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Five cool Android 10 features that haven’t yet arrived

If you own a Pixel or still have an Essential Phone lying around, you’ve probably already tried out Dark theme, gesture navigation, and all the other new Android 10 features. But you might not know there are some other features to explore—features that still need a bit more development time and are currently hidden behind a rather flimsy gate.

Interested? You’ll need to enable Developer options on your phone. To do this, go to the System menu in Settings, then About phone, and scroll down to Build number at the bottom. Tap it seven times, and a message will appear telling you that you’re now a developer. Then go back a screen and tap on System, then Advanced, to see the Developer options menu.

Most of toggles inside are related to app development and won’t be of much use, but a few of them offer a sneak peek at what’s to come…

Desktop mode

Today’s high-end Android phones are basically as powerful as a laptop, so it only makes sense that we’d be able to use them like one. We’ve already seen PC-style interfaces with Samsung’s DeX, and now Google is working on a desktop mode for all Android smartphones.

As it stands, the Force desktop mode toggle doesn’t do anything without an Android Debug Bridge (ADB) command, so it isn’t really useable unless you’re a developer. However, from what we’ve seen in demo videos, Desktop mode will be nothing less than a full-sized Android experience for external monitors. That means there will be a dock, floating windows, mouse support, and drag-and-drop capabilities, all powered by your phone.

Bubbles

If you’ve ever wished Facebook’s chat heads concept could be applied to more than just Messenger, you’re going to love Android’s Bubbles, which was originally slated to be an Android 10 launch feature. An evolution of both multitasking and notifications, Bubbles puts mini circles on your screen that can be moved around and expanded with a tap. Instead of a notification in the status bar, Bubbles will pop up on your screen to let you know you have a message or a phone call. You can choose to act on it, leave it there, or shoo it away.

android 10 bubbles IDG

Bubbles was a feature in the Android 10 beta for a couple versions.

Because they take up space and cover parts of the screen, Bubbles has the potential to be both revolutionary and annoying, so Google is rightfully taking its time with it. In fact, flipping the Bubbles toggle in Developer options doesn’t appear to do anything yet, but we’re hoping to get a chance to try it for ourselves soon.

Theming

Google is pulling theming out of launchers and bringing it to Android proper. It’s pretty rudimentary at the moment, but you can instantly change your accent color, font, and icon shape using the Theming menu in Developer options. To try it out, head down to the bottom of Developer options and look under the Theming tab. There are a grand total of seven colors, four shapes, and one font, but by the time it rolls out of beta, we’re hoping that there are many more options to choose from.

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