Google on Wednesday announced the release of the first developer preview of Android 14, the next major release of the mobile operating system that powers Android smartphones and tablets.
With Android 14, Google’s announcement post focuses on new features that developers can take advantage of in the operating system preview.
Those features include enhanced support for Android 14 to function on various screen sizes, with a focus on tablet and foldable form factors.
The changes build on the foundation Google has laid for larger screens, starting with Android 12L and Android 13.
Google has several guidelines to help developers create better apps for tablets and foldables, such as a gallery dedicated to interfaces that look good and work on bigger screens. Google is rumored to be working on a Pixel foldable smartphone that could be released as soon as this spring, but it’d make more sense for Google to release its first foldable phone alongside Android 14, an operating system designed for that form factor.
Also: The 5 best foldable phones
There are also background enhancements to improve and streamline how apps work together, with a focus on improving battery and system health. Some examples include improvements to the JobScheduler, Foreground Services, optimized broadcasts for apps in the background state, and exact alarm permissions.
A big area of focus in Android 12 and Android 13 has been the ability for users to customize the overall look of their Android device. With Android 14, Google is adding better font scaling — of up to 200%, an increase over the previous 130% max. There are also improvements to per-app language preferences and a grammar inflection API for gender.
Android 14’s privacy and security updates include changes to how dynamic code loading works to help mitigate exploits in dynamically downloaded code for malware and exploits.
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The update will also block older apps that target SDK version 22 or older from being installed on Android 14 devices. That means apps will need to target Android 6, which uses API level 23, or newer. Android 6 was first released in 2015.
Google also included developer tools, like support for OpenJDK 17 support and improved testing of changes, with the ability to toggle changes via adb commands or the developer options on the device.
Google provided a timeline for future updates and expected releases of Android 14 up until its eventual launch. There will be two developer previews, one in February and another in March, followed by four beta releases of Android 14, one each month, through the end of July.
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As the name indicates, the first Android 14 build is designed specifically for developers in order to give them time to work with and integrate API changes into apps. It also gives those who like to live on the bleeding edge of technology a chance to get an early look at new features that will likely make their debut in the final version of Android 14 that is currently set to launch, most likely towards the end of the summer or early fall.
The developer preview is available as a manual download, and you’ll need to flash to your device. If that doesn’t make sense to you, then it’s best you wait until the beta program launches in April.
The Android 14 developer preview is available for the Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 5, Pixel 5A 5G, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro
You can find more information about the changes in Android 14, as well as information about flashing the system image on the Android 14 developer site.