Google Launches Android 14 with New Features and Customization

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Google announced the launch of Android 14 today at its Made by Google event, to go with the official unveil of the new Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Watch 2.

The new operating system comes with a host of updates aimed at providing users with more customization options, better control over health and safety, and improved accessibility features.

“Android 14 is here and it’s packed with updates that help you customize your device experience, give you more control over your health and safety and improve accessibility,” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android. The new version builds on the features introduced in Android 13, such as Spatial Audio and improved multitasking, to offer a more refined user experience.

Android 14 introduces an updated customization picker that allows users to easily switch between wallpapers and update lock screen shortcuts. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will be the first to receive generative AI wallpapers that leverage AI-generated text-to-image diffusion models to create wallpapers that match your vision.

“You can now set custom lock screen shortcuts, like QR reader or the Google Home app, so you have quick, one-tap access to your most used controls directly from your Android lock screen,” according to the announcement. The system also uses AI to adjust lock screen widgets based on situational factors, such as weather changes.

Android 14 now includes support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) images through its Ultra HDR feature. “Ultra HDR helps your photos look their best by bringing out vibrant colors, brighter highlights and darker shadows,” says Google.

Health Connect, a new feature in Android 14, serves as a centralized repository for health and fitness data from various apps like Oura, Peloton, MyFitnessPal, and Whoop. “And your data is securely encrypted on your phone, which ensures Google or anyone else can’t see or use it for any other purpose,” the company stated. Users will also be notified when an app is sharing location data with third parties, allowing them to make more informed decisions about granting access.

For low-vision users, Android 14 offers an improved magnifier with intuitive controls. “You can also change the magnifier size in a new Magnifier Settings panel or customize how much of the screen you’d like magnified,” the company noted. Hearing-impaired users will benefit from more intuitive ways to connect and interact with hearing aids, as well as the ability to turn on “Flash notifications” for visual alerts.

Android 14 is starting to roll out to supported Pixel devices today and will be available on other devices from manufacturers like Samsung Galaxy, iQOO, Nothing, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, and Xiaomi later this year.

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