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Last update: September 2019

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The Android 10 Is Here! What’s New and What’s Improved?

The long awaited Android 10.0 (also known as Android Q) upgrade is finally live – at least for Google Pixel, Essential Phone, Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro, and OnePlus devices. Those with a Samsung device may have a little while longer to wait. But the entire smartphone world is abuzz with hype and rumors about its new features. For one thing, Android has made the decision to move away from dessert-themed names (e.g. Pie, Gingerbread, Oreo…). Some users have applauded this as a step in a more mature direction. Others mourn to wake up to a world with that much less whimsy in it. So let’s get into it: what are the exciting new features to look out for with the Android 10.0?

Smart Reply Notifications

This is a feature we’ve already seen in Gmail, but now Google has extended it to notifications sent through instant messaging apps. Using machine learning, Android 10 can now offer you fast, automatic responses to notifications based on context.

smart reply notifications
Image source: https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2019/09/welcoming-android-10.html?linkId=73080374

Other Notification Upgrades

As we have seen, both Android and iOS have been introducing methods to increase users’ agency over their push notifications. iOS offered provisional notifications, and now with Android 10, users can categorize notifications as one of the following:

  • General: sends out a standard tone or vibration when a message arrives
  • Silent alert: doesn’t announce notification arrival, but has them appear on the screen in an unobtrusive way
  • No notification: blocks an app from sending certain or all notifications.

It is interesting to see how developers and device manufacturers are coming up with innovations to address the invasive tactics of some mobile apps. Check out our blog post on notification fails, to make sure your push notification campaign doesn’t wear out your welcome with users.

Navigational Gestures

With the most recent iPhone operating systems, as well as a few device manufacturers, already offering gesture navigation, it’s high time Android did as well. With Android 10, users can now enjoy optimised, full-screen app usage and navigate via hand gestures.

You can opt for hand gestures by navigating to Settings > System > Gestures > System Navigation. This will then replace your standard three-button or two-button navigation system with a new gesture bar at the screen’s bottom. If you swipe up, you will go to your home screen. Swiping left or right will toggle between last-used apps. Swiping left or right from the lower screen will serve as your back button. You can switch back to traditional navigation at any time.

Dark Mode

Another feature that has been a long time coming, dark mode has already been offered by some device manufacturers, including Samsung and Huawei. At last, Android 10 is offering a dark mode native to its OS, which can be made permanent or set on a timed schedule. Setting your device to dark mode can have many benefits, including decreased eye fatigue from extending staring at blue light and prolonged battery life for OLED screens… and plus, it just looks cooler!

Greater Privacy and Security

Device users are more aware than ever about where their data goes and how it’s processed, and data privacy is a key pain point for anyone working in the digital industry. So it’s great to see Android showing their dedication to data security, something Apple has already made inroads on with recent iOS upgrades. Meanwhile, Android 10 now offers users a more sophisticated set of controls. This includes the ability to share your location with a particular app and then revoke it again. Android will offer notify you when an app you aren’t actively using is accessing your location, allowing you to turn off geotracking permission for that app.

Improved privacy controls also facilitate accessing your app permission manager, opting for personalized ads, and viewing your location history and Google account activity. This is a big step towards transparency of data processing, and the ability to switch off certain apps’ access to it.

Also in line with data protection, the Android 10 will allow for security upgrades to be accesses directly from the Google Play app store.

Digital Wellbeing

Android 10 has also implemented an extensive array of wellbeing features, which anyone addicted to their mobile phone will be glad to hear. For one thing, Android has also shown their commitment to diversity and inclusion in their newest update, with a greater variety of skin colors, genders, and abilities represented in their emojis.

woke android 10 emojis

Android 10 also offers a Focus Mode, where you can blacklist certain apps from contacting you for a period of time. This lets you focus on a task at hand without getting pinged by nonessential apps, but you can still ensure that family and friends can contact you.

And for parents, the Android upgrade also offers Parental Controls for monitoring and limiting children’s smartphone use. Adding to the parental controls offered by device manufacturers as well as mobile apps, Android 10 now lets you control which apps your child installs, set time limits for screentime, and schedule bedtime. It also gives parents the option to reward good behavior by granting their kids a little extra screentime.

What’s Missing?

The Android Beam feature didn’t make the cut. Introduced in the Ice Cream Sandwich OS, Android Beam was a peer-to-peer sharing service that allowed users to put their phones back to back and transfer files. It is uncertain why this feature has been cut, but in Android 10 it is replaced by Fast Share. This feature allows you to share files with nearby Android users.

As Android 10 launches for more and more models of phone, it will be exciting to try it out and play with the new features for ourselves. With more new features than we have space to get into here – including support for foldable screens, bubble messaging, 5G, and live captions – we can look forward to a more streamlined, versatile OS for our Android smart devices.

Check back with us later this week for our look at the iOS 13!

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