Android 14's first beta release is here ahead of Google I/O 2023 next month. And the Android Developers Blog has provided the low-down on what to expect in the new software.
There have already been two developer previews of Android 14, but this is the first time any user will be able to try out the new version of Google's OS for themselves. You can download the beta onto recent Google Pixel phones, from the latest Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro to as far back as the Pixel 4a 5G. We expect that list to expand beyond Google's own phones in future betas, as it has in previous years.
The new features added in Android 14 beta 1 are aimed partially at developers rather than users, but they're still an interesting bunch of upgrades. For instance, changes have been made to the sharesheet, allowing greater customization for specific apps that will hopefully make moving files around much more convenient.
There's also a more prominent back arrow when using swipe gestures for easier-to-understand navigation.
In addition to these, Google also mentions new graphics effects for developers to use in their apps, and security improvements such as being able to better control what types of data that accessibility apps can use; apps which can require a lot of control over someone's device in order to make them usable by people with specific needs.
Looking at Google's timeline for Android 14, we'll see at least three more beta releases, with a new version dropping each month from now to July. The Final Release section isn't dated, but Google normally introduces the final version of a new Android iteration in October, sharing the stage with that year’s flagship Pixel phone; the Pixel 8 series in this year’s case.
With Google I/O taking place next month, we could see more features, particularly those focused on regular users, announced on stage there. If you're interested in new Google hardware too, you may want to check out what's been rumored for the Google Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold, the two devices rumored to be making an appearance at this event.