Android 13 has a fairly low adoption rate, even though it’s been out since last summer, mainly because smartphone makers are prioritizing releasing the newest versions on recent high-end models that are in the hands of a small number of users. But that’s not stopping Google from continuing development of Android 14, which is due to be released in the second half of this year. The first Android 14 test release, Developer Preview 1, has been released and reveals the first new features Google will be rolling out.
Pixel users can test the first “pre-beta” version of Android 14
One of the most important new features is about security for Android devices, blocking an older vulnerability in the operating system. Android 14 will be the first version to block the installation of certain apps, both from the Play Store and outside the store, unless they use a recent version of the SDK for development. Thus, many older apps will no longer run on Android 14, with advanced users having to access some obscure settings to unlock this.
The Minimum SDK is implemented this way because many malware apps use very old SDKs, which may benefit from certain vulnerabilities that have since been fixed. The oldest version of the SDK compatible with Android 14 will be Android 6, with 5.1 or older versions being blocked from the start. From now on, with each passing year, Google will be raising the minimum supported level to the next version.
The second important feature has to do with the way text is displayed at various sizes, improving the display of certain sites or apps, which had text that was too small or too large.
These are just the first changes, with Android 14 Developer Preview being the pre-beta version. Google has also offered a monthly release schedule for the test versions, which suggests that by August we can expect the final version. The first beta is scheduled to appear in April.
Devices compatible with Android 14 Developer Preview are all models in the Pixel 7, Pixel 6, Pixel 5 families and the only model in the 4 range, the Pixel 4a (5G). The “standard” 4A model thus lags behind, being outside the official software support period.