Google has released the first Developer Preview version of Android 14 for Pixel devices, ahead of officially revealing the operating system to the public later this year. Before you go rushing off to download and install the software, Google makes it very clear that this is for developers and app testing only, and isn’t suitable for everyday use.
- Bigger screens
- Battery life
If you decide to install it anyway, some features may not be operational, and you may encounter various bugs. Still, it’s an important and exciting next step into this year’s big Android update.
This bugginess will always be the case though, and once Android 14 reaches its Beta stage, then Google will release a version that’s suitable for consumers to test as part of the Android 14 Beta program. It estimates the operating system will remain as a developer preview until mid-March at the earliest and will reach Beta between then and sometime in April. After this, it expects the software to become stable around June, and a final release to come after the summer.
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While the Developer Preview is primarily used for testing and assessment, Google’s documentation has given us a few hints about what improvements and upgrades Android 14 will deliver. At the moment, these are based on three different areas:
Google states Android 14 will be more compatible with larger screens, continuing on from the work it has already done in Android 12L and Android 13. It’s working to provide a more consistent app experience across different screens and devices and making sure none become system resource hogs. The software will guide developers to build apps with enhanced multitasking features. What this means is Google’s making Android 14 even more suitable for folding smartphones, and for tablets too.
In Android 14, Google is emphasizing the importance of accessibility and individual language requirements. In its words, Google is “making it easier for developers to enable users to choose their preferred language for individual apps and adding support for different terms of address when referring to users in a gendered language.”
Android 14 will also include a 200% font size, increased from 130% in Android 13, complete with non-linear scaling to make text easier to read, and for it to be presented in a natural way.
In its documentation on the Android 14 Developer Preview, Google goes into plenty of technical detail about new background processes designed to optimize app performance, all of which means it’s working to make the software more power efficient. These include changes to how devices manage downloads over Wi-Fi, how apps are cached, and even the way alarms and calendars are managed. This means you should get more use from a single battery charge.
Beyond these three key areas, Google is also working on improving security, recognizing and blocking malware, speeding up app updates, and further improving system stability. Google hasn’t talked about more consumer-facing feature updates, or changes to the overall design, in Android 14 yet. It’s likely to reveal more during its annual Google I/O developer conference, which usually takes place in May.
The Android 14 Developer Preview must be manually installed on your device, and is compatible with all Pixel smartphones from the Pixel 4a and going up to the more recent Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. However, we suggest you don’t install it on your everyday phone, and wait for the official beta release before trying it out.
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