Actually, Google Didn’t Forget About Android 15 at I/O: All the New Features

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For the second year in a row, AI took center stage during Tuesday’s keynote presentation at Google I/O, with Google using the first day of the conference to highlight Gemini assistant, something called Project Astra, a tool known as AI Overviews and a whole lot more. 

There was nothing about Android 15, other than a brief mention. That is, until today.

More from Google I/O 2024

Google today announced several new features coming to Android 15 when it’s released later this year. It also announced the release of the second public beta of Android 15, which brings improvements to battery management, app performance, privacy and security, productivity and more. 

If you want to download the public beta of Android 15 right now, here’s how.

Android 15 Beta 2 announcement at Google I/O

Android 15 Beta 2 is coming on May 15.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Google released the first Android 15 developer preview back in February, a prerelease meant to provide developers with early access to new tools, services and APIs before the final release. That was followed up in April with the first Android 15 public beta release, allowing a broader audience, especially early adopters, to try out the latest Android version on their personal devices. 

A few more public beta releases, which will be much more stable and closer to the final build, are expected to be released in June and July or August. The final Android 15 will release sometime in the fall shortly after the final beta release.

Related story: Google Rolls Out Second Android 15 Beta. Here’s How You Can Get It Right Now

The current Android 15 prereleases bring new features, like more in-app camera controls, partial screen sharing and loudness control, as well as improvements to PDF, NFC and satellite connectivity support. Additions to Google’s mobile OS focus on productivity; user privacy and security; communication and performance and quality.

This new public beta is available on certain Google Pixel devices, ranging from the Pixel 6 to the Pixel 8 Pro, as well as the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, and non Google devices, including from Honor, iQOO, Lenovo, Nothing, OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, Vivo and Xiaomi, Google said.

Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, kicked off yesterday at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

If you want to learn more about everything that happened at Google I/O 2024, check out what Gemini AI will do to Google Search and what you should know about Google Gemini 1.5 Pro vs. Flash vs. Nano.

Hide and secure important apps

You might want a little more privacy and security for apps that revolve around your finances, dating life or health. Later this year, Google will bring private space, a tucked-away space to keep your most sensitive apps hidden away from prying eyes, to Android 15.

Private space lives in your app drawer. Go all the way to the bottom of your apps, verify your identity, and then and only then will you have access to these hidden applications. All the data and notifications from the apps in your private space are isolated from the rest of your phone, so you don’t have to worry about anyone catching a glimpse if they’re using your phone and even just taking a peek.

And for an extra layer of protection, you can create a separate lock for private space, different than the one you use to unlock your device, and you can also completely hide the existence of it, so that no one knows you even have a private space to begin with.

The private space feature on Android 15 The private space feature on Android 15

A space for all those apps you want to hide away.

Google/CNET

Upgraded theft protection

Android is also beefing up its theft protection, and some of those features are exclusive to Android 15.

For starters, an upgrade to Android’s factory reset protection feature is in the works. Let’s say someone steals your phone and attempts to reset your stolen device. This upgrade to factory reset protection makes it so that even if a thief does reset your phone, they won’t be able to set it up again without knowing your credentials. If they don’t have your Google account credentials, they won’t be able to reset your phone and thus won’t be able to sell it either.

And as mentioned above, private space is also included as a theft protection upgrade, seeing as if someone does steal your phone and manages to get into your device, they still might have difficulty access your most important apps, like your banking services, because any apps in private space can only be accessed by a separate PIN.

For more, read more about responsible AI and what it means and what Gemini 1.5 Pro’s millions of tokens mean.

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