Fire up your phones: Google has pushed out the new Android Q Beta 6, and it’s time for your fingers to get to grips with another change to how gestures work. The new beta is the final that Google has planned, with the next big drop being Android Q itself.
It’s another opportunity for Google’s developer team to refine one of the most controversial aspects of Android Q so far. That’s been its use of gestures, as Android shifts away from on-screen navigation buttons and embraces a more iPhone X-like system of swipes and other gestures instead.
The changes in Android Q Beta 6 come on the heels of further user feedback, Google said today. “First, to ensure reliable and consistent operation, there’s a 200dp vertical app exclusion limit for the Back gesture,” Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, explains. “Second, we’ve added a sensitivity preference setting for the Back gesture.”
That’s likely to be the biggest difference that anybody who has been using previous Beta releases will notice, though it’s not the only change. Expect bugfixes for a start, as well as improvements to performance and battery life on your phone. That said, there are still some glitches that Google is aware of and working on; you can find details of those in the Android Q Beta 6 release notes.
More importantly, this new beta represents a tipping point for developers. That’s because it includes the final API 29 SDK, not to mention all of the system behaviors, features, and developer APIs that Google says will be in the final platform.
Combined with the newest system images for Pixel and Android Emulator, along with the updated build tools for Android Studio, this is basically Google putting app-makers on notice that it’s time to get their code up to speed with Android Q. Notably, they don’t need to wait once those apps are ready: Google says they can be released into the Play Store as soon as that’s the case. After all, with Android Beta users already trying out the pre-final software themselves, they need compatible apps.
That’ll be all the more necessary given some of the headline features of Android Q, and devices on the roadmap. While the Pixel 4 is expected to be the first phone to use the new OS, Android Q’s native support for foldable phones will make it of particular interest to Samsung and the Galaxy Fold, along with Huawei and others building clamshell handsets with flexible screens.