- The first Android 15 Developer Preview is right around the corner and should arrive sometime in February 2024.
- Among other minor UI features, Android 15 could benefit hugely from Cloned Apps and a Dex-like desktop mode.
- It would be great if Google added features like Screen-off gestures, Bard in Gboard, and other assistive AI features.
The last two major Android versions have immensely transformed the OS, giving it a fresh coat of paint with tons of new internal and external features. The extensive and continuous changes in the UI since Android 12, the new privacy features, and tons of other useful tweaks have all elevated the user experience. We’re sure Android will continue this trend in 2024, so here are five features we’d like to see added to Android 15.
1. Lock Screen Widgets
Android Widgets hold so much potential that even Apple copied them in the end. Google, however, did not direct enough attention to improving them, and Apple ended up making the most out of the feature. The Cupertino giant lets you make widget stacks, interact with them, and even add them to the lock screen.
I love Apple’s implementation or even NothingOS 2.5‘s lock screen widgets, and it’s about time Google brings Lock screen widgets to Android. But how and what can Google implement from their existing or new, upcoming widgets?
For starters, since Google is so invested in the device ecosystem, Android 15 could benefit from a Battery lock screen widget. If you’re not aware, the Battery widget shows the remaining battery percentage of all the connected Google devices. A weather widget with the existing aesthetics would also look pretty cool besides others like a new Gmail widget on iOS, Google Keep, Fitbit, and more.
Another widget that I would like to have on my home screen is the YouTube Music widget. It looks great and can act as a replacement for the media player UI on the lock screen since Android allows you to disable the lock screen media player. The YouTube Music widget takes up too much space on the home screen and is better utilized as a lock screen widget for a change from the default media player UI.
2. Cloned Apps
You saw this coming, didn’t you? I wouldn’t use the app cloning feature much, but I do know a lot of individuals who’d pounce on the opportunity to get two Snapchat or WhatsApp accounts running on their phones. Google has held the feature back for a long time, and it’s not great on their part as UIs that are much newer such as Nothing OS implemented it first. Other popular Android skins such as MIUI (Now HyperOS), and One UI have had the feature for years.
For those unaware, the “Cloned apps” feature would allow users to use more than one instance of an app. For example – users could run two WhatsApp instances with two separate accounts if they want to, and the same goes for other apps, eliminating the need to log out every time you want to switch accounts.
The feature was spotted back in Android 14 Beta and Developer Preview, but we never heard about any developments again. However, Google plans to release a new feature called “Private Space” as a competitor to Samsung’s “Secure folder,” and may launch the Cloned Apps feature as a part of the same in Android 15, so fingers crossed.
3. A Desktop Mode
One of the major and under-discussed features of the Pixel 8 series is the USB Type-C port. Unlike previous-gen Pixels and most Android phones, it is a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port capable of display output. While it may not seem like a huge deal at first, you’d be surprised by just how many things you can do with the same.
For starters, you can connect accessories like the Xreal Air (review) and have a big secondary screen on your eyes. More importantly, you can connect your Pixel to a monitor with nothing but a Type-C cable, essentially converting your phone to a computer. However, simply mirroring the display isn’t that great, hence, Google should consider adding a Pixel Desktop mode whenever the phone detects a display output signal, similar to DeX mode on Samsung.
As for how it should look, Google has spent a lot on R&D in the past few years, from introducing Android 12L to the current Android UI for tablets, and we won’t be surprised if it looks the same. Although, we would much rather prefer for it to look like ChromeOS. It’s too early for predictions but if you have any ideas, shoot them down in the comments.
4. Screen Off Gestures
Screen-off gestures aren’t a completely new concept in the Android world as OnePlus was one of the first manufacturers to bring the same to its devices. The idea is to have the ability to map certain functions to gestures that work even when the screen is off.
These functions could include the ability to play/pause/skip music, open an application such as the camera, turn on/off the flashlight, scan a QR code, etc.
This would make for a great feature, at least for me and those who still use wired headsets or don’t want to rely on janky touch controls on their TWS earphones as you wouldn’t need to tap and wait for the screen to wake up and then press the “next” button in the player.
5. Bard in Gboard
Google should soon start pushing out Assistant with Bard (rebranded to just Bard, or as recent leaks suggest, Gemini) across Pixel devices. In the same vein, if there’s one thing that can make your user experience better on Android 15, it’d be integrating Bard in Gboard.
We know that Assistant typing exists but why dictate or type it yourself when you can ask AI to do the heavy lifting for you?
Google has also added suggestions to Gboard and with the addition of Bard, those should get better at understanding the context and giving users suitable suggestions. From creating custom stickers and emojis to giving suggestions and summarising messages, Bard should be able to handle it.