Google prioritized AI and hardware announcements during its I/O 2023 keynote but we still got a preview of the new customization features coming to Android 14 as well as a Beta 2 release for Pixel phones.
Android 14 Beta 2 will iron out many developer and user-side bugs found in the first beta release. Google is enhancing the camera experience with native support for 10-bit HDR images for even richer and more vibrant colors. The Ultra HDR Image Format (v0.9.1) used by Google is fully compatible with JPEG images so apps will be able to display HDR images as SDR when needed. Google is also adding support for 10-bit compressed image capture on supported devices.
Android 14 will also allow apps and extensions to handle longer processing times for improved low-light images. Extension usage will now support tap to focus and zoom and the postview feature will provide less processed images faster. In-sensor zoom is also supported natively.
The new Predictive Back gesture features coming to Android 14 are getting more developer-side tweaks with Beta 2. The latest beta also adds support for lossless audio over USB. This means you’ll be able to connect to audiophile-grade headphones and amps without any mixing, volume adjustment or processing to the audio. Google says it is working with OEM partners to enable lossless USB audio to devices coming later this year.
Google is also bringing Health Connect to Android 14 as a built-in feature. Health Connect stores your health and fitness data and allows users to manage how that data is shared between apps. Health Connect will also gain exercise route sharing.
Android 14 is also getting a new location data runtime permission dialog which will inform users every time an app wants to share location data with third parties. Users will also get notifications if any of the apps with location permission change their data-sharing permissions. All of these features will be accessible within the device settings menu.
Android 14 is expected to enter platform stability with the Beta 3 release coming in June. Google will then bring two more beta releases before the final commercial release is ready.