Google releases first Android 14 public beta for Pixel devices
Android 14 will be released to the public later this yearBy Kishalaya Kundu
What just happened? Having rolled out two Developer Previews in February and March, Google has now released the first Android 14 Beta with a few tweaks to the user interface and other minor changes. The new release is compatible with a slew of Pixel devices, including the Pixel 4a 5G and newer.
It is also the first Android 14 version to be rolling out over-the-air, allowing just about anybody with a supported device to install it as a standard OTA update. Users wanting to test drive the new software can do so by simply enrolling their device on the Android beta website. However, since this is not a stable release, it is likely to have multiple unresolved bugs, so it may not be the best idea to download it on your daily driver.
The Android 14 beta 1 does not come with many new features, but there are a few interesting new additions worth pointing out. First off, there's a new back arrow that will now be visible when interacting with apps. Google says it will improve the gesture navigation experience by "(improving) back gesture understanding and usefulness." The arrow will also match the device's wallpaper and current theme.
The other notable feature is the ability for apps to add custom actions to system sharesheets they invoke. The direct share system will also be improved by using more app signals to determine the ranking of the sharing targets.
The final change relates to Android's Path API that allows developers to create and render vector graphics with their apps and games. The update will allow better graphics by enabling morphing effects, while an AndroidX library will provide backwards compatibility with API 21.
Apart from that, Android 14 beta 1 retains some of the earlier changes, such as per-app language settings and Google's previously announced new privacy options to help protect user data, such as personal details or plaintext passwords. The new security settings would also prevent critical actions from being executed unintentionally, such as transferring money or checking out in a shopping app.
There's not much else in the first Android 14 beta from the user point-of-view, but we will hopefully get more details at next month's Google I/O, when the company is expected to announce more information about its next-gen Android version. Following multiple beta releases between now and July, Android 14 is expected to be finally released to the public later this year.