Google’s latest version of Android was released in September of 2019. Android 10 was a big improvement over the previous version and Google also moved away from the tradition of using alphabetical nomenclature based on desserts with this update. Let us look at some of the advantages of using Android 10 over the previous versions of Android like Pie and Oreo.
This update mainly focuses on three key areas, besides improvements to other features as well.
- Ability to process Machine learning/Neural networks and support for new breed of mobile devices like foldable-s and 5G enabled devices.
- Privacy and Security.
- Digital Wellbeing controls. This feature is accessible via Google’s Digital wellbeing app.
Let us go over these features in more detail.
1.0 Machine Learning (ML), foldable-s and UI:
- Android 10 supports better multitasking and multi window capabilities with devices that use larger sized displays or foldable displays. Foldable displays offer the option to implement screen continuity by transitioning from one screen to another automatically. To provide a great user experience, it is important that the current task continues seamlessly after the transition. This helps developers by giving better support for foldable devices.
- Android 10 adds support for 5G modems through APIs to take advantage of the enormous speeds that comes with 5G networks like the ones developed by Qualcomm.
- Smart Reply
- Android 10 uses Machine Learning on the device to suggest replies/actions to notifications. Qualcomm’s on-device AI Engine coupled with Android’s newest capabilities make compelling AI experiences for the user.
- Cosmetic changes:
- Besides the above there are a few cosmetic changes like new and improved Gesture Navigation, System wide Dark mode, new setting panel API’s etc.
2.0 Security and Privacy:
Security and privacy is the central focus of the Android 10 update from google. Some of the improvements to privacy and security are listed below.
Privacy related changes:
- More control over Location data: You can now set location permissions for apps running in the foreground.
- Protecting Location Data in network scan: Android 10 increases the protection around network scanning api’s
- Preventing device tracking: Apps can no longer track device serial numbers and IMEI. Even MAC address is randomized on every connect/disconnect of Wi-Fi.
- Securing user data in external storage: apps can only store data in their own private storage area. Access to other files will have to be done via the media store.
- Blocking unwanted interruptions: Unwanted interruptions to the foreground apps by background apps are prevented.
Security related changes:
- Storage encryption: user data storage is now encrypted by default on all devices using Adiantum encryption mode (optional).
- TLS 1.3 by default with better performance benefits and security enhancements.
- Platform hardening of security critical areas.
- Improved biometrics: BiometricPrompt framework now supports passive authentication methods such Face and adding specific authentication rules/flow for unlock.
3.0 Camera and Media
- Dynamic Depth: JPEG and XMP metadata relating to depth is now added. This lets the use of specialized blurs and Bokeh effects.
- Audio playback capture: Any audio playing app can let other apps to record the playback.
- New audio video codecs like AV1 codec which uses less bandwidth can be used for streeming, Opus and HDR10+ support.
- Native MIDI API’s for communicating with MIDI devices via NDK.
- Directional Zoomable microphones: New MicrophoneDirection APIs can be used to find where specific sounds are coming from. These can then be processed by applications.
- 1 support for high performance 3D graphics.
- Improved Peer to peer and internet connectivity for managing IOT devices.
- Wifi performance modes to use in situations where low latency is required like gaming.
5.0 Android foundations
- ART optimizations help start applications faster and consume less RAM.
- Neural Networks API 1.2
- Thermal API to help reduce temperature of device in chalenging environments.
- Faster updates using treble.
Performance comparison with older Android versions:
CPU, Memory and UX performances are similar to android 9. GPU performance has improved. Both AnTuTu and 3DMark scores went up by around 2.5%. It’s a small jump, but it seems to be related to the Vulkan API. Android 10 has optimized the Vulkan API better. Android 10 requires Vulkan 1.1 on all 64-bit devices which could be the reason for the performance improvement.
Smart wireless’ Qualcomm Snapdragon based products are all supported with Android BSPs with long-life guarantee and Android 10 upgrades for these platforms are in the pipeline. Stay tuned!