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There are just three fixes for Pixel devices, which are getting U1B2.230922.010 today with the October 2023 security patch:
- Fixed issues with biometric authentication, such as an issue that sometimes prevented the under-display fingerprint sensor from activating while always-on display features were enabled.
- Fixed an issue where, in some cases after swapping SIM cards on a device, the device couldn’t connect to cellular service.
- Fixed various issues that were impacting system stability and performance.
Google says the “Pixel 8 and 8 Pro will receive this update at a later time.” The initial Beta 2 update rolled out a week ago.
- Pixel 8 Pro: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 8: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel Tablet: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel Fold: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 7a: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 7 Pro: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 7: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6a: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6 Pro: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 6: Factory Image — OTA
- Pixel 5a: Factory Image — OTA
Google wants every Android version to be ‘higher quality than the previous release’
Dave Burke, VP of Engineering for Android, was interviewed during The Android Show today and shared a lot of interesting tidbits, especially around quality and performance.
In the context of Android releases, Burke considers quality the “number one feature” given how much we use our phones:
If you think about how much we depend on our devices and how much we use them [in] a day, it’s just really important that the device runs really, really well. Really, really reliably. The highest performance, highest fidelity.
The Android team has a “pledge” internally to “ensure that every release was higher quality than the previous release by a set of expanding metrics that we measure in the lab and in the field.”
We’ve been holding ourselves to that. It’s difficult, I can tell you, because you’re only as good as the weakest metric. So you’ve got to chase everything down, but it’s really causing us to force the bar higher and higher.
Burke described one way the team is doing that:
Even internally, we’re looking at actually changing some of our developer practices in 2024 where rather than sort of go[ing] off for a year and work[ing] on a release for a very long time, we break that up into chunks internally so that we sort of keep the branch green as we go.
From the description we have today, this just seems to be an internal change rather than anything that would impact the yearly cycle.
On Android 14, Burke highlighted expression (gen AI wallpapers, lockscreen clocks, and shortcuts) and performance as the big tentpoles. Burke said the team “may not have talked enough” about performance. (Frankly, Google should have discussed it on-stage at I/O in May.)
We’ve done a ton of work to reduce CPU activity of background apps, and the result is that there’s 30% less cold starts now on Android 14. Cold starts are when you have to literally read the code pages off the flash and read them into memory before you execute them. A 30% reduction is pretty dramatic, and you feel that as a user.
This involved increasing the number of cached processes, but doing so risks increased CPU usage and, therefore, battery drain. Android 14 does a better job of properly freezing the processes.
Burke also mentioned how large-screen-related work, like the transient taskbar, was originally part of Android 14 but moved up into Android 13 (QPR2) as Google worked to be more competitive in the space and to support foldables.