Google kicks off Android 14 with the first developer preview build

Google Pixel 7 Pro lower half of home screen on green background
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has launched the first developer preview for Android 14.
  • The build is mainly developer focused, with little in the way of user-facing changes.
  • The preview is available to manually flash on the Pixel 4a 5G and newer Pixel smartphones.

Android 13 is in full swing, with companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, and more continuing to update their phones. So naturally, it’s time to start preparing for Android 14. Google announced the developer preview for Android 14 on Wednesday, kicking off the first phase of Google’s next major upgrade cycle.

Since this is a developer preview, Google isn’t revealing an abundance of user-facing features. Instead, the changes are focused more on developers and are mostly background changes.

One user-facing change with Android 14 allows the font to be scaled up by 200%, where it was previously. In addition to this change, Google is making it so that text that’s already large enough won’t scale as fast as smaller text. You can see the scaling difference below to get an idea of how it’ll work.

Android 14 font scaling

(Image credit: Google)

Where Android 13 introduced per-app languages, Android 14 is building on that and allowing developers to customize the language list based on the region. It also includes APIs that provide better support for grammatically gendered languages.

For security, Google is blocking the installation of apps that target anything below targetSdkVersion 23. This is to protect users from malware, which often targets version 22 to avoid protections implemented in newer versions.

Lastly, Google is streamlining background tasks in Android to help optimize operations like downloading and uploading files over Wi-Fi. This, along with changes to exact alarms and optimizations to the broadcast system, is meant to simplify app development thanks to new APIs while also improving battery consumption.

Google has increasingly focused on enabling ways to developers to build apps that work across various device types and screen sizes, and that continues with Android 14, with Google pointing to its various tools in Jetpack Compose, app guidelines for large screens, and cross-device SDK.

For those of you interested in trying out the Android 14 developer preview, it'll be available as a manual download that you can flash to your smartphone. Eligible phones include the Pixel 7 series all the way down to the Pixel 4a 5G. As it’s a very early developer build, we don’t recommend flashing it to your primary smartphone.

Android 14 testing schedule

(Image credit: Google)

As for the testing schedule, it mirrors that of Android 13’s testing phase, with developer previews in February and March, beta releases starting in April, and platform stability by June. That means, like last year, we might expect stable Android 14 to reach Pixel smartphones by August, with other Android phones receiving it in the following months.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

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.