As Google look to push out their latest OS to select devices, they have simultaneously axed the dessert-themed naming convention, opting to simply call this update, Android 10. Some may postulate that it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain the naming convention and arriving at Android Q, Google might be struggling to come up with something.
Android 10 started rolling out to Pixel devices on September 3rd to all Pixel phones, going back to the original Pixel. Other companies have started pushing out to their own devices with the Essential Phone and OnePlus 7 devices getting the update. Those without such devices might well have to wait many months for their devices to be updated, but keep hammering that update button just in case!
Now Android 10 is officially rolling out, what new features are delivered and where are the improvements?
Buttons are seemingly a thing of the past with Android 10 killing off the back button, and opting for a gesture based solution. This is nothing new as since Android Pie, gestures have been creeping in to both the Google OS and other manufacturers skins. Here, in Android 10, a full set of gesture-based interactions are available with Google doubling down on this UI element.
Android 10 gives you more granular control over notifications and how much you are bugged by them, by individual applications.
Once a notification comes in, swiping that notification will allow the option of marking it as “silent”, which does what it says and notifies the user in the notification shade, but doesn’t appear as a banner, or on the lock screen. Choosing “alert” offers a sound when the app notifies again and will appear everywhere. Alternatively users can choose to “turn off” future notifications for this application.
If you love Facebook Chat Heads, you’ll love Bubbles. Okay, that’s a little disingenuous. Bubbles isn’t exactly the same as the solution from Facebook, but it has similar roots.
When an application alerts the user, such as in a messaging application, developers can leverage Bubbles in Android 10 to popup a circular bubble notification atop any application currently running. Tapping on this bubble will then expand and allow a number of options to reply or interact, depending on the application.
It will be interesting to see how developers look to use this new approach to multi-tasking, and whether users will consider this intrusive or not.
Live Captions provides real-time captions for many areas of the Android 10 experience. YouTube is an application that has closed captions included on some videos, however the Live Captions solution will offer this across all applications, and delivered locally from the device.
This further expands Android’s accessibility suite and Live Captions will be a huge boost for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
There are many more changes that come with Android 10. Some lesser changes are subtle changes in the Android branding itself with a redesigned logo which is a little more uniformed and cleaner.
Dark Mode is a standard solution to a problem that has previously been solved by specific themes. Developers can build Dark Mode support into their applications which will darken many areas of the UI, as well as the OS natively supporting it Android-wide.
Further Google Assistant integration into applications deepens in Android 10 with users being able to trigger app-specific actions, such as asking your favourite fitness application to toggle your workout.
There are many more subtle changes in Android 10 and we look forward to seeing just how deep the changes go. A new Android OS is always a big affair so we’re sure to see some more Easter Eggs soon.