Android Q Beta 2, a deep dive

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Android Q Beta 2 is out! Despite the plethora of bug warnings from Google, I flashed it on my daily driver and am back to report on some things. Beta 2 gives us a whole new feature to play with called “Bubbles,” lots of little changes, and frustratingly slow development on Android’s gesture navigation system.

Of course everything is a work in progress, and there are plenty of bugs and weird design quirks. We’re still going to bring attention to them now, though, in the hope that they get cleaned up before release. Let’s dive in!

Bubbles—Messaging-app feature or crazy notification-panel replacement?

The headline feature of Android Q Beta 2 is “Bubbles,” which is a multitasking UI that bears a striking resemblance to the old Facebook “Chat Heads” feature. Apps pop up in floating windows and can be minimized into a little floating circle. Android supports this at the OS level, so any app can be a bubble. Google suggests using this for messaging apps, note apps, directions, and anything else you might want to keep at hand while you move around your phone.

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