After a 6-month long Beta program, Google has today released the full version of Android 10.
The full release of Android 10 includes loads of new features, as well as UI improvements, privacy and security improvements and lots more.
Google has, after a long process of updating their own apps, brought a system-level Dark theme to Android 10, which in theory will save your battery life – and heck, is easier on the eyes in dark places. The switch to a Dark Mode is easy with a Quick Settings toggle, and applies at all levels of Android, even for non-Google Apps.
If you’ve enjoyed Smart Reply in your Gmail or SMS, then Smart Reply is now part of the OS. It’s more than just offering short, often glib replies, it now also supports 2FA, with a quick copy function and the smarts to open the right app when that SMS arrives.
Perhaps the most controversial addition in Android 10, Google has now replaced the Pill introduced in Android 9, and the more familiar 3-button navigation in earlier versions of Android with a series of gestures.
Google describes the new gestures in the settings:
To go Home, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To Switch apps, swipe up from the bottom, hold, then release. To go back, swipe from either the left or right edge.
Privacy and Security
In Android 10, Google has worked on location permissions, now allowing users to grant access to apps only when in use, all the time or not at all – and you’ll get reminders that the app is accessing your location in the background.
Google is also making it easier to get updates with ‘Project Mainline’, which will allow Google, in theory, to push updates to phones through Google Play updates, just like an app.
With every release of Android there’s a lot of both user facing, and OS level improvement. There’s lots more features in Android 10 like ‘Dynamic Depth’ for cameras allowing apps to offer ‘specialized blurs and bokeh’. There’s also new Codecs, Encryption (including TLS 1.3 on by default), APIs for developers to access.
As they announced last month, Google will no longer call their latest version of Android by a tasty dessert name, instead opting for the more universally recognisable version number with Android 10 the official name of the Android Q beta.
Though there’s no dessert name, there’s still an Android 10 statue. VP of Android, Dave Burke, shared a photo of the statue after its unveiling at Google Headquarters in Mountain View. The design of the statue will allow all developers who had a hand in the creation of Android 10 to leave their mark on it.
Google has released Android 10 for all three generations of Pixel phones (including the 3a and 3a XL). Users who participated in the Beta program are now receiving prompts to update now, while anyone wanting to can download a system image and flash it to their device.
For users of phones from other manufacturers Google has for the past two years, been making an effort to bring more phones up to the latest version of Android. This year, Nokia, LG, Oppo, OnePus and more participated in the Beta, and the expectation is that a full Android 10 release for these devices should be rolling out shortly.
For phones which did not participate in the Android Beta, a longer process is involved, though work with Project Treble in Android Oreo (8) and Pie (9), should mean a faster update process for all Android users – but as usual you’ll have to wait for your phone manufacturer to announce official timelines.
As soon as those manufacturers start announcing timelines for their devices we’ll let you know.