During the first week of August, the release of Android 11 Beta 3 was announced, available for Pixel 2, 3, 3a, 4, and also for Pixel 4a that will soon hit the stores. The first Beta version had been released at the beginning of June, while the stable release is expected for September – although more than one thing got delayed this year, so it would be wise to remain patient about it.
The focus of Beta 3 is mainly set on helping developers make the final adjustments in their apps. Aside from minor bugs that may be spotted before the stable release, let’s dive in what, more or less, we can expect once the official Android 11 is released.
What users can expect from Android 11
In June, when the first Beta version was announced, instead of a virtual launching event, the company chose to release it through short videos and web pages where developers can dive whenever the time is right for them. And it seems like this is the core idea driving technology these days – and this new version of the Android OS -: to facilitate user experience, we can manage our own time and engagement with work, communication, and information.
Android developers explained that three subjects guided their process of developing this new version: “People, Controls, and Privacy”. So let’s see how the features of Android 11 have approached them.
One of the central goals of this version was making Android more “people-centric and expressive”. The idea was to ensure the OS is able to efficiently recognize who are the most important people in our lives and give them priority in our everyday communications. Here are some of the new features that aim to achieve this goal.
- Conversation notifications: improvements include making them appear at the top of the shade and conversation specific actions.
- Bubbles: bright floating bubbles that allow the user to keep a text chain in view when using other apps.
- Do Not Disturb mode: more options to the Do Not Disturb mode that allow users to choose which contacts (and apps) they authorize to trigger notifications.
Taking into account the growing need to connect the multiple smart devices, Android 11 displays a series of features that help users connect them quickly and control them from one space.
- New Device Controls Panel: allows quick access to connected smart home gadgets, bringing up device control in one single space.
- Media Playback Controls: makes it quicker for users to adjust audio or video content.
Privacy has become a growing concern, and even more now that the pandemic has forced us to expand our digital activities and communications. Android 11 introduces a few new features regarding permissions that aim to provide security and help ease the users’ fear of their personal data being jeopardized.
- One-time permissions: allows the user to grant an app access to the camera, microphone, or location just one time.
- Auto-reset: it triggers an auto-reset of permission when an app hasn’t been used in an extended period.
- Exposure Notification System (ENS): Beta 3 includes an update for Exposure Notifications System (ENS), the contact tracing API developed by Google and Apple to “empower coronavirus tracking apps for smartphones”. In this way, it contributes to the fight against the spread of coronavirus. This particular update looks to address the privacy concerns that users and developers have expressed these past few months.
Developers, get ready!
In July, when Beta 2 unwrapped, Android offered a detailed explanation for developers of how to test for their current apps. Now, with the stable release just around the corner, they are encouraging all developers to get their compatibility tests completed and publish their updates as soon as possible. The long-expected official release of Android 11 is coming soon, and everybody should be getting ready for it.