Google has officially begun rolling out Android 10, formerly known as Android Q, though at present only the company's own-brand Pixel handsets will qualify for the upgrade.
Android 10, the first version of the Linux-based mobile operating system to not include a codename based on desserts and sweets since before Google took over, builds on features introduced in August last year with Android 9 Pie: The new release includes a completely revised and somewhat Apple iOS-inspired gesture navigation system, a system-wide dark theme, and a unified privacy menu.
A bigger change, though, comes in Project Mainline: Where previous releases of Android have required handset manufacturers and mobile networks to get involved in the production and distribution of firmware updates containing critical security fixes, leaving many on even recent hardware running vulnerable out-of-date builds of Android even when those on identical hardware but different carriers have already received a fix, Project Mainline sees Google able to release and install security patches on users' handsets independently - which should spell good news for the state of Android security in-the-wild.
Additional new features in Android 10 include accessibility functions like Live Caption and Sound Amplifier, a new smart reply system, improved control over when and how applications can use your location data, a distraction-reducing function dubbed Focus Mode, and a usage-tracking and limiting system called Family Link - which, potentially controversially, allows parents to monitor the location of their children though linked handsets.
Full details on all the changes in Android 10 can be found on the official website; those on compatible Google Pixel handsets, meanwhile, will begin receiving over-the-air updates over the coming days. Those too impatient to wait for OTA updates, meanwhile, can download and install the upgrade manually from the Google Developers site. At the time of writing, Android 10 updates were available for the Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel XL, and Pixel handsets; the Pixel C, meanwhile, remains limited to Android 8.1 without the use of third-party firmwares.
October 15 2020 | 14:00