Today marks the beginning of our journey to a new Android version as Google releases Android 11’s First Developer Preview (DP1).
It’s a bit early, however, as Google usually releases the DP1 in March. But, as always, only Google Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4 owners can download the latest Android version — for now. Additionally, users that own Project Treble devices can flash the Android 11 Generic System Image (GSI).
The Android version naming scheme does not include letters anymore, so this time it’s just Android 11, and not Android R or Android (R)um cake. For the record, we were in favor of the dessert names.
Android Developer Previews have generally been user-friendly, i.e., stable enough for day-to-day use and an easy-installation process for supported devices.
The Android 11 DP1 appears to be a little different. While it might be stable (we are yet to test it), the features are too developer-focused. Moreover, installing Android 11 requires manually flashing the image on your Google Pixel.
Top Android 11 Features
Nevertheless, here are Android’s 11 new features. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we will see more features in future DPs.
Google made significant changes to Android permissions in Android 10, including a separate permission manager and adding the “Allow only while using the app” option.
With Android 11, Google is adding a new option to allow an app to use permission only once. In other words, the app will ask for user approval the next time the Android app is opened. For now, it’s available for Location, Microphone, and Camera permissions.
There is also something called “dedicated conversation section in the notification shade.” It’s challenging to know what the new feature does, but Google says users can “instantly find their ongoing conversations with people in their favorite apps.” Our best guess is that people could read previous messages right in the notification shade, similar to iMessage.
The chat “Bubble” feature lurking in developer settings in Android 10 based devices could finally be up for show, as Google’s official blog hints.
In the new Android 11 version, Google is adding support for secure storage and identity credentials. Android 11 devices would hold “verifiable identification documents, such as ISO 18013-5 compliant Mobile Driving Licenses.”
Of course, there is now more support for the 5G network as well as foldable devices. There is better low-latency video decoding for Google stadia lovers, support for HEIF animated drawables, and a lot more.
One big addition to Android 11 appears to be the Project Mainline. Google is adding 12 new modules that will be updated through the Google Play Store instead of a full OS update.
Again, there is a pool of features that we will only know when our team will install Android 10 DP 1 on our Pixel device.