Google recently unveiled the first developer preview of its latest mobile operating system – Android 14. Called UpSideDownCake, Android 14 seems like an iterative upgrade to Android 13 and brings in several new features and a few improvements.
According to Google, Android 14 is due for another developer preview sometime in March and will enter beta testing in April this year. As always, the final release will be sometime in the latter half of 2023. While Android 14 Developer Preview 1 does not change the user interface drastically, the developers did introduce numerous under-the-hood changes aimed at improving the device’s performance, reducing battery consumption, and improving security.
Support for large screens
Google says they are also improving the multi-device experiences with the Cross-device SDK preview, which allows developers to create apps that work across different screen sizes.
Improved accessibility features
With Android 13, Google introduced support for per-app language, which means users could use apps in their preferred language. Android 14 is improving on the feature and will let developers customise the language list per region and is adding support for users who speak languages which have grammatical gender.
The latest version of Android also allows users to increase the font size to up to 200 per cent, which was earlier limited to 130 per cent in Android 13 and has added support for non-linear scaling.
Optimisations to battery life
The Android 14 documentation goes into deep detail as to how the latest version of the operating system improves battery usage and resource consumption. Some of the new optimisations include how Android manages downloads over Wi-Fi and restricting apps which do not require strict timing schedules like the clock or calendar app.
Google has also made several optimisations to how apps are handled when they enter a cached state. The developers might also add a new permission that lets users choose if an app can send alarms to the system, which might result in an increase in the overall battery life.
New security features
Google is also blocking the sideloading of older apps with Android 14. The operating system will now block apps with a targetSdkVersion lower than 23, which means users will be unable to install apps designed for Android 6 or older.
Apart from changes to the credential manager, the developers might also bring Passkey support. Android 14 will also put apps which dynamically load code in read-only mode to prevent code injection. This prevents apps trying to inject malicious code in the system from harming the operating system.
Android 14 developer beta 1 supported devices
Right now, the first developer beta of Android 14 which is also known as UpSideDownCake is available for select Pixel smartphones such as Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro.