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Google Android 14 QPR3 Beta 1 rolling out

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Android 15 Developer Preview

Google has kicked off an Android 14 QPR3 Beta 1 update for Pixel devices. This update brings some UI changes, new features, and bug fixes to the current version of Android. It is the third QPR and is expected to be the last major update to Android 14.

Android 14 QPR3 Beta 1 fixes the Assistant At a Glance widget issue that shows the wrong weather location. Another issue that is fixed is the Circle to Search feature not appearing for beta users.

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The update is available for Pixel devices from Pixel 5a to Pixel 8 Pro, as well as the Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, and the Android Emulator. Users can enroll in the Android Beta Program to get the update OTA.

Those who are waiting for the QPR2 stable release, which was delayed due to some bugs, can expect it to arrive in the coming weeks. Google is already working on Android 15 and will release in the coming months, which will bring a major redesign and new features to the platform.

Google Android 14 QPR3 Beta 1

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Hey, Camila is here! From the very beginning, I love using Samsung phones like a die-hard fan. Apart from detailing One UI features for readers, I love exploring different apps of the Samsung ecosystem with a cup of tea!

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February 2024 Android Feature Drop Announced: 9 new features for all Android devices

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February 2024 Android Feature Drop

Google has announced the February 2024 Android Feature Drop, which brings a range of new features and improvements to help you get more done on your Android devices. Whether you use your phone, tablet, smartwatch, or car, the new Android features are developed to make your life easier.

February 2024 Android Feature Drop comes with 9 new Android features to help you stay productive. You can check them below.

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9 New Android and Wear OS Features

1.) Stay in touch while focusing on the road

Android Auto now uses AI to summarize long texts and group chats while you drive and suggests smart replies and actions. You can easily send a message, share your ETA, or start a call with a single tap.

2.) Hear AI-generated captions for images

Lookout on Android now offers image captions, which let you listen to AI-generated descriptions of photos, online images, and pictures in messages. This feature is especially useful for blind and low-vision users and is available globally in English.

3.) Explore around you with more accessible

Lens in Maps now has enhanced screen reader support, which helps you explore nearby places and identify them with your phone’s camera. TalkBack will read out the place’s information, such as business hours, rating or directions.

4.) Give Feedback with handwritten markups in Docs

Google Docs now supports handwritten markups, which allow you to add annotations to documents using your finger or stylus. You can choose from different markup tools, such as pen colors and highlighters, to review documents and provide feedback quickly and easily.

5.) Listen uninterrupted on Spotify with new casting controls

Spotify now integrates with the output switcher on Android’s home screen, which lets you switch between your devices when playing music. You can now use Spotify Connect to change the audio output from your phone to your smart speaker, TV or other devices.

6.) View your health, wellness and fitness date in one place

Fitbit app has been redesigned to show you a complete picture of your health, wellness and fitness data. You can now see data from your connected wearables and apps, such as AllTrails, Oura Ring and MyFitnessPal, in the You tab of the Fitbit app.

7.) Access tickets, membership passes, and more

Google Wallet passes are now available on Wear OS watches, which enable you to access your tickets, passes, memberships and cards from your wrist. You can choose which passes to display or hide, and use them when you need them.

8.) Get transit directions with a quick game at your wrist

Google Maps for Wear OS now offers public transit directions, which help you catch your bus, train or ferry with a glance at your wrist. You can look up departure times, get compass-guided navigation and mirror directions to your phone if you prefer.

9.) Chat with Gemini right in Messages

Gemini is a new chatbot that you can access right in Google Messages on your Android phone. You can chat with Gemini to draft messages, brainstorm ideas, plan events or simply have a fun conversation.

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Google Maps gets public transit directions feature for Wear OS 

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Pixel Watch camera update

At MWC 2024, Google announced a set of new features for its wide range of products including the Wear OS, and one of them is the public transit directions feature for Maps. Google Maps for Wear OS is surprisingly missing a lot of functionality that is present on the smartphone version of the app.

Therefore, to offer users a more seamless experience,  Google Maps has added public transit directions for Wear OS. It will help users leave their smartphones in their pockets and glance at their wrists for the next steps. However, this feature will reduce the risk of mishaps and elevate the user’s experience.

Notably, when searching for a location in Google Maps on Wear OS, public transit will appear alongside driving, cycling, and walking. After selecting the bus, train, ferry, and more options, Google will show recommended routes with departure times. You can scroll through the steps and see where you’re getting off.

It also offers compass-guided navigation directions for your destination to ensure you catch your bus, train, or ferry. You can also mirror directions to your watch from your phone and navigate hands-free.

However, the feature has been released and it will be available for eligible Wearables with the update of Google Maps for Wear OS. So just have patience and get ready to enjoy a more optimized and seamless interpretation while traveling.

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Google Maps Wear OS public transit directions

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MediaTek and Google bringing Gemini Nano to more smartphones

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Google MediaTek Gemini Nano

Google‘s Gemini Nano is an on-device AI model and only a few devices could support this as it requires a lot of computing power and memory. Now, the company is planning to expand its availability to more devices.

MediaTek has announced that some of its chips are now optimized for Gemini Nano. According to the information, MediaTek and Google have collaborated to integrate and optimize Gemini Nano on the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 and 8300 chipsets, which are designed for high-end and mid-range smartphones, respectively.

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The press release states that this optimization includes using MediaTek’s NeuroPilot toolkit and porting Gemini Nano to MediaTek’s APU. This will enable Gemini Nano to run more effectively and efficiently on MediaTek-powered devices, without compromising battery life or performance.

MediaTek also says that it will soon release an APK for developers and OEMs to help them deploy Gemini Nano applications on their devices. Additionally, MediaTek will showcase its on-device generative AI capabilities using Llama 2 LLM at the Mobile World Congress 2024 next week.

With this partnership, MediaTek and Google aim to bring on-device generative AI to more users and create new possibilities for smartphone applications and experiences.

Google MediaTek Gemini Nano

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