Android 14 is finally here after releasing in a limited developer beta earlier in February 2023. Google’s calling Android the most complete and expressive OS out there and the wallpaper as well as lock screen advancements coming with the latest Android edition, it certainly is well on the way to being quite expressive.
As far as Android’s completeness is concerned, Google is cashing in on PaLM and Bard and integrated generative AI in Android. There are a lot of AI-based features which can add cool effects to your wallpapers or create entirely new ones, change the tone of your text messages and more.
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A brand new lockscreen and Generative AI wallpapers
Google is taking its work with Material You, first introduced in Android 12, forward and combining it with generative AI to create a completely different Android customisation experience. However, one look at the new lockscreen and wallpaper features and you’ll realise that it’s all playing catch up to a certain other phone maker whose name rhymes with maple.
Basically, you get new fonts and designs for the lockscreen clock and the ability to customise the two shortcuts present on the bottom two corners. There’s also a monochrome theme now if you’re into that sort of thing.
As far as wallpapers are concerned, you get three new options.
- Emoji wallpaper: Create your own custom wallpaper by selecting emojis of your choice, a pattern and a colour.
- Cinematic wallpaper: This feature uses on-device machine-learning networks to change any image from your library into a 3D image with a parallax effect that’s highlighted every time you unlock or tilt your phone.
- Generative AI wallpapers: If you don’t have a photo handy to create a new wallpaper, let AI take over your phone. This feature shows you several “suggested prompts” to describe your “ultimate creative vision” and then uses your answers to create unique wallpapers for you using Google’s text-to-image diffusion model.
Level up your text messages with AI
Messages by Google is also getting a new feature called Magic Compose. This is very much an option to let a generative AI embedded in the app rewrite your text messages for you in a different tone as well as suggest responses based on the context of your messages. The feature can change the tone of your messages to make them sound more casual, professional or even Shakespearean. It’s rolling out for beta in the Summer of 2023.
A small change that’ll improve your social media experience though is support for Night Mode and 10-bit HDR video in social media apps. Android 14 is also getting Ultra HDR allowing users to take and view photos with “bright colours, crisp shadows and all-around amazing definition”.
Unknown tracker alerts, updates to Find My Device, better support for bigger screens and more
Apple and Google have finally come together to get rid of unwanted Bluetooth trackers and published a new draft industry specification detailing how manufacturers can build safer trackers that are compatible with detection and alerts across Android and iOS devices.
The Find My Device network is also expanding. It now supports trackers from Tile, Chipolo and Pebblebee and starting this summer, will be able to ring supported devices and show their location on a map, even if they’re offline courtesy of a billion Android devices spread throughout the world.
Now that Google has its own horses in the foldable and tablet race, Android is lending an additional hand to ensure a cohesive experience across different form factors. In addition to software updates to Android 12L and Android 13, more than 50 Google apps have been updated to make the most out of bigger screens including Google Calendar, YouTube Music, Gmail and just about every Google app you’d use on a daily basis.
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