Every year, Google makes the best Android phones even better by releasing a new version of Android. And this year's version, Android 14, is looking really good.
Last night Google released (opens in new tab) the first Developer Preview of Android 14, which is designed for app makers so they can built new features into their products well in advance. Provided you have a Pixel phone (and it's not your daily driver - developer previews are far from finished), you can install it too.
What's new in Android 14?
The big theme here is making it easier for developers to support differently sized displays. Thankfully the days when Android didn't really think about tablets (and felt really horrible on them as a result) are gone, and Google is making sure Android feels just as good on folding phones as on normal ones, and as good on tablets and other devices as it is on phones.
Android 14 will also make your battery last longer. Google has tweaked its internal broadcasting system, which is how apps are notified of some key system features, and those tweaks mean much less drain on the battery when you're in standby mode. Google is also actively discouraging apps from using exact times unless they're absolutely necessary, for example for alarm timers, as those timers are particularly power-hungry.
There are some other useful improvements too, including better accessibility (text zoom is up to 200% now compared to 130%) and better font scaling, and there are improved gesture navigation and language settings too: you'll be able to set different languages for different apps.
Last but definitely not least, Google is also cracking down on dodgy apps. Google is blocking apps that target older versions of Android, which is a common ploy to evade the better security that Google added to Android back in version 6. This shouldn't affect the average Android user, but it will make app installations safer.
There isn't much in the way of gee-whiz features for the average user here, but that's because this is developer focused. Google's roadmap for Android 14 includes betas in April and May, which should have more visible changes before Android goes into the final testing phase. But so far it's looking very impressive and should genuinely make your Android phone better.