Android 11Source: Google

What you need to know

  • Google today released the first Android 11 Developer Preview.
  • Android 11 brings updated connectivity APIs to take advantage of improved 5G speeds, support for hole-punch and waterfall displays, and deeper conversational experiences.
  • The Android 11 Developer Preview is now available to download for Google's Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4 series devices.

Google today rolled out the first Android 11 preview build for developers, breaking its annual tradition of releasing a developer beta of the next major Android version in early March. While we will need to wait until Google I/O to find out everything about Android 11, this "first look" gives us a fair idea of what to expect.

The Android 11 Developer Preview is now available for the Google Pixel 2 / 2 XL, Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, and Pixel 4 / 4 XL phones. While this initial preview release is only meant for developers, Google says it will soon invite consumers as well to try out Android 11.

Android 11 5g ExperiencesSource: Google

With Android 11, Google will be bringing quite a few changes aimed at helping users take advantage of 5G and other new innovations. Developers will be able to make use of updated connectivity APIs in Android 11 to take full advantage of the significantly faster speeds that 5G brings to the table.

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Similar to last year, Google is also extending support for new screen types with Android 11. Hole-punch and waterfall screens are now supported, which means developers can use the new APIs to optimize apps for phones with such screens.

To help developers create "deeper conversational experiences," Google is introducing a dedicated conversations section in the notification shade and adding support for conversation bubbles while multi-tasking. Another new feature that the first Android 11 developer beta includes is the ability to insert images directly into notification inline replies.

Android 11 One Time Permission DialogSource: Google

Last year, Google gave users more granular control over their location access with Android 10's "While app is in use" permission option. Android 11 introduces a new one-time permission, which enables users to grant temporary access to data such as their location, device microphone, and camera. Some of the other changes coming to Android 11 include call-screening APIs, machine learning, security enhancements, as well as new media and camera capabilities.

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