Google's upcoming Android Q firmware has made an appearance on the Geekbench Browser running on what appears to be the search giant's last-gen Pixel 2 handset. The details provided by the benchmark are slim at best, although there does seem to be a slight boost in performance optimization compared to previous tests of the device — designated "walleye.
All of the other specifications shown on the results page seem to point to the Google Pixel 2 flagship as well, despite the device's designation as "unknown AOSP on ARM64." That should mean that the firmware is far enough along in development that it will be ready to begin being shown off at this year's Google I/O Developers Conference in early May. That's backed further by earlier reports that an associated bug tracker has been added for beta testing of the OS.
Rumors, speculation, and leaks – Android Q Edition
Google will undoubtedly have a wealth of surprises in store when it announces Android Q and begins to roll out test variations in the final push toward release. The initial beta test for the update is also expected to be among the largest to date, if not the largest. Considerations about the features and improvements with the impending update haven't been quite as unrelenting this year as in previous years but that doesn't mean there aren't some big features.
Among the changes predicted to arrive in the update is one that has already been confirmed by Google itself — albeit accidentally via the bug tracker — and it's a big one. Android Q will mark the first time users will have access to a dedicated, system-level, and system-wide dark mode. By default, that's expected to appear under the Settings application's 'Display' subheading in stock Android and will apply to the entire underlying UI.
Wider support for chat-like RCS functionality in text messaging is predicted to arrive at the same time as well as a wider rollout of Digital Wellbeing features. The latter of those could additionally make its way across other Android-associated systems such as Chrome OS via integration with Google Chrome itself, starting with the mobile app.
More speculatively, information pooled from the Android Q framework and permissions indicates that a number of other big improvements are on the way too. Among those are the ability to roll applications back to a previous version in case an update to a given app breaks the software.
Another rollback could make an appearance with the return of background location permissions that allow apps to check location data behind the scenes. That developer feature began to be altered and removed back in Android Oreo, breaking some applications in terms of accurate functionality but could return with new permissions to help the user stay safe.
Following in the security vein, a new permission to read the clipboard should help keep users safe as well as new permissions meant to keep files stored externally away from prying apps.
What does the benchmark tell us about the Pixel 2?
Android Q being spotted on the Google Pixel 2 isn't necessarily surprising since the firmware update should eventually find its way to the handset and its larger counterpart. Google has historically released at least two firmware updates to each of its flagships shortly after the launch of the updated code.
That means the original Google Pixel was updated to Android 9 Pie and that both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL should be in line for an update to Android Q.
Google I/O 2019 just around the corner too, so Android Q should begin cropping up online at a measurably higher frequency than over the past several months as Google makes adjustments in preparation of that event.