We have ourselves a fresh beta build of Android, but what makes this release so special is that technically we are beta testing a build of Android 14 that is ahead of stable Android 14, which hasn’t even been released yet. This has never happened in the short time Google has been doing QPR (quarterly platform release) builds, and honestly, we’re here for it.
There’s a decent list of new stuff to cover, but instead of regurgitating everything that we’re seeing, we instead want to highlight the items that excite us. We’ve narrowed the list down to four things, each of which we think you’ll all like too.
Here’s what we’re liking inside of Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1.
Your Pixel Phone is Now a Webcam
As shown in our lovely header image above, native USB webcam functionality has arrived for Android. While we wish it came back in 2020 when everyone was having to Zoom and Google Meet everything they did, it’s still better late than never.
With this feature, you’ll be able to simply plug your Pixel device into your computer, then utilize your phone as the computer’s webcam inside of programs. There’s definitely a lot of background stuff that had to happen to enable this feature and have it be usable, so props to Google for making this work in a easy to use way.
What can I say, I’m easy to please. Inside QPR1 Beta 1 we have a new clock style for your Pixel device’s lockscreen. It’s called Metro and it’s hot.
New Battery Information Screen
In the About Phone section on your Pixel device, you’ll now be able to view detailed battery information that goes beyond the typical charge level and usage statistics. With QPR1 Beta 1, inside the new Battery Information screen, we can view a battery’s exact date of manufacture, as well as the cycle count for the battery. That’s pretty neat, as we know some folks are pretty particular about their battery information.
The only thing to note here is that, at least for me, the cycle count is reset to 0 when you first boot up Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1. For Kellen his seems to be working fine. Maybe just a bug for me? Seems likely, this is a beta after all.
Set Bluetooth Audio Device Type
On QPR1 Beta 1, users can now set exactly what type of audio device a particular Bluetooth connection is. The options are currently limited to Speaker, Headphones, Hearing Aid, Car Kit, Unknown, or Other.
The wonderful @MishaalRahman notes that this could be very useful if your Pixel doesn’t properly recognize a Bluetooth device as supporting spatial audio when indeed it does. Having manual control over this setting could help with that.
We are still digging our way through this update. It’s a big one, so if we find more stuff that also excites us, you best believe we’ll let you know about it. Have you discovered anything you’re fond of yet?