The first beta of Android Q was released this week and we’ve been talking a lot about the newest features. Although, it should be noted that some of these new features people are talking about won’t make it into the final release. We’ve seen plenty of features in these developer previews that were pulled before the final update. However, the features that the company has documented are here to stay and that’s what we’re seeing with Digital Wellbeing style features being made available to 3rd-party launchers.
The custom launcher segment of Android is pretty healthy with some classics still maintaining a strong user base (such as Nova Launcher and Apex Launcher). Then there are some newer contenders in the space including Chris Lacy’s latest version of Action Launcher and the popular Lawnchair Launcher. With Android Q, these 3rd-party launchers are gaining the ability to include some Digital Wellbeing-like features if they want.
Android Q will allow third party Launchers to create some interesting digital wellness experiences. Apps can apparently also be marked as Distracting and the APIs seem to advise users (mostly launchers here) to hide them from suggestions. pic.twitter.com/vqnaLAcSkC
— Till Kottmann (@deletescape) March 14, 2019
Companies (including Google) have done extensive work to make their services as useful and addictive as possible. YouTube’s entire algorithm is based on trying to get you to watch as much content as possible. But this push for Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature goes against all of that and some are choosing to take the higher, moral ground when it comes to online and smartphone addiction. Google wants these features to be available to other apps (such as 3rd-party launchers) and that is happening in various ways with the Android Q update.
The Pixel Launcher has Digital Wellbeing features such as the ability to turn app icons grey when you’ve passed your usage limit. Now 3rd-party launchers will get similar tools. Apps can be marked as “distracting,” which then lets these 3rd-party apps choose to not recommend them in certain situations. So, for example, if you’re just wanting to tune out for a while then you won’t be bothered by those “distracting” apps as much as they will be hidden from suggestions. This also ties into Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which will let certain 3rd-party apps know about another app’s usage limit.
Source 1: Google
Source 2: Google
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