Android 10 was released to Pixel phones in September 2019 after months of waiting and speculating. Touted as Android’s best update, the Android 10 (FKA the ‘Q’) was promised to revolutionise the way we use Android devices. The thing is, it just isn’t that groundbreaking. In fact, like Google dropping its dessert-naming system, it’s frankly a bit disappointing.
Dark mode is good but it’s already a thing
The standout of the Android 10 was probably its new dark mode theme. The feature finally allows you to switch the whole device’s system to an inverted dark mode or just select apps. Everyone loves a good dark mode because it’s nicer on the eyes so this is definitely a worthwhile introduction.
But if we’re being honest, a lot of apps already have, or are introducing, dark modes so while we’re thankful for its inclusion, it’s certainly nothing revolutionary.
Updates for gesture navigation are minimal
Another new feature included in the update were changes to Android’s gesture navigation system. While you could already swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to go to your apps folder and swipe down from the top edge of the screen for your navigation menu, its function was quite limited.
Android 10 introduces corner swipe to summon Google Assistant and you can also switch between apps using the touch gestures and pull up to go back to the homescreen.
Again, these are handy features but rather than creating something new, it’s just improving an existing system. That’s important too but at the end of the day, the innovation just isn’t there.
But Focus Mode’s good, right
Right. The new Focus Mode, while still in beta, seems promising as it’s a good way to filter out app noise. You can select which apps you want to chuck in to not disturb you while you’ve selected the mode.
It’s a great idea but there’s just one thing. It sort of already exists with Do Not Disturb mode essentially offering the same sort of service. It blocks out notifications, calls, messages and most other things so while Focus Mode will help you to have more control over that aspect, it’s nothing we didn’t already have.
Live Caption saves the day
The Live Caption feature, while sneaking in under the radar, is probably the real MVP of the Android 10 update because it offers a feature we actually seldom see in smartphones. Live Captions uses machine learning to automatically add captions to video content, podcasts and audio messages. While it doesn’t let you save those captions after you’ve quit out of the content (you can’t transcribe voice memos, for example), it’s a great addition for anyone with hearing difficulties or who just likes to read subtitles while they’re watching something which doesn’t already have them.
The Android 10 was never meant to change lives but its sustained hype also meant eventual disappointment. The features will definitely be welcomed by everyday users but they serve as convenient additions rather than anything groundbreaking. Over to you, Apple, you’re up next.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
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