Google has release the first developer Preview of Android 11, which will be the next version of the Android mobile operating system. This year, Google has released the developer preview of its next Android version a month early, given it is usually released in March each year. More details about Android 11 will be released during Google’s I/O event that is scheduled to take place from May 12 to May 14, and the final version will likely come during August, going by the previous timeline.
How to download
The Android 11 developer preview is already available for download for select Google Pixel phone users. In order to download and install the update you will need to visit the Android 11 developer site here, and download a system image.
Before downloading you must know that the release is “an early baseline build for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we’re making it available by manual download and flash only.” So if your Pixel phone is your one and only device, it is best not to download this early developer preview, given there will be issues.
The first developers Preview of Android 11 can be downloaded only on select Pixel phones including Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2, Pixel 3a and Pixel 4. The original Pixel phone is not mentioned in the list, which makes us think that perhaps, it might not get Android 11 when it officially rolls out.
Android 11 key features
Google has revealed details about some of the key features of upcoming Android 11. It has added a range of new features and improvements to Android 11 in order to help users manage access to sensitive data and files.
With Android 11, privacy and security will be the top priority. Google is also adding new capabilities for apps with Android 11 including enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media and camera capabilities. Let’s check out some of the key features of Android 11.
Focusing on 5G
5G is going to be the big thing this year. Hence, Google is taking 5G seriously and updating the existing connectivity APIs with Bandwidth estimator API and Dynamic meteredness API so that app developers can take advantage of 5G’s improved speeds when the network is available.
With Dynamic meteredness API, app developers will be able to check whether the connection is unmetered, and if so, offer higher resolution or quality that may use more data because a particular user might be near a 5G network.
The Bandwidth estimator API will make it easier for app developers to check the downstream/upstream bandwidth without having to poll the network or compute their own estimate.
New screen types
In the last few years we have seen phones with various kinds of screens, including foldables. With Android 11, Google has “extended support for these in the platform” and introduced new APIs to let developers optimise their apps.
With Android 11, app developers will be able to manage pinhole screens and waterfall screens using the existing display cutout APIs. “If you want, a new API lets your app use the entire waterfall screen including the edges, with insets to help you manage interaction near the edges,” Google said.
In Android 11, Google introduces new changes that will enable developers create deeper conversational experience. Some of these changes will be available in the developer preview including Dedicated conversations section, Bubbles, Insert images into notification replies and Real-time, bilateral communication apps.
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The Dedicated conversations section will allow users to instantly find their ongoing conversations with people in their favorite apps. Bubbles, on the other hand, will keep conversations in view and accessible while multitasking on their phones. In Android 11, users will be able to directly insert images into notification replies if the app supports this feature. Google is also adding support for image copy support in Chrome and image paste support via Gboard clipboard.
In Android 11, app developers can use new APIs to mute vibration from ringtones, alarms or notifications while the camera is in use. Google is also bringing improvements to Bokeh mode. In Android 11, apps can use metadata tags to enable bokeh modes on camera capture requests in devices that support it.
Google has extended Android’s defense-in-depth strategies and added new features and APIs for apps in Android 11. It has expanded its biometrics support with Android 11. BiometricPrompt now supports three authenticator types including strong, weak, and device credential. “We’ve also decoupled the BiometricPrompt flow from the app’s Activity lifecycle to make it easier to integrate with various app architectures, and to improve the transaction UI,” Google said.
Android 11 also adds platform support for secure storage and retrieval of verifiable identification documents like ISO 18013-5 compliant Mobile Driving Licenses.
With Android 11 Google is taking privacy of the users very seriously. Google brings new permission options, updates to scoped storage, among others. In Android 11, users can now grant temporary access through a one-time permission, meaning apps can access the data only for that one instance. Google has also updated Google Play Policy to ensure that apps only request location permissions when truly necessary.
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