The next big Android update, Android 14, is expected to arrive later in the year, and thanks to several developer sneak peeks and betas, we’ve got a good idea of what’s coming. But there are likely features in the full release that we haven’t encountered yet, so here’s everything we’d like to see.
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So far, Android 14 previews and the open beta have introduced swipe gestures, support for the PS5 DualSense controller, more app customization, and cloning apps for multiple accounts. Though all that’s helpful, we’re pretty in the dark as we wait for Google to unveil more of the functionality that’s coming in the next major update to its phone software.
We’ll probably learn more about the update at Google I/O 2023 in May, and we expect to see it fully released in the fall alongside the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro phones. In the meantime, we’re left to imagine the best updates to Android, including more functionality for next-generation devices and technologies.
It’s clear Google’s rivals are integrating AI into software, so it would make sense to do the same with Android, but there are plenty of other opportunities, like integrating devices such as wearables and foldables.
Here are our most-wanted upgrades in Android 14.
It’s no secret Google was a little blindsided by ChatGPT, which reportedly caused a “code red” at the company and hastened internal development of AI tools. Given that Microsoft has been integrating its Bing AI into everything from Windows 11 to its SwiftKey third-party phone keyboard, we could see a lot more AI integrated into Android.
There’s much that AI could do in Android, such as quickly accessing Google’s Bard AI to answer random questions. But it could become something of a phone OS concierge, using the best parts of the Google Assistant functionality to meet user needs via text instead of voice.
Health wearable integrations?
Google introduced Health Connect at Google I/O 2022 as a nexus for personal wellness, gathering all your fitness and activity from multiple apps into one place — and sharing that info between the apps, meaning your workouts would count for all apps instead of just what’s running. Health Connect is still in beta, but we would like to see it more fully integrated into Android 14 to formalize it across apps.
Fitness and wellness apps have to choose to support Health Connect, and users have to manually download it, so having it come integrated into phones with Android 14 would go a long way toward adoption. Android code analyst Mishaal Rahman theorized that Google may be planning such integration.
Handoffs to other devices
Android 13 improved handoffs, but what about calls? Android 14 could make it very easy for you to have a call on one Android device and seamlessly hand it over to another, as suggested by a code string Rahman discovered.
This is a feature Apple’s devices have had for years, and it makes sense for Google to integrate it among devices that are all running Android or Wear OS, from phones to tablets to wearables to televisions.
Matter setup help
Google launched its Matter smart home standard late last year to make it easier for devices from different companies to link together, and it rolled out compatibility updates to its own Android and Nest Thermostat devices. We haven’t seen many devices launch yet that support the platform, and we’re still waiting on existing Amazon and Apple devices to be updated with Matter support. But in the meantime, we’re looking for greater ease of use when setting up our smart home devices.
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Better Foldable software
Android 12L was the first forked version of Android designed to better use the larger screens on tablets and foldables and improve user experience. Those upgrades have partially filtered into the main version of Android, but we want to see more usability and features that take greater advantage of large and flexible screens.
Though rollable phones may not be coming anytime soon, we see flexible display prototypes every year at CES — including new foldable concepts beyond the clamshell and “book” formats. It would be great to see Google preparing for the next wave of phone designs by actually offering a compelling feature or utility for them. As it stands, there isn’t much reason to try out devices with flexible and expanded displays.
That could change with the upcoming Pixel Fold, the company’s first foldable, and we’d love it if Google had some show-stopping software for its new device — which we hope would raise the bar for all foldables.
Faster upgrades for phone brands
Our perennial desire is that the newest version of Android gets to non-Google phones faster than last year. Though Samsung rushes out updates within a few months of the newest version’s release, Motorola and others take things into the next year — we’d like to see that time shortened, especially for lower-end phones that are typically updated later.
We also want to see more of the Pixel-only features spread to other Android phones — and yes, Magic Eraser is usable by Google One storage subscribers, but we wish it was natively available on other devices, even if it isn’t as effective as it would be on a Tensor-powered Google phone.