Google announced the Android 14 Developer Preview today. The February release was expected and matches last year, while it comes as 13 QPR2 is still in beta.
This is now the eighth year that Google is providing an early look at the direction Android is going ahead of the Q3 stable launch. For the fourth year in a row, the preview is getting underway in February to give developers more time to offer feedback and update apps.
As of DP1, there are five tentpoles, starting with “Working across devices and form factors.” Google says “Android 14 builds on the work done in Android 12L and 13 to support tablets and foldable form factors.” Google cites recent work on layouts and large screen guidelines, with the goal of making it easier to optimize apps for various form factors with every Android release. In terms of working across devices, Google points to the Cross device SDK, which will power the cross-device audio switching announced earlier this year.
On the Customization front, end users “will be able to scale up their font to 200%,” which is up from 130% on Pixel devices today.
To mitigate issues where text gets too large, starting in Android 14, a non-linear font scaling curve is automatically applied. This ensures that text that is already large enough doesn’t increase at the same rate as smaller text.
A Grammatical Inflection API will let developers “more easily add support for users who speak languages which have grammatical gender.”
To improve Privacy and Security, Android 14 will prevent apps with a targetSdkVersion lower than 23 (Android 6.0 in 2015) from being installed. We previously spotted this upcoming change, and Google says this “specific version was chosen because some malware apps use a targetSdkVersion of 22 to avoid being subjected to the runtime permission model.”
That said, older installed apps on devices upgrading to Android 14 will not be impacted, and developers are currently being given a testing workaround.
Android 14 is “Streamlining background work“:
- “Because the invocation of exact alarms can significantly affect the device’s resources, such as battery life, in Android 14, newly installed apps targeting Android 13+ (SDK 33+) that are not clocks or calendars must request the user to grant them the SCHEDULE_EXACT_ALARM special permission before setting exact alarms.”
- “In Android 14, we are making changes to existing Android APIs (Foreground Services and JobScheduler) including adding new functionality for user-initiated data transfers, along with an updated requirement to declare foreground service types. The user-initiated data transfer job will make managing user initiated downloads and uploads easier, particularly when they require constraints such as downloading on Wi-Fi only.”
Lastly, on App compatibility, there’s OpenJDK 17 support (300 classes) and work to “fully enable Java 17 language features in upcoming developer previews.” Platform Stability will come in June:
At launch, Android 14 Developer Preview system images are available for the Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as the Android Emulator.
DP1 (UPP1.230113.009) with the February 2023 security patch is officially “for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use.” It’s only available via manual download and flashing/sideloading today, with the public-facing Android Beta coming later in April. If you need help, here’s our full guide on installing Android 14.
- Pixel 7 Pro: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 7: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6a: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6 Pro: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 5a: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 5: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 4a (5G): Factory Image — OTA
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