Now, useful and potentially life-saving functions are coming to Android. First, the earthquake warning system is being rolled out to more countries. This feature alerts us if an earthquake is about to hit our region, giving us valuable time to react – it’s already available in some places, but it’s being rolled out in more regions too, starting with the most vulnerable areas. Also to be released, Android’s voice access mode for people with physical disabilities is receiving some improvements.
Now you’ll be able to ensure that a function only works when you’re looking at the screen (with gaze detection), and entering a password has been improved so that you can specify capital letters and symbols more easily.
Google often releases content packs for its Pixel phones, to give them constant new features, but now the company is launching a new batch of features for all Android phones. As detailed on the Google blog, the six new additions cover a variety of features, from accessibility to text messaging changes, for example.
On June 21st, we’ll be getting ready for the first day of 2021, with the debut of most of these features that will likely be available on every Android phone, whether you have a new model or an older device. The two exceptions are the emoji and Android Auto features – you need to be on Android 6 or higher to get them.
You can check the system version in Settings, then About phone, and you should find the Android version here – you will need to be on an old phone to be locked to Android 5 or earlier. To get some of the individual features, you’ll probably need to update the applications they’re part of. Google has yet to reveal exact release dates for any of these features, but it is expected in the coming weeks and months.
Perhaps the most useful new feature on the Android phone is the ability to star texts in the Messaging app to save them for later, which will be great for remembering sent information, without resorting to the old screen capture trick. Another communication feature is an update to Emoji Kitchen, a pre-existing Android feature that allows you to mix emojis so you can send personalized and more specific emoticons to people.
Now the Gboard keyboard will automatically mix emoji based on your message and suggest them. Android Auto is also undergoing major updates, including electric vehicle charging and parking apps to help you find a charging point, easier navigation and the ability to customize your phone’s dashboard.
If you love using Google Assistant, now you can not only open applications with it, but also trigger certain functions in the applications, such as starting a run on Strava or paying a bill in your bank’s application. That’s a wide range of new Android features, and while you’re unlikely to be completely surprised by every single new addition, there are likely at least a few new tools you’ll find useful.