Android 10 released for Pixel handsets, some Essential Phones
Today marks a new chapter in the storied history of Android. The latest version of the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android 10, is now rolling out to Pixel phones and some Essential handsets (based on carrier).
Android 10 is more than just a non-dessert-based rebranding of the OS; it introduces quite a few new features. The biggest change is the continued shift away from Android’s navigational buttons. While every iteration of Android up to last year included three navigation buttons (typically Back, Home, and Multitask), Pie brought the button count down to two (Back and Home/navigation). Android 10 finally kills the back button in favor of a navigational system that relies fully on gestures and swipes. Some early criticisms have likened the system to that of iOS, but there are some minor differences. Additionally, fans of the older styles of navigation can switch back to PIe’s two-button combo or the older three-button array.
Android 10 also introduces a system-wide Dark Mode, although “system-wide” may be stretching the feature’s description. Currently, Android’s Dark Mode only extends to Google’s own app family (e.g., Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.), but Google has committed to working with app developers to integrate third-party apps with the aesthetic toggle. To that end, Google has released a Dark Mode API that devs can use to enable a dark mode based on the system settings rather than app-specific options.
There is a slew of other new features including deeper privacy controls, a new “Focus Mode” that temporarily disables noisy apps (currently in beta), live dynamic captions, an improved auto-reply system, and more.
The latest stable release of Android 10 has rolled out to all Pixel phones (including the original 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL). The Essential Phone can also be upgraded to Android 10, but only if it is an “Open Market” device (read: unlocked). That means Essential Phones that were purchased through Sprint are not yet compatible.
What are your thoughts on Android 10? When do you think your handset will receive the update? Let us know in the comments below.