A brief rundown of Android 14’s pre-launch journey
Google first announced the Android 14 OS on February 8, 2023, releasing a developer preview and roadmap along with it. The preview included an updated Software Development Kit (SDK) and tools that enabled programmers to prepare their apps for compatibility with the OS. Early APIs and features allowed them to experiment and provide feedback.
Meanwhile, the roadmap outlined the key milestones for the software, providing a timeline for everyone to understand its progression. Google then split its release into four monthly Beta versions:
- Beta 1 (April 12, 2023): It was the first Android 14 Beta and aimed to gather developer feedback on early API changes, system behaviors, and potential bugs.
- Beta 2 (May 10, 2023): Introduced Material You theming enhancements, dynamic wallpapers, improved app permissions management, and faster loading times, among other features.
- Beta 3 (June 7, 2023): Focused on platform stability to ensure that the core APIs and app-facing behaviors were finalized.
- Beta 4 (July 11, 2023): Concentrated on bug fixes, performance optimizations, and refining existing features for a smooth user experience. It provided a peek into the near-final OS before the official release.
Android 14 Brings Many Improvements And Customizations
Android 14 outshines Android 13 features with notable upgrades, including a streamlined Quick Settings panel that enhances Bluetooth device connectivity. Before, you had to long-press the button in the panel to enter the settings menu, link devices, and make advanced changes. But now, a simple tap launches a pop-up menu where you can do it all simultaneously.
UltraHDR mode in the camera app is another mouthwatering feature. It captures superior highlight and shadow details in any scene compared to standard HDR.
Meanwhile, Generative AI wallpapers offer personalization we haven’t seen in years. It combines human input and AI prompts to bring fresh images to life. You’ll save yourself from endless scrolling on Pinterest, Google search, or your phone’s app store for wallpapers and create your own from scratch.
There’s more where those came from
Extra features you’ll discover on Android 14 include:
- Phone as a webcam: Connect your phone to your laptop via USB, WiFi, or Bluetooth, and it turns into a camera and microphone source for your virtual meetings.
- Enhanced PIN security: Choose a six-digit PIN instead of the regular four-digit PIN for unlocking your device. Also, auto-confirm is now possible for Pixel devices.
- Health Connect: A centralized hub that gathers your health and fitness data from various apps, providing you with a holistic view of your well-being.
- Google Home: Access and control smart home devices like lights, thermostats, and speakers from the Quick Settings panel.
- Improved magnification: Zoom in on any part of the screen with greater precision and adjust the magnification level as you want.
You may be eligible to get Android 14
All Pixel phones from the 4a (5G) to the 8 series, including the Fold and Tablet models, are qualified for Android 14 as it’s Google’s own software. Manufacturers like Samsung, Nothing, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sony, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi are most likely to receive Android 14 on their devices with varying timeframes, depending on the eligibility of the models.
These releases should happen within the year or begin in Q2 to Q4 of 2024. Samsung is already rolling out its custom One UI 6 skin for the Android 14 base and even testing the 6.1 build on select Galaxy smartphones.
What’s next for Google?
Android 15 is the next major update after the Upside Down Cake version. Tech Journalist Mishaal Rahman says that it will bear the codename “Vanilla Ice Cream,” although Google hasn’t made an official statement or announced its release date. But we should expect the official release to arrive around October this year, with a Developer Preview for selected Pixel devices in the next few months.
If you’re lucky enough to own the Galaxy S24 series, you’ll be able to get it and future updates until 2031. But for the Pixel 4a and other devices, Android 14 is the end of the road. You may check the official Android website or its social media channels to keep updated with OS news and release schedules.