, so staying on top of changes is quick and easy.
No sign of the Pixel 8 in the beta program yet
Google's on a roll this week, launching the Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 at its hardware event, then releasing the stable version of Android 14 immediately after. The company isn't even taking the time to sit back and admire its work — in fact, it's already looking forward to its next major software release, the December Pixel Feature Drop, also known as Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1). Beta testing started for this version in late September, and just over two weeks later, Google is already back at it with Beta 2.
Rollouts now start whenever software is ready
For years, Google Pixel owners knew what to expect on the first Monday of a month. Like clockwork, Google would release its security patches (and sometimes its quarterly feature drops) on the day, ensuring that your device was always up to date. Ever since the switch to its own Tensor CPUs in the Pixel series, Google hasn't always been able to hit this target, though, sometimes only updating devices almost a month later. To combat this, the company is simply getting rid of its fixed update day with the Pixel 8 series.
Work profiles are picking up new features too
Google has several apps and services which make collaborative remote work easy, and most of them are a part of Google Workspace. While Google works to keep Workspace tools up to date and safe constantly, Android’s popularity in corporate settings makes enhanced security and workspace-oriented features a necessity. With Android 14 on its way to your Pixel phones in the stable channel, Google has also announced several included privacy and feature improvements, like support for six-digit unlock pins, ultra-wideband logging, and convenient work profile switching.
Your Pixel phone is getting more personalizable than it’s been in a while
Google has been working on Android 14 since February this year, and now, after an unscheduled extra beta, the company has announced it is finally releasing it in stable alongside the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. The big new release is coming to Pixel phones today, and once you've downloaded it, you’re in for some new lock screen customization options, improved PIN entry security, a much better system share sheet, and so much more. Let’s dive into it.
The anticipated rollout dates for each device remain subject to change
The anticipation over Android 14 has been growing, despite few details on its features and release date being confirmed. Beta releases have been rolling out since earlier this year, and as the final kinks are worked out, rumors on its launch date are becoming more believable. An updated post on a Telus forum now suggests that Android 14 could be released as soon as this week.
You may no longer need to disconnect and re-dial to move to a different device
One of the perks of Apple products is Continuity, which streamlines the use of software between Apple devices. For example, AirDrop lets you send media between Apple products within seconds. Handoff enables you to begin a project on one Apple device, and then continue working on a different one. Google has notably lagged in this area, often forcing Android device users to take multiple steps to achieve similar results. Now, some believe it could be working on a similar feature called Link Your Devices. If the rumors are true, you may soon be able to switch between Android products without skipping a beat — and this could be critical if you frequently use them for video calls.
The big ChromeOS Material You redesign is here
Google has started rolling out ChromeOS 117 to Chromebooks widely, and along with a bunch of interesting new features, a big change to the interface is going live with it: Material You as you know it from Android is making its way to Google’s desktop operating system. This means that many interface elements like window title bars and backgrounds in system settings will take on the dominant colors from your wallpaper.
Trinity Engine? HyperBoost? Fluid Cloud? It's not a fifth Matrix movie — it's an OS update
Although we're still counting the minutes until Google launches a stable build of Android 14, other OEMs aren't waiting for an official release to show off their own customizations. We've already seen what Samsung's bringing to the table with One UI, and today, it's time for OnePlus to show off what OxygenOS 14 looks like. Unsurprisingly, its software is more influenced by Oppo than ever before, and anyone hoping for that to change with this year's upgrade might need to look elsewhere for their smartphone needs.
Have you been on board since the beginning or are you a fairly recent adopter?
Time flies when you're having fun, and you can't say the last fifteen years haven't been fun. This weekend — literally today, actually, if you're reading this when it's scheduled to go live — the T-Mobile G1 turns 15 years old, marking another big milestone in the history of Android. We've got a big, fun retrospective live on the site right now (also written by yours truly), but timed with this anniversary, I thought it'd be fun to ask just how long our readers have been using Google's mobile OS.