Android 10 Features – Everything You Need To Know

Since technology is known as the great growling engine of change, we are witnessing improvements in mobile technology. Right from its inception, Android is competing with itself to set a benchmark in the technology market. With the release of Android 10, mobile innovation has come up to the next level of mobile technology, driven by advanced machine-learning and provisions to support emerging trends like foldable and 5G enabled devices.

Since technology is known as the great growling engine of change, we are witnessing improvements in mobile technology. 

Right from its inception, Android is competing with itself to set a benchmark in the technology market. With the release of Android 10, mobile innovation has come up to the next level of mobile technology, driven by advanced machine-learning and provisions to support emerging trends like foldable and 5G enabled devices. 

The major concern has always been revolving around privacy and security when it comes to Mobile app Development. With a focus on these two factors, Android 10 has introduced almost 50 features providing users with greater protection, transparency, and control. Thus, welcoming the digital well-being of the users, Android 10 is aimed to maintain a perfect balance with technology. 

This blog covers the top Android 10 highlights that include some exciting features like the Dark Theme that provides you a black background, Live Captions that provides automatic closed-captions to videos, and so on. In this blog we will be covering:

  • The Top Features of Android 10.
  • Other Features on the Shelf.
  • Migrate your Apps to Android 10
  • How to get Android 10 SDK?

The Top features of Android 10

Let us walk through the top features that Android 10 has to offer to the Android App Development for 2020 in detail. 

  • Dark Mode

The Dark Theme is finally here!

A system-wide dark mode was introduced with the rollout of Android 9 Pie. The only con was that the dark mode was limited to certain elements of the UI like some menus and Settings panel. With Android 10, you can enjoy this trend for both the UI and specific apps. 

Ideal for low light and in situations where you need to save the battery, this system-wide dark theme, conserves a lot of power of your phone. Once you opt for this, the system UI changes to dark and the dark theme of the apps supporting it is also enabled. 

To activate the system-wide dark theme, either go to the ‘Settings’ or turn the ‘Battery Saver.’ 

You have the freedom to build a dark theme tailored to your app. You have the option to opt-in for a new Force Dark feature as well. This would allow the system to create a darker version from the existing theme dynamically. Another way is to leverage the AppCompat’s DayNight feature. This offers a dark theme for Android users with earlier versions. 

android-10-dark-mode
  • Live Caption

Do you watch videos with sound muted? 

Android 10 respects this decision of yours and still keep you follow along with what is being said in the video. This closed caption feature is a boon for people with impaired hearing or for people who are trying to figure out about the video in a noisy environment. Google has cleverly placed its feet in the competition.

Some known facts about Live Caption you need to know:

  • Appears in real-time automatically
  • For speech recognition, Android 10 hasn’t turned to the cloud.
  • Live Captions are powered by on-device Machine learning
  • Google has reduced the neural net from 2GB to 80MB. The neural net turns speech into text.
  • No squeezing out on your smartphone is guaranteed.
  • A tap and Live Captions on the go with the video, podcasts, and audio messages across any app.

Note:

This feature won’t be available with all the phones running Android 10. It will be available only with Google’s Pixel 4 and the first phone to support Live Caption. Later in the year, Pixel 3 and 3a models will get support later in the year. 

But Google has given a ray of hope by disclosing its plan. It has assured more devices having Live Captions. Therefore, Google is working with other Android phone makers to have this exciting feature run on maximum devices by 2020. 

  • Smart Reply

Based on the frequency of your reply to the messages, the mail client in Gmail suggests responses. You might have experienced this Smart Reply feature with Gmail. 

Android 10 has been served a similar feature into the OS’s notification system. You will get all the suggested responses to the notifications. Moreover, Android 10 has brought some more add-ons like you will be suggested relevant actions on the texts like- opening maps if an address is sent. 

Machine learning is the game behind these contextual actions in notifications. Apps can leverage the power of this feature without any herculean task. These replies and actions are injected directly into the notifications by default. You aren’t limited to this. You can supply your own replies and actions as well. This is possible if you opt-out of Smart Reply on every notification.

android-10-smart-reply
  • Sound Amplifier

Sound Amplifier, one of the great features in Android 10 is all about how one can hear everything more clearly. This feature turns your phone into a hearing aid. Sound Amplifier has boosted the sound, filtered the noise in the background, and tuned in such a way that it fits your hearing capacity. So if you are talking to someone, watching a TV series or listening to a lecture or browsing any audio file- all you have to do is plug in your headphones and experience hearing like never before. 

  • Gesture Navigation

The most significant change witnessed in the navigation bar was with Android 9 since Android 4.0. In Android 9 Pie, to view the recently-opened apps, you had to swipe at the bottom. Still, you had a back button to the left. With Android 10, this back button has vanished and you are introduced with a side-swipe gesture.

The Gesture Control feature in Android 10 is another improvement for Google’s mobile operating system. This new feature entirely replaces the older button design to make a smartphone more easy to use with just one hand. 

Gesture Control is mainly aimed at phones with edge-to-edge displays. Experience a smooth, intuitive, and quicker transition with Gesture control. Whether backward, forward, pull up or swipe up to check the open apps, Android 10 is all set to take you on a swipe and pull tour with Gesture Control. 

  • Privacy Control

Android 10 has come up with new privacy features. One of the most user-friendly updates is the Location Control. Android 10 has provided you the liberty to choose whether you want to get tracked by your location or not. Moreover, the location is tracked by the app only if it is running in the foreground. 

This change that Android 10 has introduced is welcomed as app permissions are one of the most damaging actions by offenders who directly sneak for gathering data. 

Android 10 has a primary focus on privacy by giving users more control over their data. With improved system UI, permissions way more strict than before, and limitations for the apps to use, Android 10 has accorded us with stronger protection options. 

Control over location data- Now users can control their location data by allowing the app to access their location only while the app is running in the foreground. This is a huge step in improving transparency and control for the users.

Protection in network scans- During the scanning for networks, most of the APIs ask for location permission. With Android 10, there is an increase in the protection by granting permission for fine location instead. The fine location allows the API to determine a precise location from the available location providers. 

Blocking unwanted interruptions- With Android 10, preventing an app launch has become hassle-free that unexpectedly jumps into the foreground and diverts your attention from the other app. 

Securing user data in external storage- Users can have good control over their files and the app data within them in external storage.  Thanks to Android 10’s privacy control features. Private sandboxes can be used by the apps for storing their own files. It is expected that apps must use MediaStore for accessing shared media files. The system file picker can be used to access shared files in the new Downloads collection.

Preventing device tracking- Now accessing non-resettable device identifiers for tracking, including device IMEI, serial number, and similar identifiers is difficult for the apps. When the device is connected to Wi-fi, the device’s MAC address is also randomized. 

android-10-privacy-control
  • Security

Since Android 10 has more focus on securing its users, it has introduced one level-up encryption, platform hardening, and authentication. 

Storage encryption- Encrypting user data has become a mandate for all devices that are compatible with Android 10. With this, Android 10 has brought Adiantum, a new encryption mode for encrypting user data efficiently. 

Platform hardening- Several security-critical areas are platform hardened(reduces the vulnerability factor for securing a system) by Android 10. 

TLS 1.3 by default- TLS 1.3 is a major revision to the TLS standard. The revision has introduced performance benefits and security enhancements. This feature is enabled by Android 10 by default. 

Improved Biometrics- Welcome the implicit and explicit authentication flows with passive authentication methods through the BiometricPrompt framework by Android 10. One of the passive authentication methods is face recognition that Google has introduced with Pixel 4 for Android 10. Earlier versions of Android like Marshmellow have basic fingerprint for authentication but as the time changes, the requirements change and so the technology. 

During authentication in the explicit flow, the user must confirm the transaction in the TEE explicitly. A lighter-weight alternative for a transaction is the implicit flow with passive authentication. 

Also, Android 10 has brought improvements for device credentials during fallback when needed. You can read further details here.

  • Location Control

Did you know?

Your apps have your location permanently which results in tracking your movements even if you aren’t using them that also with your permission. This will continue unless you toggle the settings before and after using any apps like Google Maps. 

With Android 10, you are relaxed with toggling as the location permissions have expanded. You can restrict your app from location access. With a similar feature that iOS is acquainted with, permanent location access is permitted only if the app is running in the foreground. 

Another add-on that comes with this feature is adjusting the location-sharing preferences. This is possible through a new location section in the settings. Also, a notification is triggered when an app running in the background is trying for accessing the location to give you a chance to adjust the setting. 

  • Focus Mode

What if you are engrossed in listening to a podcast but some of the messaging apps are disturbing you?

Simple. Block out those distractions while focusing in your zone.

Android 10 brings with it the Focus mode which enables you to block your distractions. You can select the apps to pause temporarily and continue with the one you were busy with. So simply turn off a distracting app and this you can achieve with a single tap. 

  •  Family Link

Are your children always around your phone?

You can make your smartphone a healthy habit by grounding some rules.

Help your kids grow, learn, and explore the world on the internet by setting the screen time limits, monitoring the app activity, and app management with restricting the contents.

With the Family Link feature on Android 10 you can:

  • Check the device Location
  • Set the screen limits
  • Limit the content they see.
android-10-family-link

Have some questions unanswered?

Watch this #AskAndroid session that awesomely answers some questions covering your doubts.

Other Features on the Shelf for Android 10

Leverage the power of Android 10 for building powerful apps for the following features:

  • Foldables 

Irrespective of the device being folded or unfolded, Android 10, in addition to robust multi-window support, extended multitasking across app windows. Further continuing to unlock its features, it provides screen continuity for maintaining the app state. 

Improvements in onResume and onPause for supporting multi-resume are another improvement by Android 10.  For managing the display of the app on foldable and large screens, Android 10 has brought some changes in the working of resizeableActivity manifest attribute. For building a foldable device, you can configure a foldable emulator as a virtual device in Android studio. For optimizing the apps for foldable, please refer to the developer guide

  • 5G Networks

Excited for the 5G network? 

Android 10 adds platform support for 5G as it has promised for faster speed and lower latency. Further, it extends existing APIs to leverage the benefits of these enhancements. 

To detect a high bandwidth connection or to check a metered connection, connectivity APIs can be used. 

Android 10 is all set to tailor experiences that are feature-rich for users through apps and games over 5G.

  • Camera Enhancements

There are a lot of enhancements in the Camera ecosystem for Android 10. They are listed below: 

HEIF ImagingNow you can save still images as Android 10 comes with the support to the new file format (.heic)
Dynamic DepthAcross Android, a new file format is introduced. This file format is for files that capture, store and share depth images including AR.
Monochrome Camera SupportNow app developers can get a native monochrome output on devices supporting this new camera type. 
Privacy ImprovementsA few characteristics of the camera requires permission before access. 
Recommended Stream ConfigurationsThis feature will ensure the developers to poll for preferable stream configurations on devices.
Secure Camera FrameworkThis feature ensures transporting camera frames securely by phone manufacturers.
  • Performance Improvements

The CPU performance may throttle due to the heating of the devices. This welcomes unnecessary disruption of the apps and games in an unexpected way. Other factors that affect the overall performance are complex graphics by the apps, heavy computations, and even sustained network activity that acts as an icing on the cake. These issues vary across devices with multiple factors. 

Thermal API can be used in Android 10 by the apps and games. This will help to monitor the changes and suggest suitable actions for low power usage to restore the normal temperature. 

A listener in PowerManager is registered by the apps. Through this listener, the apps can check the live thermal status ranging from light to severe, critical, and finally, a shutdown. 

To avoid any kind of damage to the hardware due to the heating of your phone, either because of charging or heavy CPU usage, the OS might disrupt the performance of the phone. 

With Android 10, the developers can control the usage of such features in apps that would pose a threat to the performance. While nominating such apps, they take care of the information so that you don’t lose any kind of key parts of the app. 

The documentation by Google suggested a few hacks that could be put to practice to avoid any kind of disruption. They are listed below:

  • Disable the flash of the camera.
  • Lower the graphics settings of the game, and so on.

This could help in avoiding any kind of damage to the hardware and moreover you don’t need to deal with less processing power across the board. 

  • Enterprise

Android 10 has not left the Enterprise domain untouched. The table below shows how Android 10 has introduced enhancements for Enterprise.

Improved provisioning tools for the work profileThe setup wizard is used for direct provision into a work profile.  
Device admin for enterprise deprecationEnabling more private and secure offerings such as work profile by removal of device admin for enterprise purposes. 
Separate input methods for work and personal profilesPut your favorite keyboard in use for the personal profile and a separate method for input for the work profile for IT.
  • Message & Sharing

Let see what Android 10 has for us in this ecosystem:

Suggested actions in notificationsSuggested replies and actions for all the text notifications are provided by Android 10. Developers can create their own suggestions. If they wish to opt-out from auto-suggestions, they will be able to do that as well.
New EmojisWelcome 65 new emojis with Android 10. The emojis have gender-inclusive designs like haircuts, weightlifting, and sauna.
Share Wi-fiKeep your password secure while sharing a Wi-fi connection with guests through a QR code. 
Improved Share sheetShare your content with your contacts quickly and without hassle. You can preview your previously sent content as well.

To get a brief about all the features that Android 10 has brought with it, please refer to the Android Developers’ Blog. 

Migrate Your Apps to Android 10

To migrate to Android 10:

  1. Ensure the Basic Compatibility: Make sure the existing published app is compatible with new devices running Android 10. Test to check whether it is fully functional with Android 10. 
  2. Build Apps in lieu of Android 10 features and APIs: Set up the development environment around the Android 10 features. Change the app’s targetSDKVersion. Build your app with new relevant APIs. 

How to get Android 10 SDK?

  • Install the latest version of Android Studio. You can refer to theAndroid Developer websitefor the link as well. 
  • Install the Android 10 SDK as follows:
  • Click Tools > SDK Manager.
  • SDK Platforms Tab has Android 10(29). Select that option.
  • From SDK Tools Tab, Select Android SDK Build-Tools 29 (or higher).
  • Begin the Installation process by Clicking on OK. 

In a Nutshell!

The Android app Development Companies are accorded with Android 10 and its innovative features that would drive the mobile industry to new heights. With the exciting new features of Android 10 hitting the market, Google has introduced yet another standout that is worth knowing. If you are an Android user, this blog will definitely add a feather to your techie caps about Android 10 and its enhanced features. 

Author Bio:

Sheelu George is a Senior Business Analyst at Fortunesoft IT Innovations.A technology enthusiast and a strong believer in end-to-end Software Product Engineering, agile & DevOps.

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