Android 11 Developer Preview is here: Here’s a look at the new features, which will be coming to the next version of Android.
Android 10 is the latest Android version from Google and regardless to say the next version will be called Android 11. Google has now confirmed the same. On Thursday, the tech giant released the first developer Preview of Android 11. Surprisingly, this year Google has released the developers Preview of its next Android version a month early. Usually the company releases the first developer preview of its upcoming Android version in the month of March. The final version of Android 11 will be released during Google’s I/O event that is scheduled to take place from May 12 to May 14.
How to download
The Android 11 developers 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.”
Well, if you think the developers Preview can be downloaded on all Pixel phones, that’s not the case. 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.
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, the company says privacy and security is their top priority. Google also brings tons of new capabilities for apps with Android 11 including enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media and camera capabilities, machine learning, among others. 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. In fact it has become the talk to the town already. 5G has already reached some countries while other countries like India are still lagging behind. But it is a fact that slowly 5G is going to the reality for everyone across the world very soon. Hence, Google is taking 5G seriously and updating the existing connectivity APIs with Bandwidth estimator API and Dynamic meteredness API so users can take advantage of 5G’s improved speeds when the network is available around them.
With Dynamic meteredness API users will be able to check whether the connection is unmetered, and if so, offer higher resolution or quality that may use more data. The Bandwidth estimator API will make it easier for users to check the downstream/upstream bandwidth, without having to poll the network or compute your own estimate.
New screen types
In the last few years we have seen phones with various kinds of screens and the trend is expected to grow in the coming years. Keeping that in mind with Android 11 Google has “extended support for these in the platform, with APIs to let you optimize your apps.” With Android 11, apps 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 developers 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. In developers Preview users will see image copy support in Chrome and image paste support via Gboard clipboard.
In Android 11, apps can use new APIs to mute vibration from ringtones, alarms or notifications while the session is active. Google brings 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 to more areas of the platform and added new features and APIs for apps in Android 11. The company has expanded its biometrics support with Android 11. BiometricPrompt now supports three authenticator types with different levels of granularity — 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.
In Android 11, apps can now share data blobs easily and more safely with other apps through a BlobstoreManager. Android 11 also adds platform support for secure storage and retrieval of verifiable identification documents, such as 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 until the user moves away from the app. Google has also updated Google Play Policy to ensure that apps only request location permissions when truly necessary.
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