Google has released the first developer preview for Android 11, the next version of its mobile operating system.
The updates here aren’t that front-facing, but Google’s making some big promises, like improved support for 5G, better privacy features, and new messaging interfaces.
Google typically releases developer builds of new Android versions in March, but Android 11’s first developer preview has been released earlier than the regular release cycle.
It brings enhancements for foldable phones and screen types, new camera capabilities, privacy-centric tools, convenient app behaviour, 5G-related improvements, and a lot more.
Android 11 Developer Preview, Google has also revealed the rollout timeline for upcoming builds all the way to its stable release.
A spare Pixel around and dug up some neat features in the early beta. Here’s what’s new so far:
Bubbles: The “bubbles” feature was originally meant to be part of Android 10 last year. It’s a new UI for messaging apps that lets you keep several conversations easily accessible anywhere through a floating bubble.
Conversations: To go along with the bubbles there is a new conversations section of the notification shade that breaks out new messages into their own area ahead of all your emails, Instagram likes, and app updates.
Better app permissions: Android 11 is adding the option to just give apps temporary permission to your camera, microphone, and location data.
Screen recording: screen recording is back and has a whole fancy UI this time, which means that the feature may finally be shipping in Android 11. It basically does what it says on the can: records your screen.
Introduced by Android 11 is that apps can now use new APIs to mute ringtones and vibrations for alarms or notifications while using the phone’s camera.
Bokeh mode enhancements, a native image decoder, and the ability to decode and render image animations from HEIF files have also arrived. The latter is claimed to drastically reduce file size for image sequences.
Android 11 brings call screening improvements, Wi-Fi API enhancements, and more scope for 5G-related improvements.
Google says it has added a new API to let users check whether a connection is unmetered so that the quality of streaming content and resolution can be increased, although it will use more data.
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