Android 15 Developer Preview 2 Brings Better Satellite Connectivity, Improved Tap To Pay, And More


Android 15 Developer Preview 2 Brings Better Satellite Connectivity, Improved Tap To Pay, And More

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Key Takeaways

  • Expanded communication features improve tap to pay with NFC on Android 15 Developer Preview 2.
  • Android 15 adds support for cover screens on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
  • New features include loudness control and HDR headroom adjustments to enhance media playback.

Android 15 had its first developer preview arrive a little while ago, and with it came features and improvements that were rather small in scope but still managed to improve quality of life significantly. That’s the case with Android 15 Developer Preview 2 as well, though there’s arguably more inside than in the first devleoper preview. Plus, that’s without even getting into all of the under-the-hood changes that are probably there too.

The most notable features of Android 15 developer preview 2 include:

  • Updates to communications on Android: With improved satellite connectivity and new capabilities when it comes to interacting with NFC readers, tap to pay should be smoother than ever.
  • Improving support for flippable and foldable hardware features: Android 15 is adding support for the extra screens on the outside of flippables and foldable devices, meaning that apps can interact with them through officially supported means.
  • Privacy and security: If an app is recording the screen of the user, developers can make it so that the contents of an app aren’t shown in the screen recording.

When will Android 15 release?

For Android updates, Google typically reveals a “platform stability” milestone so that developers can know when Google intends on delivering the final SDK/NDK APIs, along with final internal APIs and app-facing system behaviors. Google intends on reaching platform stability in June 2024, with “several months” at minimum planned before the official release. Android 14 hit platform stability in June 2023 and the final version was released in October of that year alongside the Pixel 8 series. Google has released more details about the release timeline that you can check out.

Android communications changes

Satellite support

Android 15 is improving support for satellite connectivity, adding UI elements that show the connection as well. Apps will be able to detect when the user is connected to a satellite network, making them aware of the limited connectivity nature of the network in use. Furthermore, SMS/MMS and RCS will also work over satellite connections for sending and receiving messages.

Previously, the only way to add satellite connectivity to Android smartphones was through an additional device like the Motorola Defy. Android 14 was supposed to have satellite connectivity and didn’t, but now you’ll finally be able to use it natively.

Improved NFC

Android 15 devices used for tap to pay will be more “seamless” according to Google. This is because devices will be able to ask NFC readers on-device to enter “observe mode” where the device listens for readers but doesn’t respond. This means the payment can be authorised before it properly makes contact with the reader, reducing the need to tap the reader multiple times in the case of the payment failing at first.

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App flexibility and privacy

Cover screen support

Galaxy Z Flip 5 (left) and Motoroal Razr (right)

Galaxy Z Flip 5 (left) and Motoroal Razr (right)

For devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 that have a cover screen, apps will be able to detect that this cover screen exists and opt-in to be displayed on it. You can’t build an app to target these screens (Google says they’re too small), but you can say that your app supports them and make it available to be displayed there.

Screen record detection

For developers who want to detect if the screen is being recorded, a new callback API is being added so that the app can react based on whether it is or not. This can be used to inform the user, or simply to prevent content from being shown while the recording is happening.

HDR headroom control

Android 15 HDR headroom showing normal brightness on left, and wrong brightness on right

Left: Android 15 // Right: Android 14

In a gallery of regular SDR images where one is an HDR image, it can adversely affect the perception of the rest of the images and make them seem darker than they should be. With HDR headroom controls, Android 15 chooses an appropriate headroom level to ensure that the screen looks consistent.

Loudness control

Android 15 adds support for the CTA-2075 loudness standard. This helps to avoid loudness inconsistencies across apps, meaning users won’t have to constantly adjust the volume as they use their phone. It makes use of known characteristics of output devices such as headphones and speakers, while also using AAC metadata to inform the changes that it makes.

The feature requires the developer to enable AAC metadata in their apps, which Google has published advice on how to do.

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How to download and install Android 15 developer preview 2 on your Google Pixel

Most recent Google Pixel smartphones are supported


Google is officially releasing this developer preview update for the Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel 8, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 7a, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel Tablet, and the Pixel Fold. You can use the 64-bit system images with the Android Emulator in Android Studio, and you can also use a GSI too.

There are other changes here too that Google revealed for developers, but most of those are relating to API changes, font and PDF displays, and other, non-user-facing features. There’s a lot to unpack here, but these are some of the biggest highlights out of this developer preview. With more updates to come as well, it’s likely that even more great features will arrive in future updates!


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