Google releases first Android 11 Developer Preview

Android 11 Developer Preview is out now. (Photo: Android)

There’s already an Android 11 Developer Preview available for download. On February 19, Google released an early Developer Preview for its forthcoming Android OS update Android 11.

Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, revealed upcoming features in a post on the Android Developers Blog.

Image result for Dave Burke, VP of Engineering
Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android, revealed a number of exciting features coming up for the next Android OS.

It’s important to note that this early build is solely for developers, so the only way to get it on your device is through manual download and flash. Speaking of smartphones, the Android 11 Developer Preview is available for Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 phones.

This year marks the earliest ever Android Developer Preview release. That gives developers more time to review the software and provide feedback on the new OS.

Google I/O runs from May 12-14 this year. It’s when Google will show off its new OS packed with fresh features for all Android users.

So, what’s new with Android 11? Here are some highlights.

New “One-time Permissions” in Android 11. (Photo: Android)

New Privacy and Security options

One significant addition to Android is “One-time Permission” for apps. The feature is like Apple’s iOS implementation that grant’s location permission to apps only once. Whenever you use the app again, it must send another request to access your location.

The “One-time Permission” feature extends to both the microphone and camera in the new Android build. Its inclusion will provide greater security and privacy for those who want to restrict certain apps to single-use access.

New Bubbles feature in Android 11. (Photo: The Verge)

New ways to communicate

The Android team is bringing new ways to communicate.

For starters, there’ll be a new section in the notification shade dedicated to conversations. The new feature will allow easy access to current discussions with some apps.

Next, there’s the new “Bubbles” feature, which works like the Facebook Messenger circles that live on your screen when you have ongoing conversations. Multi-tasking has always been a high priority on Android and now, you’ll be able to do other things while still maintaining active chats on screen. Bubbles API is available for developers to use when designing their chat and messaging apps.

Also, you’ll be able to add images to chats right in the notification shade. I don’t know who would use this feature, but it’s there.

New app compatibility toggles in Android 11. (Photo: Android)

Addressing App compatibility issues

There are new app compatibility features coming in Android 11. 🙌🏾 It’s great to see renewed efforts in this category as new Android OS updates render some apps unusable. The new features include measures to reduce the effect a new OS has on specific apps.

“Unless you’re a developer, steer clear of the early builds… Better yet, wait for Google I/O 2020.”

Additionally, there are built-in functions that let developers test and debug apps by manually switching on and off particular changes within the OS. With individual toggles, developers will be able to find problem areas and fix them, so their apps work well after updates.

All the above features propel the Android platform forward. But, don’t be too hasty to try out this early build. There’s a reason it’s for developers only.

These previews are often very unstable as they’re designed for testing and will probably make your daily life miserable. Unless you’re a developer, steer clear of the early builds and wait for more polished versions released to the public.

Better yet, wait for Google I/O 2020.