Google has showcased the latest version of Android, Android 14, at today’s Google Event. Alongside several other launches like Pixel 8, Pixel Watch 2, and Pixel Buds Pro, the company has shared new features and customization options available with Android 14.
In a blog post, Google introduced Android 14 stating:
“Android releases are one of the many ways your Android phone gets better over time. Last year, we introduced Android 13, bringing you features like Spatial Audio, messaging app streaming, cross-device copy/paste, a new media player and so much more.
We also did something a bit unusual for us: We brought forward several large-screen features originally planned for Android 14 and made them available as updates to Android 13. Those updates include improved multitasking, a refined Taskbar, and improved foldable support with bigger and better apps.”
Android 14 brings an updated customization picker that makes it easier for users to switch between wallpapers and update what they want to see at a glance. Users can set custom lock screen shortcuts to apps such as the QR reader or the Google Home app to have easy one-tap access right from their lock screens.
There are also new lock screen templates for fonts, widgets, and colors that individuals can choose from to personalize their devices further. The capability uses AI to adjust screens based on the user’s situation, so if there are unexpected changes in the weather, the weather widget becomes more prominent.
Coming to Pixel 8/8 Pro first, Android 14 is also offering generative AI wallpapers. The feature employs AI-generated text-to-image diffusion models to help users create their desired wallpapers. They can also choose from pre-set suggestions to enjoy unique wallpapers.
Building on the technology of high dynamic range (HDR) video in Android 13, Android 14 brings users HDR images with Ultra HDR to display and snap high-definition photos with vibrant colors.
Google also mentioned that Health Connect is now built into Android 14 settings, which organizes user data in one place and ensures privacy through data encryption. The update also provides more transparency to users on how their data is being used.
Google stated that on Android 14 when an app asks for permission for information like location, users will be notified whenever that app is sharing that data with third parties to help the user decide whether or not to grant access.
Additionally, Android 14 provides stronger digital protection for device PIN codes as well. It does so by allowing individuals to set a six-digit PIN, which, once entered correctly, will cause the device to unlock automatically.
Apart from these, Google has also introduced vision-and hearing-inclusive features. Low-vision users can get an improved magnifier where they can pinch to zoom in and out from 100%. They can also change the magnifier size and opt for the “Keep on when switching apps” feature to prevent the magnifier from being disabled when switching apps.
Additionally, Android 14’s font size Quick Settings tile offers users nonlinear font scaling to prevent texts from getting larger than necessary. Other accessibility features include a dedicated hearing-aid setup and “Flash notifications” from the Accessibility and Notifications settings to get visual light flashes for incoming notifications.
Android 14 has been released today on supported Pixel devices. But, on other Android devices like Samsung Galaxy, iQOO, Nothing, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi, it will be available later this year. You can read more on Android 14 here.