Android 11 will be expected to announce on May 12, 2020, and the final build will begin to roll out from October 2020 to all eligible phones. Google has stressed that this Android 11 developer preview is really aimed at app makers for testing purposes. It is not something consumers will want to install on their everyday phone.
Users will gain the ability to grant temporary access permissions by an Android 11 device, while the app is being used. which will have to be re-granted.
Around in May, users will be able to install Android 11 over the air, without the need to flash a system image. You’ll need Google Pixel 2 or above, though it’s also possible to set up the system in an emulator on your computer (which is how we installed it to test for this article).
To install the preview on a compatible phone, you’ll have to download the OS image file and flash it to your device. You can find instructions on this Google Developers page.
If anything comes close to the buzz worthiness of 5G, Android 11’s support for neural networks aligns with that. Most AI machine learning takes place on powerful servers.
Features of Android 11
Google has done a number of changes surrounding conversations, that chat improvements will be a major focus in Android 11. For starters, the updated OS is emphasizing chat bubbles. These will keep ongoing conversations in a handy container that you can tap to access from anywhere on your phone. You’ll also be able to access conversations from Android 11’s notification shade. There’s a Bubbles API in the Android 11 preview, which suggests that third-party apps are going to be able to offer this feature as well. Another developer tool will let apps with copy and paste functionality add the ability to let users insert images when they reply to messages from the notification shade.
Privacy and Security of Android 11
A new privacy choice for apps is the “Only This Time” option when you’re allowing the app access to your location, microphone, or camera. The other privacy advance involves storage permissions. Security options have been attached with new support for biometric authentication using BiometricPrompt APIs, platform hardening with new “sanitizers,”.New secure storage features, including support for IDs such as mobile driving licenses. Apps will be able to ask for batch permission to a bunch of media files, and new requirements for accessing root directories in both internal and external storage.
Android 11 will give permissions, adding an “Only this time” option that will give apps momentary access to things like location tracking, the microphone, and the camera. In this scenario, when you stop using the app, the permission expires. It’s a level of granularity that iOS users already enjoy, so it’s good to see that they come to Android.
New Screen Types of Android 11
It supports two newish screen types: pinhole and waterfall. The new APIs basically allows developers to tell their apps to work with that camera pinhole on some phones and the edge displays on waterfall-type screens, as we saw on the Oppo prototype below.
We have noticed a variety of displays finding their way onto Android devices, from foldable screens to panels with cut-outs for the front camera. Android 11 is adding tools that will let app makers optimize their software for these different displays.
5G support in Android 11
With 5G wireless networks now up and running, Google is taking steps to make sure that its mobile OS is able to take full advantage of the faster speeds and lower latency than 5G promises. A Dynamic meteredness API in Android 11 will be able to check to see if a 5G cellular connection is unmetered; if so, your phone will be able to get higher resolution images and video. Another 5G-related API makes it easier for apps to downstream and upstream bandwidth.
Improvements aimed at streaming services
In Android 11, the first frame of a stream will appear as quickly as possible once decoding starts, which should improve performance for services like Google Stadia.
Updates of Camera and Photo
Google is adding more cameras and photo support in Android 11. New features include a bokeh, decoders, HEIF animated drawables, native image decoders, muting during capture, and HEIF drawable. That last one is a more efficient replacement for animated GIF functionality.
Options of Low Latency
Android 11 adds low latency support in new MediaCodec APIs. There’s also new support for low latency mode over HDMI, which is useful for use on external displays and televisions.
Those are some of the high points of Android 11 based on the first developer preview. There are a few more new tools and conveniences for developers, and we’ll certainly see more features for them and end-users as the OS makes its way to the full release later this year. For more on Android, check out PCMag’s stories on the 100 Best Android Apps and the Best Android Phones.
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