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Android 15: high new options and when your cellphone will get the free replace

Whether you’re reaching for your wallet in anticipation for the latest upcoming smartphones, or are content to stick with the handset already in your pocket, software makes your device. You’ve got two big players to pick from: Apple’s iOS or Android. Android 15 is the latest and greatest version of Google’s mobile OS, and is seeing more frequent updates than ever.

Whether you’re a diehard Android fan, or a curious Apple user popping over to check out the other side of the fence, there are plenty of new additions. In this guide, we run through all the best and most exciting changes headed to Android phones.

Android 15: name

Veteran Android enthusiasts will recall Google’s fondness for dessert-related OS names, ranging from Android 2.3 Gingerbread, to Android 5 Lollipop. While Google has since dropped its sweet tooth regarding official OS names, its engineers still pay homage to sugary goodness with internal OS codenames.

Android 15 is known to the public by its stark, no-nonsense numeric moniker. But inside the walls of Google, the new update is known as Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s far from the most exciting sweet treat, but there’s something reliable about the plainest flavour of ice cream. And we think that’s reflected in Android’s newest features.

Android 15: release date and supported phones

Google’s not just sitting on its laurels; it’s full steam ahead with Developer Previews as we speak. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the final, shiny, bug-free version of Android 15 isn’t popping out tomorrow. We’ve got a bit of a wait on our hands, with the public roll-out expected around the time the leaves start changing colours.

Developer Previews are the appetizers in this Android feast, showing what’s going to be coming. It’s like a standard beta release, and gives developers time to prepare their apps for the software. We’re on the second Developer Preview, with another expected down the line in May. A more stable version is expected to be served between June and July. This iteration of Android 15 will look a lot closer to the final one that the public gets their hands on.

But when do the masses get to tuck in? Google’s playing it coy with the exact date, but we’d wager a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (wink) on an October 2024 release. Although, Android 14 made an appearance in August! That’s about the same time that we expect Google to debut the upcoming Pixel 9 series.

For those wielding a Google Pixel smartphone, you’re essentially in the VIP queue for the Android 15 update. The rest of the phone-wielding populace? Well, patience is a virtue. Device manufacturers will be doing their own thing, slathering their unique Android UX skins atop Android 15. That means a bit more of a wait.

Brands making other Android phones will likely start releasing their betas in the summer – once the stable Developer Preview is out. As for a general release, this will depend on when Google drops Android 15 to the Pixel line-up. Other brands will be able to roll out their version in the coming weeks and months.

As for the brands you should expect, all major Android smartphones should get it. Samsung and OnePlus are usually quickest off the mark, with the Galaxy S24 probably one of the first third-party phones to get Android 15. Asus, Honor, Motorola, Nokia, Nothing, Oppo, Sony, and Xiaomi are all set to offer the upcoming update.

The best new Android 15 features so far

As for the new features you can expect to appear in Android 15, Google has a few up its sleeve. Things look pretty familiar overall, but there are some notable new features we’ve spotted in the Developer Previews so far. Google may have more to announce later in the year at its I/O event, particularly regarding AI developments. Here’s everything we’ve spotted so far:

  • Partial Screen Sharing: Android 15 allows users to share or record just a specific app window, rather than the entire screen, making for a more focused and privacy-conscious experience.
  • Satellite Connectivity Support: Expanding connectivity options, Android 15 integrates satellite connectivity, enabling devices to maintain communication in the most remote areas. You’ll find UI enhancements to support a consistent user experience across this new frontier.
  • Notification Cooldown: To combat notification overload, a new feature will decrease the frequency of successive notifications from the same app, ensuring a less intrusive mobile experience.
  • New In-App Camera Controls: Android 15 introduces new camera hardware control extensions. It enables features like low light enhancements and advanced flash strength adjustments.
  • Universal Toggle for Keyboard Vibration: A new toggle allows users to universally control keyboard vibration settings across all keyboard apps.
  • Sensitive Notifications: Enhancing security, Android 15 will introduce a feature that prevents OTPs from being read by malicious apps.
  • Bluetooth Pop-up Dialogue: Android 15 brings a new Quick Settings tile for managing Bluetooth connections more intuitively, making it easier to connect and disconnect devices.
  • Enhancements for Foldables and Cover Screens: Android 15 brings improvements to continuity features on foldable devices. You’ll find better support for apps on cover screens.
  • Health Connect and Virtual MIDI 2.0 Devices: The update includes enhancements to Health Connect. It supports new data types for health and fitness apps, and extends support for virtual MIDI 2.0 devices, fostering creativity and connectivity in music production.
  • HDR and Loudness Controls: Android 15 introduces controls for HDR headroom and loudness, ensuring a better balance between HDR and SDR content and more consistent audio levels across different content types.
  • Performance and Security Enhancements: Significant improvements to the Android Dynamic Performance Framework (ADPF) and security features like the Privacy Sandbox on Android and new APIs for screen record detection and file integrity.

There are some additional features that a rumoured to appear. Most notably of which is lockscreen widgets, which could make a reappearance a la iOS 16 and Android 4.2. Others include battery health status, powered off finding, app pairs, Private Space, voice activation for apps, and more. These could pop up in future Developer Previews as we get closer to the launch.

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