Google's always got an Android update cooking, and right now the latest is Android 14 QPR3 beta 1, which has begun rolling out to Pixel devices ranging from the latest Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro to the aging Pixel 5a.
Thanks to explorers of the new beta (including 9to5Google), we now know what's been added in this update, which includes a couple of security and usability enhancements, the debut of the new Circle to Search function (for some users at least), and some hints about what's coming soon for Google hardware and software.
Circle to Search
After confusingly releasing its hot new search feature to stable Android users, but not those on the beta branch, Google's now fixed this with the new beta.
Circle to Search, which is for now exclusive to the Pixel 8 series and the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, is a shortcut for quickly searching images or text via a quick tap and hold of your home button or gesture bar. You can read our guide on how to use Circle to search on Galaxy S24 if you want to see it in action.
Scanning for deceptive apps
This update adds a new security setting that lets you check if an app's phishing or up to other nefarious behaviors. The check itself runs on your device, but any findings are sent to Google Play Protect for analysis and further action if needed.
Touch sensitivity menu
Google's given the screen protector mode — which enhances touch sensitivity to account for the extra layer between your finger and the active display — a new home within the wider Display menu. Currently it's there by itself, but perhaps making a whole Touch sensitivity section hints at future upgrades to this area.
Redesigned easter egg
By tapping enough times on the Android version heading in About phone, you can see the new triangular version of the Android 14 easter egg.
9to5Google argues convincingly that this three-sided version of the previously circular Android 14 logo hints at the letter V, and thereby at Android 15, the next big upgrade to Android. Within Google, Android 15 has the dessert-based codename of "vanilla ice cream."
The space exploration game remains the same otherwise. We've got a guide on how to access and play it here.
On top of the new features, this beta also contains possible evidence of an incoming sequel to the Google Pixel Tablet.
9to5Google discovered the codenames "Clementine" and "Kiyomi" within Android 14 QPR3 beta 1's code. These are both types of tangor citrus fruits, "tangor" being the codename for the original Pixel Tablet.
Google first teased the Pixel Tablet at its I/O event in 2022, with the slate actually launching a year later. With this year's I/O likely to take place in May as usual, we could hear news of the next Google-built tablet there.
In the meantime, we'll likely see the first Android 15 developer beta launch in the next week or so, going by Google's usual timings. While this won't reach most Android users' phones until late this year or 2025, it's going to be exciting to see what the next generation of Android holds.
More from Tom's Guide
- Galaxy S24 Ultra titanium body put to the test — how it compares to iPhone 15 Pro
- I put the OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 11 through a 7-round face-off — here’s the winner
- The Samsung Galaxy S24 is an AI powerhouse, but one feature is missing