It has been a few months since Android Q rolled out for developers in the beta form. Google talked in detail about some of its key features at the I/O 2019 and from what it seemed at the moment, Android Q has the potential to be on par with rival iOS in terms of delivering a quality user experience. This year, there’s a lot of focus on data privacy and Google is making sure that Android finally gets rid of the security jinx that has been bothering it for almost a decade now.
Ever since the first beta rolled out, I have been using Android Q on my trusty Google Pixel (the first generation) and for a majority of the time, it was my daily driver. Of course, being a beta build meant that I was bound to encounter several bugs and hence, I had to switch when the bugs made it difficult to live with. Nonetheless, the Pixel with Android Q has been in my backpack for many months now and before Google rolls out the final build, it’s time that we look at all the developments and what will make you look ahead to Android Q over the coming months.
Android Q is silky smooth
In the past, I have always used the phrase ‘silky smooth’ to describe only a few operating systems – iOS and Android-based Oxygen OS on OnePlus smartphones. Although people praise stock Android for its smoothness, up until Android Pie, the experience usually becomes slow and jittery after a point of time, even on Pixel devices. However, that’s not the story with Android Q – it is silky smooth.
Right from the first beta, Android Q has been smooth and is consistent at being smooth. Despite being a beta, the experience on my 3-years-old Pixel has been as good as any new flagship Android phone. On average, I used to shuffle between multiple apps, keep the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on, and kept it connected to a wireless earphone. The OS never struggled with the loads on the old phone and it was always working the way one expects it to. Google says that it has optimised Android Q to manage resources efficiently and I do believe all of those claims. If Android Q can keep my old Pixel smooth, then I expect the newer Pixel 3 to deliver better performance when compared to Android Pie.
Privacy is top priority
Ever since Android 6.0 Marshmallow came in, the issue of annoying prompts related to app permissions has stayed persistent. In Android Q, this doesn’t change. However, instead of being annoying, the new prompts are designed in a way to let you ponder over the permissions at least once.
If you swear by data security, then the Settings app now offers a more elaborate way to deal with apps and what permissions they require to operate. Android Q also lets you have more control over access to location data. These options may not sound important but if you care about what stays in your phone, then this is one feature that you will frequently indulge with.
UI irons out Android Pie’s bugs
When Android Pie was released last year, it had one major flaw – the weird UI layout, Taking inspiration from iOS 12’s gesture navigation, Google implemented the pill gesture button that till date is cumbersome to live with. To summon your app drawer, you need to swipe carefully twice instead of simple single swipe up. With Android Q, this issue has been dealt with.
This is the Android version that can enable iOS users to make the switch to Android
Android Q gets a new gesture navigation system that looks and feels very similar to iOS gestures. You can now swipe inwards from either edge to go back and swipe up on the home bar to go home. To access the Recents panel, you need to swipe up and hold. This isn’t an original implementation by any means but I have to say that on a daily basis, it works. The new back swipe gesture makes using bigger phones so easy.
Apart from that, Android Q also brings a couple of new UI refinements. Dealing with notifications is now easier and the revamped UI for notification settings makes it easier for the layman to understand the stuff. The Live Transcribe hasn’t come yet but when it releases, it could make media consumption easier.
And then there’s the new Dark Mode – this single-handedly makes up for Android Q’s appeal. Dark Mode is really easy on the eyes and makes living with Android a lot easier. On devices with OLED screens, it makes for stunning contrasts in the UI and is a relief to the eyes in darker ambience. You can also choose accent colours from Settings similar to how it happens in Oxygen OS. On the whole, Dark Mode makes stock Android cool.
Conclusion: This is the Android that reduces the gap to iOS in terms of refinement
With Android Q, Google has stepped up its game. Android now no more feels like open source software with rough edges. In fact, Android now feels like an enterprise-level OS with extreme levels of refinements. The fact that it can make my 3-years-old Pixel run like a new phone makes me want to see it on more Android phones as soon as it debuts on Pixel devices. This is the Android version that can enable iOS users to make the switch to Android if they are willing to. Android Q is definitely a major upgrade to the Android platform and it finally seems Google can deliver what it promised years ago – a quality feature-rich smartphone experience.