Starting last night, Android 10 was released for Pixel users. If you haven’t been following along, you might wonder where the dessert is. Google says it went with a number for its universality. It definitely wasn’t because Queijadinha was the only Q-named dessert they could find. It also wasn’t to make owners of the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and Xr shake their fists for just a second. Android 10 brings some major headline features like Gesture Navigation and the Dark Theme, along with some others coming this year.
Android 10’s Gesture Mode is the highlight here. The mode will replace the bean at the bottom of the Android screen with a thin line. Using this line, you can swipe up to go home, drag up slowly to bring up an Overview screen, and swipe right to get to your previous app. The line disappears on the home screen, though gestures still apply. A diagonal swipe toward the bottom corners will bring up the Google Assistant. You can swipe on either edge of the screen to go back.
The Dark Theme is (anecdotally speaking) one of the most requested features. The system-level theme applies to the entire operating system, including the notification tray. All Google apps will eventually support the theme, though even prominent apps like Gmail are still in the process of implementing it. Once fully implemented, the theme has the potential to not only ease users’ eyes but to noticeably improve battery life on OLED screens, which uses less power the darker the screen gets.
Android 10 has more features yet to come
This release does leave out a few Android 10 features. Google is keeping features like Focus Mode and Live Caption back, with plans to fully release them later this year. Focus Mode will allow you to temporarily silence certain apps; Live Caption will add real-time captioning to any video, but is not yet available and will be temporarily Pixel-exclusive once it is.
One low-key feature will see security updates rolling out via the Google Play store rather than filtering through the carrier, which should let Google send out crucial security fixes that much more quickly.
In addition to Pixel devices, the Android 10 update is also available for the Essential Phone. If you’re on another phone, you can look for the update sooner rather than later, as Google is promising to upgrade more devices to Android 10 this year. Meanwhile, I’m still refreshing the Update button on my Pixel 3 XL.