Google never disappoints when it comes to the annual Google I/O, and this year was no different. Amidst AI advancements and the launch of Google’s first folding phone, Android 14, codenamed “Upside Down Cake,” slightly stole the show. While the changes may seem subtle, they promise to sweeten your Android experience when the update rolls out this fall.
The Android 14 Upgrade: Key Features
- Password-less Experience: Android 14 aims to make third-party app usage smoother by allowing you to sign up and log in using only your Android phone and fingerprint. The new Credential Manager in Android 14 will guide you through this process.
- Data Protection: Google is set to further fortify its data safety measures with Android 14. Your phone will now send you monthly notifications if any app changes its data-sharing practices. You’ll also receive a warning when apps request permission to share your location.
- Reduced Notification Spam: Android 14 aims to reduce the barrage of ‘urgent’ notifications by allowing only high-priority ones like incoming calls and alarms to appear full-screen.
- Enhanced Alert Systems: With the new Android, you’ll be able to set your phone’s camera flash or your entire screen to flash for incoming notifications. It will also warn you when you’ve been listening to loud music for too long.
- Customizable Lock Screen: Android 14 continues the “Material You” trend, allowing you to personalize your lock screen with crafted clocks.
- Back Navigation: Predictive Back, initially an Android 13 feature, gets an upgrade in Android 14, now offering animations to preview what the previous screen looks like before you complete your swipe back.
- Integrated Health App: The new Health Connect app, designed to replace Google Fit, will be integrated into Android 14, allowing your health apps to share data with your phone and vice versa.
- Improved Hearing Aid Support: Android 14 will offer dedicated controls for hearing devices, allowing users to choose which sounds should be directed to the phone’s speaker and which to the hearing device.
- Advanced File Transfer: Google is set to introduce a new API in Android 14 for backing up data from your phone, ensuring that data transfers keep running until successful.
- Better Text Visibility: With non-linear scaling up to 200%, Android 14 makes text more accessible.
- Regional Preferences: Android 14 allows you to set regional preferences like temperature unit, start day of the week, and number system. It also introduces a Grammatical Inflection API for gender-sensitive languages.
- Improved Audio Playback: Android 14 allows you to play lossless audio on USB headphones without missing calls, thanks to standard APIs for lossless and high-res playback.
- Enhanced Keyboard, Touchpad, and Stylus Functionality: Android 14 promises automatic keyboard layout configuration, improved touchpad gesture detection, and advanced stylus motion prediction.
- HDR Image Capture: Android 14 introduces a new JPEG image format that includes a standard SDR image for traditional screens and a “gain map” for HDR displays.
- Third-Party Camera Features: Android 14 will allow camera apps to leverage advanced sensor capabilities for improved images and scanning physical documents into digital ones.
- Share Button Upgrade: Android 14 introduces a dedicated row for custom buttons in the Sharesheet, which pops up after you press the share button in an app.
Android 14 is expected to roll out around August or September. This OS upgrade promises to make Android smartphones smarter, more secure, and more user-friendly. We look forward to seeing how these modifications will reshape the way we interact with our devices.