You Can Get Android Q Now if You Have a Google Pixel

By Holly Brockwell on at

Pixel users, get ready to engage Smug Mode: you get to try Android Q before anyone else.

Google has just released the developer beta for Q, which doesn't even have a name yet. Current best suggestions are quiche, quinoa and quesadilla, but none of those really fit the dessert theme and none of them are easy to pronounce if you don't already know how, so it'll likely be Q until someone thinks of something.

The beta is aimed at developers rather than normal users, but that doesn't mean you can't install it and have a poke around anyway. It won't look a whole lot like the final product we'll get in Autumn, and there'll probably be a load of new stuff added to it after Google I/O in May, but there are still some fun features to play with in the meantime. We're particularly interested in the compatibility tweaks Google has added to make Q work with folding phones.

The beta is available to anyone with ANY Pixel phone – that includes the original Pixel and Pixel XL, as well as 2 and 3.

There's a truly epic blog post here listing all the features, including new privacy functions, location controls, new sharing shortcuts, in-app settings panels, and even adaptive WiFi. One of the most interesting new features is dynamic depth for photos:

"Many cameras on mobile devices can simulate narrow depth of field by blurring the foreground or background relative to the subject. They capture depth metadata for various points in the image and apply a static blur to the image, after which they discard the depth metadata.

Starting in Android Q, apps can request a Dynamic Depth image which consists of a JPEG, XMP metadata related to depth related elements, and a depth and confidence map embedded in the same file on devices that advertise support.

Requesting a JPEG + Dynamic Depth image makes it possible for you to offer specialized blurs and bokeh options in your app. You can even use the data to create 3D images or support AR photography use-cases in the future. We're making Dynamic Depth an open format for the ecosystem, and we're working with our device-maker partners to make it available across devices running Android Q and later."

Very cool.

To sign up for the Android Q beta, you can enroll here for over-the-air updates or download system images for Pixel phones here. If you don't have a Pixel and still want to give it a go, you can, it's just a bit of a pain: you have to use the Android Emulator and grab the emulator images from the SDK Manager in Android Studio (this really is intended for devs).

We expect more devices will be added to the Android Q beta before long, but for now, it's pretty much a Pixel party. [TechRadar]

Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash