What you need to know
- Android 14 is currently in beta on Pixel smartphones.
- Google highlights new features, including Ultra HDR, enhanced privacy, USB lossless audio, and more.
- More Android OEMs are now eligible for the Android 14 beta, including Nothing, OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, and several others.
As expected, Google launched the new Android 14 Beta 2 on the day of I/O 2023. The update is pretty significant and brings many new bug fixes to eligible Pixel phones. However, the company also opened up the beta program for other devices, and Google's VP of Engineering, David Burke, highlights some of what we can expect from Android 14.
Android 14 features
With the update comes a number of camera improvements. The first adds support for 10-bit high dynamic range, dubbed "Ultra HDR." The benefit of this is that supported devices can capture 10-bit images for more enhanced colors and more flexible editing. Android 14 is then able to retain the added sensor data when an Ultra HDR image is displayed, "enabling vibrant colors and greater contrast."
Other camera enhancements bring added to Android 14 include additional improvements to Camera Extensions, giving apps access to even more camera capabilities, such as low-light photography. In-sensor zoom is also supported in Android 14, which "give[s] a cropped RAW stream the same pixels as the full field of view."
Besides the camera, Google is improving predictive back with enhanced animations for developers to take advantage of, full-screen intent notifications, improved graphics capabilities, and lossless USB audio for "audiophile-level experiences over USB wired headsets." Burke reiterates its new data-sharing update, informing users when an app shares their data with a third party for advertising purposes.
Health Connect is also getting some new features, such as the ability to share maps of workout routes and easier menstrual logging. It will become a core part of Android 14, meaning users will be able to access it from their phone settings.
Of course, these are just some of the Android 14 features the company announced during Google I/O.
More phones join the beta
In addition to highlighting these new features, Google is now opening up the Android 14 beta to many of the best Android phones from various OEMs, and the following will be among the first to bring the beta to their phones:
- Xiaomi (Xiaomi 13 Pro, Xiaomi 13, Xiaomi 12T)
- OnePlus (OnePlus 11)
- OPPO (OPPO Find N2 Flip)
- Nothing (Nothing Phone 1)
- Tecno (Camon 20 series)
- Vivo (Vivo X90 Pro)
- iQOO (iQOO11)
Installing the Android 14 beta is relatively easy if you're on a Pixel smartphone. Updating on other phones, however, is a bit more involved, and you'll want to follow the OEM's instructions to get the software on your eligible phone. That said, there are plenty of bugs and issues with these builds while the OEMs get the software sorted out, so install it at your own risk.
Interestingly, Samsung is noticeably absent from the list of eligible Android partners, despite being spotted internally testing One UI 6. Hopefully, that's a sign that the company will launch a beta relatively soon. After all, Samsung has already announced the upcoming One UI 5 Watch beta, which is likely based on Wear OS 4.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.