With the launch of Android 11 coming later in 2020, it is time to take a closer look at the upgrades and new features that Google has in store.
The latest preview of Android 11 beta recently became available to download. Due to the political climate in the United States, including the protests, Google opted to cancel the virtual launch and instead, the Android 11 beta was unveiled through a series of short videos and web pages. Regardless of the method of delivery, the latest version of Android has plenty of new features and improvements to digest.
The Android 11 beta introduces a host of features that will improve the general Android experience. Although the preview is readily available, users should be cautious before downloading, considering this is an early version of the software, and prone to bugs. As the year progresses, the beta version will go through various changes with each beta release, before the final and consumer-ready version goes live, later in the year. In the meantime, Google is hosting a series of Android 11 Meetups around the world, to assist developers with the building of apps for Android 11.
Google has already provided detailed information on the next version of Android with the upgrades largely focused on interactions and equipping the user with easier control over devices. The notification shade has also received a large amount of attention, with Google attempting to redesign how notifications are viewed and utilized. Essentially, Android 11 minimizes the noise so that the most important notifications are seen first. To some, the Android OS upgrade may feel subdued – due to changes not outlandish or in your face – but their subtlety will make a significant difference to the user experience.
Getting Started With The Android 11 Beta
While the current preview version is not entirely stable yet, the second beta version is scheduled to launch in early July, with its final release set for the 3rd quarter of 2020. What exactly does the Android Beta 11 have to offer? Google explains that this update is primarily geared toward three key concepts: People, Controls, and Privacy. Below is a list of some of the most notable features, starting with the ease of communicating.
Easier Communication & Bubble Chat Heads
Google is striving to make Android “more people-centric and expressive.” The new OS seeks to allow users to prioritize the important people in their life. Conversations across different apps will appear in a dedicated section with options either to open the conversation as a bubble, or to create a reminder, or a home screen conversation shortcut. Users will also have the option to mark a conversation as a priority, so that it can bypass “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Bubbles are like little chat heads that allow access to conversations whilst providing users the ability to multitask, similar to Facebook Messenger’s chat heads that appear when a message comes in. Bubbles will be available for all messaging apps.
Better Gboard Suggestions & Accessibility
Android 11 offers consolidated keyboard suggestions, essentially, Gboard will suggest relevant emojis and text. Google has also improved the on-device intelligence to make it seem more like Gboard knows what the user is thinking.
Google also previewed more dynamic voice access which makes the Android OS easier for those who depend on their voice to navigate their phones. The on-device visual cortex will better comprehend screen content and context.
Improved Connected Devices & Media Controls
Through the new OS, Google wants to make it easier for users to access and control all of their smart and synced devices from the one phone. For example, the power button has been redesigned specifically to allow easy access to smart devices. Likewise, long-pressing the power button brings up quick control of connected devices. One button allows you to turn the temperature up or switch off lights in your home. To make things even more accessible, next to these controls will be payment methods.
Through the improved media controls, Android 11 makes it easy to toggle between various output devices, and for any kind of media that is playing. This should make it even easier to switch between wireless speakers, connected TVs, and headphones. While gamers, including those who use Google Stadia, should see a benefit from low-latency video decoding.
Safer & More Secure App Permission
One of the major security improvements with Android 11 is one-time permission. These allows users to grant an app permission to use aspects of the device – mic, camera, or location – just the once. If the app requires access to these sensors again, it will have to ask for permission once more.
In addition, Android 11 is really trying to tighten up security concerns through tweaked privacy upgrades. Apps that haven’t been used for a long time will have their permissions reset, and the app will notify the user and once again, request fresh permissions the next time the app is launched.
Even More Android 11 Improvements
A brand new UI in developer options gives developers the freedom to alternate between the upgraded features during testing. Google has also added a stability milestone where API and behavioral changes will be complete. Meaning, developers will have a chance to tweak their apps on a more stable platform. Other developer features include more nullability annotations on platform APIs, wireless ADB debugging, and ADB incremental for faster installs of large APKs.
Other improvements worth mentioning include, a dark mode toggle, the ability to use Bluetooth while airplane mode is enabled, viewing dismissed notifications, and native screen-recording. As to be expected, there are also improvements to the way Android handles some of the newer and emerging technologies, such as 5G and foldable devices.
More: How To Get Android 11 Beta On Google Pixel Phones: Where To Download & Install
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