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Android Q Engineering AMA Tidbits: Time-based Dark Theme, Screen Recording, more



With the release of Android Q Beta 5, Google announced that they would be hosting a Reddit AMA, to answer our burning questions about Android Q and almost everything else Android related. That AMA took place this afternoon, with the Android engineering team providing fun and interesting tidbits about, among other things, Android Q and what may be coming with Android R.

Screen recording

In the early releases of the Android Q beta, it was possible, with only a minor Settings change, to enable a handy, built-in screen recording UI. Unfortunately, this screen recorder was short-lived, disappearing in the third beta, outside of a change via ADB.

One redditor asked when we should expect built-in screen recording to return, outside of “super sketchy apps.” To this, the product manager for Android UI, Allen Huang, shared that screen recording is just one part of what we should expect for Android R.

Given Dave’s signed us up for scrollable screenshots AND how often users are taking screenshots – we’re taking a close look at how we can improve the whole screen-[X] experience for R. We certainly think that these types of functions are things that should be core to the operating system.

Dark theme improvements

One of the hottest topics of Android Q has been native dark mode support. Naturally, it came up multiple times throughout today’s Android Q AMA. More specifically, a few redditors asked about Dark Mode being able to be triggered automatically.

One model Google had previously considered for switching to and from dark mode was based on sunset and sunrise time, but this was scrapped due to it requiring fairly accurate location data. Allowing users to set dark mode based on time of day is being considered, but will apparently not be possible in stock Android Q.

Privacy improvements

Having been asked a question about Play Store policy enforcement, product manager for privacy on Android, Charmaine D’Silva, shared an interesting statistic. You may recall last year that Google made a significant change, restricting permission to Android call and text logs almost exclusively to the primary phone call or texting app on your device. While that change was controversial at the time, D’Silva has shared the upside to that privacy change:

For example, last fall, we introduced the SMS and Call Log policies that limited the types of apps that could request for these permissions. As a result, today, the number of apps with access to this sensitive information has decreased by more than 98%. The vast majority of developers were able to switch to an alternative or eliminate minor functionality.

Open Source Wear OS?

As you may know, Google’s Wear OS, having once been called Android Wear, is based heavily on Android. However, unlike Android, Wear OS is not open source, meaning OEMs and developers are not able to read through the code to gain a deeper understanding of the system or even make changes.

When asked whether Wear OS would ever be open sourced, tech lead manager of the Android Open Source Project, Jeff Bailey, had “nothing new to share at this time.”

Changes to Android’s future development

As you may know, Google has a public bug/issue tracker where users and developers can share issues with Android — and certain other Google products — more or less directly with Google. However, while some issues posted may catch traction with some public attention, many go ignored for months at a time or are rejected in a confusing manner — this was the case for the original request for scrolling screenshots earlier this year.

A concerned redditor brought up the possibility of Google taking issues raised by developers and the public more seriously in the future. Jeff Bailey tackled this question first by pointing out that the issue tracker has high potential to be overwhelmed, as more tech-savvy people become aware of it. But he didn’t close the door on the idea, stating that it’s possible that some teams may work directly with “external” bugs in the future.

Our developers currently work only on internal bugs. There are a few teams that’ve expressed interest in working directly externally, and we’re trying to figure out how to do this.


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MediaTek Dimensity 800 5G SoC unveiled for mid-range smartphones




MediaTek recently announced its high-end Dimensity 1000 5G chipset for the premium smartphones and now the company has unveiled its new chipset in the same series for the mid-range devices — MediaTek Dimensity 800.

This new 5G-enabled chipset from the company will take on the likes of Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 platform and is expected to make its way to the smartphones in the second quarter of next year.


While the company has revealed this new chipset, the company is yet to reveal any of the tech specs of the Dimensity 800 SoC, including the die size, the CPU/ GPU core architectures, clock speeds and the 5G modem.

The company is likely to reveal more details in Q1 2020 when the chipset will be officially released for the global market. However, leaks reveal that the MediaTek Dimensity 800 will bear the model number MT6873, which was first spotted online last month.

It is said to come with the in-house Helio M70 5G modem and an octa-core CPU comprising of two heavy-duty Cortex A76 cores and six power-efficient Cortex-A50 cores. The chip is rumored to enter commercial production in Q2 2020, which lines up nicely with news that devices powered by the new chip will launch by the middle of next year.


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Android 10 Go is a faster and more secure update to Google’s lightweight OS




Google has detailed its latest version of Android Go, its lightweight operating system meant for low-powered devices with less than 1.5GB of RAM. With Android 10 (Go Edition), Google says it has improved the operating system’s speed and security. App switching is now faster and more memory efficient, and apps should launch 10 percent faster than they did on the last version of the OS.

Android 10 Go also sees the introduction of Adiantum, the new encryption standard meant for low-powered devices that Google first announced earlier this year. Google previously said that Adiantum is five times faster than Android’s typical AES encryption on low-powered devices, and doesn’t require specialized hardware to run, making strong encryption on cheaper devices much more feasible.

Since its introduction in 2018, Google says that there have been 1,600 Android Go devices released by 500 manufacturers across more than 180 countries. The operating system can be found in around 80 percent of new entry-level Android phones according to Google, which makes it a very important OS for anyone who can’t afford, or doesn’t want, to spend more money than they need to on a smartphone.

Google expects the first devices running Android 10 (Go Edition) to start releasing later this fall.


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A List Of All Android Phones That Are Running On Google’s Android 10 Right Now




Unlike iOS, Android is riddled with the problem of fragmentation. Hence, even after Google announces the next stable iteration of Android, it takes most OEMs months to come out with a stable update for their crop of devices. Android 10, the latest iteration of the world’s most popular smartphone operating system, was officially unveiled on September 3.

The Android 10 update was a significant upgrade in that it focused on privacy and other finer details that make up for a much more robust, and secure experience. Some important updates include an all-new dark mode, support for foldable phones, new gesture navigations and live captions.

Enlisted below are the phones that have either received stable Android 10 updates or open betas based on stable Android 10.

  1. Google Pixel Series
Google Pixel 3a

This was a no-brainer. Coming from the house of the company that owns Android, the Pixel series of phones are the first phones to get new software updates. Starting from September 3, stable Android 10 has been rolled out to all Pixel phones: Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2XL, Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 3XL, Google Pixel 3a, and Google Pixel 3a XL.

  1. Essential Phone
Andy Rubin's Essential Phone has a screen so big it wraps around the selfie cam

This phone, made by the company founded by the father of Android (Andy Rubin), was the first phone apart from the Pixel series to receive the stable Android 10 update. The Essential Phone is the only smartphone that has stepped out of the company’s stable and is famously known as the first mainstream phone to have a notch. Essential Phone has had a great record in terms of delivering software and security updates (probably because there’s only one phone they ever had to care about).

  1. OnePlus 7/ OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus has been one of the few OEMs that have had a good track record in terms of delivering updates inspite of having a relatively bigger portfolio of phones. On the day of the announcement of stable Android 10, OnePlus also announced its open betas for the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. If you own either, you can simply head to the blog post and copy the Android 10 ROM to your phone for a local system upgrade. Upgrading to the Open Beta based on Android 10 won’t erase any data but we’d still recommend you take a backup just in case anything goes wrong.

4. Redmi K20 Pro


This is by far the most interesting update of all. Redmi, that is known to take its own sweet time to deliver Android updates (because of highly customized MIUI), was one of the first OEMs to announce a beta based on stable Android 10. Owners of Redmi K20 Pro had chance until September 8 to try their hands on a stable Android 10 update. A new report suggests that the final update will roll out to all Redmi K20 Pro owners in October, which is still pretty commendable.

As mentioned above, these are phones that either run stable Android 10 or open betas based on stable Android 10. If you’re interested in checking if an official beta’s available for your phone or not, you can head here to do so.


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