Android Q Beta Ready for Pixel Phones: How to Get It

We’re getting our first good look at Android Q, the next version of Google’s mobile operating system which will come out in a public release later this year. First, though, developers get a chance to play around with the updated OS, as Google released its first Android Q beta today (March 13).

Here’s a closer look at what this Android Q release delivers, how to get it, and when we can expect additional updates.

How to get Android Q

Unless you’re an Android developer, you may want to give this build of Android Q a pass. It’s a very early release and is coming out now so that app makers can get a jump on updating their software to take advantage of Q’s new features. Even if you do decide to give Q a try, make sure not to install it on a phone you’ll need for daily use.

You’ll need a Pixel phone to run Android Q. Any model will work, including the original Pixel and Pixel XL that Google released in 2016.

You’ll need to enroll with Google to get Q updates onto your Pixel. Google also has system images available for the Pixel, Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 to use an Android emulator.

What you’ll find in Android Q

Google has promised Android Q will bring better privacy controls that help protect users from apps running roughshod over their phones, including more precise degrees of location-sharing. The Q release also delivers baked-in support for foldable phones, as Google refines multitasking actions like pausing and resizing apps. A new Sharing Shortcuts feature will make it easier to share content between apps using a similar function to Android’s App Shortcuts feature, according to Google.

But most of the changes coming in Q at this point are behind-the-scenes improvements, featuring things like enhanced Wi-Fi performance, better 3D games and neural computing and optimized memory consumption for apps.

Google has a detailed explanation of what features are contained in Android Q thus far in its blog post announcing the beta availability.

What’s next for Android Q

Google is expected to demo and unveil more Android Q features at Google I/O, the company’s annual developers conference where it presents the latest and greatest happenings in all of its software projects. This year’s I/O takes place on May 7, and if it follows last year’s event, Google also announce additional devices capable of running the Android beta.

Android Q, which will eventually get a proper dessert-themed name, probably over the summer. And it will get an official launch this fall (or just before that) in time for the release of new Pixel phones, assuming Google sticks to its script for the last few years.

Image Credits: Google

Daniel Bean is a freelance writer with years of experience whose articles have appeared in Tom's Guide. He has previously worked for LinkedIn, Yahoo News, and the Observer, as well as TripleByte, Circa, Inverse, CBS, and ABC. Currently, he is full-time content lead for Mixpanel's blog, The Signal, writing about innovators and analytics.