Google has released Android 11 Developer Preview after inadvertently teasing it last week. The search giant is offering an early preview of the next version of Android for the fifth consecutive year. Also, it is the first time that Google is giving such an early look at the next version of Android. While in the past, Android Developer Previews have arrived in March, Google is pushing the release early this year. This also means that developers get more time to target their apps for Android 11. Also Read - Android 11: Google teases upcoming OS update, prepares Android 11 developer site
There are few important things to note here: the developer preview is called Android 11. Unlike Android 10, where the developer preview was called Android Q at the start. This is in line with Google’s strategy to not use alphabet names for its mobile operating system. Android 11 is also not jumping straight to beta but instead getting developer preview first. It is recommended that you do not install this device on your primary Pixel device. The preview is available for Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL, as well as in the Android Emulator. Also Read - 6 Realme phones to get Android 11 update: Realme X, Realme 5 Pro and more
Google even notes that DP1 (RPP1.200123.016) is officially “for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use.” If you plan to try this early preview then you will need to manually download the system image and flash it. In the timeline provided, Google notes that Android Beta will be released in May. Since this is Developer Preview 1, there aren’t a lot of changes to try. There are still remnants of Android R branding along the way. Here is a look at some of the key changes with this release: Also Read - Android 11 will come with Emoji 13.0, including 62 new emojis, 55 gender and skin tone variants
Privacy and Security
One of the big focus with the release of Android 10 was the privacy and security. That focus continues with the Android 11 Developer Preview as well. Google is now adding one time permissions as an option for location, microphone and camera as well. You will now be able to offer “While the app is in use” as the permission for key elements. Google will also enable Scoped storage this year. Android 11 also improves biometrics and features platform hardening as well as secure app data storage and sharing. There is also native support for electronic ID/driver license.
5G and new form factors
Foldable smartphones and 5G support will be the key for Android this year. Google is adding new features to support these innovations. With 5G, Google wants developers to “extend [their] Wi-Fi app experiences to mobile users.” There is also support for new display types and one API lets developers use the entirety of a waterfall screen, including the edges.
Yes, Google is taking a page from Facebook‘s chat heads feature. With Android 11, the search giant is pushing Bubbles that acts as chat heads across messaging platforms. It is limited to Google’s own Messages app for now but we will see WhatsApp and others take advantage when Android 11 becomes official later this year. 9to5Google notes that there is also a new dedicated conversation section on the notification shade.
With Android 11, Google is also expanding Project Mainline with 12 new modules. Project Mainline allows users to update features without OS releases. A new permissions module “standardizes user and developer access to critical privacy controls on Android devices.” In addition, there are also other system level changes including improvements to the connectivity stack. Google is also adding support for low latency video codecs and for images and camera experience.