Android Q Beta 2 boasts a new feature that allows users to control the left-right balance of the audio. The option is system-wide and can be found in the software's accessibility menu.
Any addition to software that increases user control and makes the phone more customizable is a welcome one. While stock Android isn't the first to have this feature built-in, it only makes sense since the Pixel devices are well-known for the stereo speakers they so proudly brandish. The hardware in every version of the Google-branded handsets has held tightly to front-facing dedicated speakers, even when everyone else has ditched them for aesthetics. It is true that some users hate them just as much as the loyal fans are happy to have them. Without a doubt, the continuous choice by Google has been controversial, and it seems about time that the speakers residing in thick bezel get some software to help make them worth it.
In order to access this new addition to Android Q, you'll have to open the Accessibility page within the Settings and from there tap the section Audio & on-screen text. Under that heading, there is a slider titled Audio Balance that can be tapped anywhere on it to adjust the sound.
The Android Q Betas are only available on Pixel devices as of now, and the day of the official version of Android 10 being released grows near. The Pixel handsets have always drawn users away from other phones because of the smooth and quickly-updated software that Google brings to the table. The newest version of Android is proving not to be an overhaul, but rather a refinement of Android Pie. To most, this is a welcome change, since the software released on the Pixel 3 devices have had their issues and complaints.
The addition of left-right audio control is not the first choice that Google has made in favor of customization. Anyone who has the Beta can attest to the new ability to change the notification shade icons to a few different colors; a feature that OnePlus has already been implementing.
The Pixel phones along with stock Android are widely considered to have the best software of any Android device. Users enjoy the fluidity and simple design of it. Android has always been rather a customizable interface, especially compared to Apple devices. It is great to see that Google is jumping forward with the customization of its official software, hoping to find that sweet-spot of simplicity and customization.
The timing for this particular audio change is interesting regarding the recent leaks of the proposed Pixel 4 device. Here, both the standard Pixel and the Pixel 4 XL are shown with circular display cut-outs and slim surrounding bezels. If these rumors are true, Google could be releasing phones for the first time with hardware that is on par with other devices, such as the recent Samsung Galaxy S10 series. The downside of this would be ditching front-firing speakers for good. For many, the refreshing look will be a change welcomed with open arms; however, only time will tell whether the leaks are true. Hopefully, more information will be revealed for both hardware and software at Googles upcoming I/O conference on May 7th.