Android 10: Are we there yet?

  • September 30, 2019
Android 10
Hits & Misses of Android 10

If guessing the name of a dessert starting from Q has had you scratching your head till it bursts, here’s a bummer- Google decided to ditch its conventional nomenclature based on lip-smacking desserts with Android 10. Earlier speculated to be called as Android Q (well, who can think of a dessert name that starts with a Q), Android 10 is loaded with some interesting features that go way beyond just user experience. The first thing that will strike you, is of course, the new logo and updated branding that seems to have matured over the years. And this time, Android seems to have upped their game by extending improved privacy and security features while upgrading the user experience. 

Android seems to have been inspired by iOS functionalities, in an effort to make the transition from iOS to Android easier. And unlike earlier, the next time you think of switching to Android from iOS, there will be much lesser factors voting against it. 

For hardcore Android lovers, the Android 10 packs a pretty decent feature list with a few hits and misses that will gradually improve. Lots of things from Settings to Sharing, Emojis to HEIF imaging have been through a revamp, and what the users think of it, only time will tell.

Here we’ve critiqued the best from the rest features, upgrades and capabilities of Android 10, that would want you to get hold of an Android phone now! 

1.Gesture-based navigation

Google claims its new gesture-based navigation in Android 10 to be supersmooth, quicker and spontaneous. As handy as it may appeal in its first look, gesture-based navigation is still not fine-tuned with Android 10. Google seems to have been revamping its way around gesture-based navigation and this time it’s termed to be ‘fully gestural navigation’, to replicate Apple’s navigation. Attempting to make the switch from iOS to Android easy for the users, the gesture navigation in Android 10 isn’t perfect, yet. It has added usable screen real estate but also a plight to the app developers- since it has made the in-app navigation, intricate. This is estimated to lead to unpredictable user experience. The navigation drawer and the back gesture can be overlapping each other and the navigation is also app-specific, meaning app developers can customize the experience, totally hitting the UX consistency across Android phones.

2. Into the dark

The pleas for dark theme have finally been answered by Google with Android 10. Apart from being preferred by dark theme and display lovers, this sheer black theme is also going to help improve the battery performance for phones with OLED screens. The dark theme can be selected manually and will be applied to all the in-built apps of the phone by default, barring a few exceptions. (Dark mode for gmail was added a week after the launch of Android 10) You can also force the dark theme on apps that do not have the functionality to enable dark theme and the display will be close to dark grey. Nonetheless, Android 10 dark theme is anticipated to be the most-loved feature in Android 10 for individual users. 

3. Iron-grip your privacy

With the all-new Permission Manager available in the settings, Android 10 offers a more triable platform to control all the privacy settings under the same section. Android 10 groups all the privacy-related settings and controls scattered under various sub-settings together and you can pick, configure and have better control over your privacy- right from usage data to autofill forms. You can control app permissions, control what data is collected and opt-out of unwanted ads and remarketing. Additionally, you can now give selective access to location (similar to iOS) while actively using the app and you’ll be notified which application is using your location in the background. 

With the growing need for privacy, this, in general, is a highly imperative feature upgrade and also an improvement from the UX perspective. 

4. Quick security updates

With Android 10, installing security updates will be faster. Important security and privacy fixes will be directly sent to the phone with Google Play System updates and you can update these just like you update any other applications. You do not have to wait for an OS update anymore! 

5. Smart replies

An Android update calls for a change in notifications! Android 10 simplifies replying to messages and handling notifications with smart suggested responses. Available for any messaging app installed on the phone, it also suggests actions based on the messages, for example, if a message contains an address, it prompts to open the same in Google Maps. The notification assistant of Android 10 will result in quicker actions and saved time. 

6. Improved Digital Well-being

Google launched Digital wellbeing last year in an attempt to create a balanced usage environment with the functionality to enforce scheduled downtimes. 

With Android 10’s Family Link Parental control, you can now set ground rules for your kids by setting screen time limits, enhanced app and content restrictions, location tracking and monitoring app activity. 

With Android 10 Focus Mode, you can tap and customize notifications for certain applications and these notifications will fall under the silent notifications, not vibrating, ringing or even waking the screen up- lesser distractions, better focus! 

These features will be available for Pixels and devices with Digital Well-being suite. 

7. Listening is gold

With Sound Amplifier, your Android 10 phone will boost sound, filtering background noises amplifying your listening experience altogether. Hearing aids will double up as Bluetooth speakers with Android 10, paving the way for assistive technology. 

8. Live Captions

Currently available only for Pixels, with Live Captions by Android 10 you can enable live captions across all applications, on any media including videos, podcasts and audio files on the phone without connecting to the internet. Again, an excellent feature to extend an uninterrupted experience to deaf/hard of hearing users. 

9. Scan & Share WiFi connections

Enable other users to connect to the WiFi network that your device is connected to by generating a barcode that can be scanned to connect. The barcode also provides the password of the network and accessing these settings need fingerprint/password authentication.

10. Fold, hold and move with 5G

Foldables are one of the finest differentiators, practically unmatched to date. Android 10 extends official support to foldable smartphones and the UX on foldable devices has been scaled to suit across applications. Switching between displays is seamless, with applications quickly adopting the change in screen dimensions. Paving the way for multitasking using bigger screens, Android 10 has built-in support for 5G, which simply means an exceptional experience for gaming and AR. 

Android 10 attempts to generate enough curiosity around itself with a decennial name and a bunch of functionalities that Android users were waiting for. It’s momentous, but is not totally fresh and first-rate. If you own a Pixel, you’ll still love it. Others, have to wait for a while…

Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.

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