Google has released the second beta version of Android 14 for Pixel smartphones, following the release of the first beta version in April. This latest version offers several new features, including support for 10-bit HDR, Material You + design, Health Connect integration, and improved camera extension and support for in-sensor zoom.
One of the significant additions to Android 14 beta 2 is the support for 10-bit HDR, also known as Ultra HDR. This feature allows for more information to be retained from the sensor when taking photos, saving recordings with more vibrant colours and greater contrast. With more colours retrieved from the sensor, editing in posts becomes more flexible. This feature is fully backwards compatible with JPEG, allowing apps to seamlessly interoperate with HDR images and display them in standard dynamic range when desired. Rendering these images in HDR in the UI is automatically done by the framework when the app chooses to use the HDR UI in the activity window.
The Material You + design is also coming to Android 14. Monochrome is a new theme featuring black and white colours, and Dynamic Color produces more vibrant and expanded colour ranges. Dynamic Color also allows buttons to change Color based on what’s on the screen.
Another significant change for Android 14 users is the integration of Health Connect into the platform. Health Connect is an on-device repository for health and fitness data that enables data sharing between health apps and integrates privacy controls into system settings. The app will no longer require users to install Health Connect separately, making it easier for users to access the app’s benefits. Health Connect is also automatically updated by Google Play system updates, so there is no need for separate downloads or updates by users.
In addition, Android 14 highlights data-sharing updates and changes the way they are presented to users. If an app changes how it shares data after the user has installed it and given permission, a new dialogue box will appear, prompting the user about this change. Users can access the new location data-sharing update page from their device settings.
Android 14 beta 2 also brings upgrades and improvements to the Camera2 and CameraX extensions, allowing apps using them to handle longer processing times. It also now supports in-sensor zoom, allowing zoom control even before other camera controls are ready.
Finally, Android 14 now supports lossless audio formats on USB-wired headsets, bringing audiophile-grade experiences to wired users.
To take advantage of Android 14 beta 2, users can register their eligible Pixel smartphone on the official website to download and apply the update wirelessly. The beta program is available for the Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 6a, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4XL, and Pixel 4.