Google Launches Android Q Beta 2 With New Tools & More

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Google released the second Beta build of Android Q earlier today, having done so at approximately 10 AM PST.

The new software build is being pushed out primarily with the goal of addressing the wide variety of bugs users and Google itself discovered to date. Updated SDKs are also part of the package but the same can't be said of any new tools. The latest Android Security Update dated April 1 is included as well, so regardless of whether you're participating in the company's beta initiative, expect new patches for the Pixel handsets in a matter of hours.

As was the case with the first experimental build of Android Q, Beta 2 is available exclusively on first-party Android smartphones, i.e. those coming from Google itself. Besides the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 lineups which were already guaranteed to support the operating system upgrade from Google that hits the stable channel in 2019, the testing program also extends to the 2016 Pixel range. Enrollment remains straightforward and updates are still being pushed out over the air, though it's a matter of hours at worst until Google releases the stock system images of the new firmware build so that anyone willing to flash it manually can do so.

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Isolated storage, the functionality introduced with the first beta, is now taking up a larger portion of the Pixel phones' flash memory, which is by design – Google is adamant to wrap up its work on the feature in the coming months. The OS now also delivers native support for a rather elegant take on app windows, which Google calls Bubbles. The official Android Studio emulator can now mimic foldable devices, share sheets got better, and granular microphone controls are now a thing, assuming users agree to grant the necessary permissions to apps trying to make use of them with the goal of delivering three-dimensional soundscape, "zoomable" audio, or anything of the sort.

The original Pixel and Pixel XL are certainly showing their age by now and if you're still sticking with them to date, chances are your battery has been shot to death. Android Q promises to go an extra mile in the energy autonomy department with some new tweaks and optimizations, though your everyday experience will naturally vary based on a broad group of factors, many of which are difficult to predict even individually.

Keep in mind that what Google now officially refers to as a "Beta 2" build would actually be called "Developer Preview 2" last year; in other words, straightforward monikers notwithstanding, this is technically closer to an alpha version of the software and things aren't just likely to break – they're expected to. So, it would be wise not to rely on Android Q as the default OS option of whatever smartphone you use as your daily driver.

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The next experimental build of the software should be released in just over a month; it's expected to debut on May 7, i.e. coincide with the first day of the Google I/O 2019 developer conference. That particular software version should be packed with finalized APIs and system behaviors as well, meaning it will also be expanding its availability beyond the Pixel range. Android Q is still planned to hit the stable channel in the third quarter of the year, following six betas in total.