Over the years, Google has been consistent with offering an early look at its upcoming Android operating system through the release of a Developer Preview version. Essentially, the Developer Preview version is specifically meant for developers to allow them to test and provide feedback, which in turn helps the company with ironing out bugs and glitches. Continuing this trend, this year, the search giant took it one step further and rolled out the Developer Preview for Android 11 much earlier, giving a first look at the upcoming operating system that will power the next-generation of smartphones. In general, the first preview is specifically intended for developers only, and the Android 11 Developer Preview is meant to run on devices including Pixel 2, 3, 3A, and 4, requiring a full flash. While it is meant for developers to test out, there are a few changes (so far) that promise improvements in performance, in addition to some new and interesting features. So here’s a highlight of some of the changes and features on the Android 11 Developer Preview (1).
Android 11 Developer Preview (1) Features
Scheduled Dark Mode
Although Google implemented dark mode with Android 10, it did not include the option for dynamic switching. And therefore, it did not allow for the ability to automatically toggle the dark mode on and off at specified times. With the latest Android 11 Developer Preview, it seems Google has addressed this by adding support for what is called Scheduled Dark Mode, which, just as its name implies, allows you to schedule dark mode on your device.
Bubbles are essentially Facebook’s equivalent of floating chat heads, created with the same use-case in mind. The idea behind Bubbles is to allow you to have multiple conversations (for different apps) open and accessible anywhere in the UI while multi-tasking. To use Bubbles, all you need to do is long-press on any message notification and tap on ‘Show in chat bubble’, after which, you can then reply to conversations directly from the floating bubble.
Dedicated Conversations section in Notifications
Android 11 Developer Preview (1) includes a new dedicated section in the Notifications, called Conversations. Basically, the Conversations section groups together all the notifications from different messaging apps on your device in one place to make it easier to find conversations for different apps amidst a bunch of other notifications. Besides, it also provides you the ability to perform some quick operations such as Mute, Snooze, Show as Bubble, and more.
Improved App Permissions
Following Apple’s footsteps, Google is now improving app permissions on Android 11 to offer users more granular control over how they share their data. Essentially, it is now offering you the option to grant apps temporary or one-time permission to your camera, location, and microphone. What this essentially does is, allow apps to access your data for one-time use (until you move out), after which they need to request your permission again.
Show Display Refresh Rate – gives you an option to view your Display Refresh Rate right on the screen. It can be enabled using the ‘Show refresh rate’ toggle from the Developer Options.
Screen Record toggle – if you happen to do a lot of screen recordings, Google now offers a Screen Record toggle in Android 11 in the notification bar, which makes it convenient for you to start recording your screen instantly.
Airplane mode does not disable Bluetooth – Google is addressing one of the common Airplane issues with Android smartphones that turns off Bluetooth as soon as you enable the Airplane mode. With Android 11, when you enable Airplane mode now, it does not turn off the Bluetooth or disconnect any devices connected via Bluetooth.
Increase touch sensitivity – as its name suggests, the option allows you to increase the touch sensitivity of the display. So, if you happen to use a screen protector on your phone, enabling this option increases the touch sensitivity of the display to prevent touch latency (if any). It can be enabled using the Increase touch sensitivity toggle from the Display settings.
New Motion Sense gesture – Google introduced Motion Sense with the use of Soli Chip on Pixel 4. And at that time, it only supported a few gestures. With Android 11 Developer Preview (1), it is now adding new gestures that allow you to play/pause music with a tap gesture.
Scrolling screenshot – although not fully functioning as of now, the scrolling screenshot option on Android 11 would offer users the option to take long and continuous vertical screenshots. So you don’t have to take multiple screenshots and stitch them together manually.
Pin apps to Share menu – allows you to pin apps to the Share menu. What this means is that, with Android 11, you can now pin your most frequently-used apps to the Share menu for quick and easy access.
Android 11 Timeline
Developer Preview 1 – February 2020
Developer Preview 2 – March 2020
Developer Preview 3 – April 2020
Beta 1 – May 2020
Beta 2 – June 2020
Beta 3 – Q3 2020
Final release – Q3 2020