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Google Android Q beta is out: Key features, eligible devices and how to install

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Google has officially released the first beta for Android Q, which will be the next version of its mobile operating system. Google’s Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, has put out a detailed blog post aimed at app developers, which highlights the key features of Android Q.

For users, Android Q will put the focus on additional privacy and security, while allowing app developers to take advantages of camera features like depth mode to offer more 3D filters, customisable bokeh filters, etc. Android Q will also offer faster app startup.

Beta 1 of Android Q is available for for early adopters and there’s a preview SDK for developers. Any Pixel device can be enrolled into the Android Q beta, including the original Pixel and Pixel XL phones.

 

Android Q’s final build will be revealed at Google I/O in May. Here’s a quick look at everything new in Android Q.

How to get Android Q on your device?

Users and developers can enroll their device by going here. All eligible Android Q devices will reflect on this page. Keep in mind only Pixel devices are eligible right now. This is Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL and Pixel and Pixel XL.

Google says the downloadable system images for those devices are also available. For those who do not have a Pixel device, they can use the Android Emulator, and download the latest emulator system images via the SDK Manager in Android Studio to test out Android Q.

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Android Q and how the new location setting will work. Users will have more control over location settings in the app.

Privacy focus on Android Q

Android Q will come with greater control over location data. Users will be able to decide when apps can get access to this particular data. Right now in Android, if apps ask for location and you grant it, then this is a done deal.

With Android Q, this changes. Just like Apple’s iOS, Android Q will let users decide whether they want to give access to their location. The three options will be when the app is in use (running), all the time (when app is in the background) or never.

Users will have more control over apps and access to shared files as well in Android Q. “Users will be able to control apps’ access to the Photos and Videos or the Audio collections via new runtime permissions,” says the post.

In Android Q, a user will decide which downloaded files can be accessed by an app. For developers, there will be changes on how apps can access shared areas on external storage. Further, Android Q will prevent apps from launching an activity while in the background. For developers, who need their app to come to the foreground to get the user’s attention, they will have the option of using a high-priority notification and provide a full-screen intent, says the blog.

More importantly, Google will limit app access to non-resettable device identifiers. These include details like device IMEI, serial number, etc. Android Q will also randomise the device’s MAC address when connected to different Wi-Fi networks by default. This setting was optional in Android 9 Pie.

Android Q and foldable screens

Given that Samsung, Huawei and other players are showcasing foldable phones, Android Q will also get ready for this. Google says they will have made improvements to help app developers take advantage of these foldable devices and other large-screen devices.

Google has also changed how the resizeableActivity manifest attribute works, in order to help developers manage how their app shows on foldable and large screens.


Sharing shortcuts in Android Q

Google says it will make sharing photos, etc with someone in another app easier and faster for users. Sharing Shortcuts will let users jump directly into another app to share content.

Settings Panels in Android Q

Google’s Android Q will have a new Settings Panel API also for developers to make use of; this will let them show key system systems directly inside their app.

The settings panel is a floating user interface, which can be invoked by the third-party app to show system settings that users might need, such as internet connectivity, NFC or audio volume.

The post explains one such use for this: a browser displaying a panel with connectivity settings like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi (including nearby networks), and Mobile Data. The advantage for the user is they do not have to leave the app, and can instead manage the relevant settings from the app itself.

Connectivity in Android Q

Google says it will improve privacy and security of Bluetooth, Cellular and WiFi, by requiring apps to rely on the FINE location permission, instead of the COARSE location permission. With FINE location permission, it provides better and more accurate location as it gives permission for both GPS and Network provider location. COARSE only uses Network provider location.

Android Q will also add support for new Wi-Fi standard support, WPA3 and Enhanced Open, to improve security for home and work networks as well as open/public networks.

There’s also improved peer-to-peer and internet connectivity, which will improve use-cases like managing IoT devices and suggesting internet connections. No location permission will be required for doing this.

With Android Q, app developers will be able to request adaptive Wi-Fi by enabling high performance and low latency modes.

Camera, media in Android Q

Google says with Android Q, apps will be able to request access to the Dynamic Depth image, which consists of a JPEG, XMP metadata that is related to depth related elements. Photos where the smartphones creates a shallow depth of field, either by relying on software or using the secondary sensor are referred to as Bokeh. Many phones offer these pictures in the ‘Portrait mode’

Google says the advantage for app developers with this kind of setting will be that they can then offer specialised blurs and bokeh options in their app. The data can also be used to create 3D images or support AR photography. Google says they will make Dynamic Depth an open format for the ecosystem.

Android Q will also bring support for open source video codec AV1, so users will be able to stream high quality video content using less bandwidth. Android Q also brings HDR10+ support for high dynamic range video on devices that which offer this kind of recording.

64-bit support for all apps

Google says they are “moving the ecosystem toward readiness for 64-bit devices.” By later this year, Google Play will require 64-bit support in all apps.


Gaming on Android Q

Google will be adding “experimental support for ANGLE on top of Vulkan on Android devices.” Vulkan is the Android specific API for high performance and 3D graphics. As the blog post explains, “ANGLE is a graphics abstraction layer designed for high-performance OpenGL compatibility” and it will let more apps and games using OpenGL take “advantage of the performance and stability of Vulkan.”

Google says their “goal is to make Vulkan on Android a broadly supported and consistent developer API for graphics.” It will also require that device manufacturer make Vulkan 1.1 a requirement on all 64-bit devices running Android Q and higher going forward to ensure a uniform high-performance graphics API for apps and games to use.

Neural Networks API 1.2

With Android Q, Google is adding more operations the Neutral Networks API with 60 new optimizations. Google says it will lay the foundation for accelerating a much greater range of models — such as those for object detection and image segmentation.

Apps to run faster

Android Q will bring improvements to the ART or Android runtime to help apps start faster and consume less memory. This will not require any work from developers. Android Q will also extend support for authentication methods such as face recognition.


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Vivo V15 With 32-Megapixel Pop-Up Selfie Camera, Triple Rear Cameras Launched

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Vivo V15 has arrived in the Indian market to join the already available V15 Pro in the Chinese smartphone maker’s high-end smartphone lineup. Vivo on Friday officially announced the launch of V15 in the country and stated that the phone will be listed for pre-orders starting next week. Vivo V15 was originally introduced in the South-East Asian markets earlier this month. The phone differs from the Vivo V15 Pro in a number of aspects, including the screen size, triple rear camera setup, battery size, and the overall dimensions.

Vivo V15 price in India, launch offers

Vivo V15 price in India has been set at Rs. 23,990 and the phone will be offered in Frozen Black, Glamour Red, and Royal Blue colours. Vivo is only offering one variant of the phone in the country with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage. According to the company, the Vivo V15 will be available for pre-orders starting Monday, March 25, whereas the actual availability will start April 1. The phone will be sold via Vivo India e-store, Amazon.in, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Tata CLiQ, and all offline channels.

 

In terms of the launch offers, the Vivo V15 buyers will get free one-time screen replacement, up to 15 months no-cost EMI offers, extra exchange value of Rs. 2,000, Rs. 1,000 loyalty benefit over the exchange value, benefits worth Rs. 10,000 from Reliance Jio (including up to 3.3TB data and the Jio Vivo Cricket Offer), and a number of offers from different banks, including 5 percent cashback on SBI credit/ debit cards as well as on SBI credit card EMI transactions.

Vivo V15 specifications

The dual-SIM (Nano) Vivo V15 sports a 6.53-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) InCell FullView Display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Additionally, the Vivo V15 runs Funtouch OS 9 based on Android 9 Pie. The phone is powered by octa-core MediaTek Helio P70 SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM.

On the imaging front, the Vivo V15 packs a triple rear camera setup, which houses a 12-megapixel (dual-pixel) primary sensor with an f/1.78 lens, an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 lens, and a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 lens. On the front, the Vivo V15 comes with a pop-up selfie camera setup with a 32-megapixel sensor and an f/2.0 lens. There is 64GB of inbuilt storage on the smartphone, expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). The phone features a gradient back panel and packs a 4,000mAh battery.

Sensors on board include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, gyroscope, and proximity sensor. A fingerprint sensor is seen on the back panel.


Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth v5.0, Micro-USB (with OTG), GPS/ A-GPS, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Vivo V15 measures 161.97×75.93×8.54mm and weighs 189.5 grams.

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Opera Browser for Android Brings Free Inbuilt VPN With Unlimited, Log-Free Service

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Opera 51 – the latest stable build of Opera’s mobile browser for Android – has arrived and it brings a very useful new feature in the form of an inbuilt VPN. The updated version of the Opera browser for Android offers a native VPN service that is free to use and does not come with any attached log management condition.


Additionally, there is no use limitation on the usage of Opera’s VPN in terms of duration or data consumption. The new build of Opera browser for Android (version 51) is now available to download for users across the globe.

Opera started testing a free inbuilt VPN in its mobile browser for Android back in February. The feature has now finally been promoted to the app’s stable version and is now available with Opera browser’s version 51. It appears that the updated build is available to download from Google Play in certain regions only, for now.

 

However, you can still try out the new feature by downloading the latest build from APKMirror.

As for the Opera browser’s native VPN, it allows users to choose between Europe, America, and Asia servers. There is also an option called ‘Optimal’ in the VPN settings that automatically selects the best network route depending on the location of users. It appears that enabling the VPN will deactivate Opera browser’s inbuilt data saving feature.

The app’s updated build also comes with the option to deactivate the VPN conditionally, allowing search engines to bring up the most relevant search results depending upon the location of users. Additionally, one can choose to automatically activate the VPN only when a private tab is opened. Opera browser’s inbuilt VPN is a log-free service, which means the information being relayed through the virtual IP and network servers is not collected when users are linked to a public network.

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Amazon Kindle (10th Gen) With Inbuilt Front Light Launched

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A new Amazon Kindle ebook reader has been launched in India. Called the Kindle (10th Gen), this device has a 6-inch display with a built-in front light. The Kindle (10th Gen) is priced at Rs. 7,999. It’s up for pre-orders on Amazon India right now and starts shipping from April 10, 2019. This puts it squarely in between the cheapest Kindle (8th Gen) and the Kindle Paperwhite (10th Gen). The most affordable Kindle costs Rs. 5,999 and it does not have a front light, whereas the Kindle Paperwhite is priced at Rs. 12,999. That means you can’t read books on the device when it’s dark. The new device appears to be an upgraded variant of the cheapest Kindle.

The Kindle (10th Gen) features 4GB storage and supports Wi-Fi connectivity. Of course, you can adjust the brightness of this Kindle too. When reading in well-lit areas we prefer to set the Kindle’s brightness to zero, which effectively switches off the front light. The Kindle (10th Gen) promises a battery life of up to a month on a single charge, which is one of the best features of all Kindle ebook readers.

Available in two colour variants — Black and White — the Kindle (10th Gen) is up for pre-orders now. This device is not waterproof, which is to be expected at this price point. The Kindle (10th Gen) weighs 174g and a 6-inch display with a resolution of 167 pixels per inch. This is lower than the 300ppi display seen on the Kindle Paperwhite. It also features integration with the Amazon-owned book database website Goodreads, which offers book recommendations based on your taste and allows you to check community reviews for your favourite books.

 

Apart from that it has all standard Kindle features such as Whispersync (sync your progress across Kindle devices and apps), X-Ray (more information on important things in the book), and Smart Lookup (quickly check word meanings and look up Wikipedia).

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