Android 10 has just about made its way onto the majority of phones that will be eligible for the OS upgrade. The Android team aren’t taking a break to admire their handy work though, with the first details of Android 11 emerging.
The Android team released the details of its first developer preview of Android 11. The new features look to be focused on security and quality of life upgrades at the moment with nothing groundbreaking on the menu yet.
What we know about Android 11
Update 2 June 2020: Android 11 launch delayed
Google planned to release a beta version of Android 11 on 3 June 2020, however, the tech giant confirmed that the launch has been delayed due to the widespread protests in the United States. Google said in a statement:
“We are excited to tell you more about Android 11, but now is not the time to celebrate. We are postponing the June 3rd event and beta release. We’ll be back with more on Android 11, soon.”
This follows after Sony announced that its PS5 gaming release has also been delayed indefinitely. Sony explained that “now is not the time to celebrate”, and that it would be standing back to “allow more important voices to be heard”.
Update 10 March 2020: First minor update rolled out
Google has, within the space of a week, rolled out its first update since releasing the Android 11 Developer Preview. Unfortunately, it’s a minor update.
The roll-out focused on fixes early bugs, and wont add or change any of the user-facing features. If all goes according to plan, Google will release one major update per month.
Android 11 will know what connection you’re on
Much like the way that Android apps can currently detect whether you’re using wifi or a mobile network in Android 11 apps will be able to determine whether you’re connected to 5G or not.
This will allow developers to tailor their app behaviour to optimise settings for different connection types and control unplanned data usage for users that may have separate 5G data plans.
Scheduled dark mode
Dark mode was possibly the most eagerly awaited feature to finally make its debut in Android 10. Dark mode is meant to make our phones easier to read and reduce battery usage.
Having said that, there are definitely times during the day that the normal old fashioned high contrast scheme is just easier to use.
In Android 11, you’ll be able to schedule an on and off time for dark mode. This is similar to the scheduled blue light filter that some manufacturers have shipped with their phones.
Better app permissions
Privacy and security are a huge focus at the moment; Huawei’s ties to China and various security breaches a permanent feature of the news.
Android 11 will look to continue Google’s attempts to make app permissions more explicit. Android 11 will allow location permissions to be granted “just this once”.
This will give users the flexibility to use apps like Facebook and only granting them access to their location when useful for the user.
No disconnecting of BT headsets when enabling airplane mode
If you’ve ever ended up disconnecting your Bluetooth earphones when switching on airplane mode, Android 11 is planning to fix that. Android 11 won’t switch everything off in the future.
In Android 11, an active Bluetooth connection to a headset won’t be killed. This is great news for travellers and office workers trying to minimise distractions.
Scoped storage is a feature that was originally planned for Android 10. However, it didn’t make it into the final build due to pushback from developers.
We’re not entirely sure how this feature will work yet, but it’s meant to improve data access speeds and security.
More messaging chat bubbles
Facebook messenger has been using chat bubbles for some time now, but the feature hasn’t really caught on with other developers.
Android 11 looks set to start making this feature more common with Google informing developers they need to start using the Chat Bubble API.
The lack of built-in screen recording in Android is a cause of massive frustration. Users whose OEMs have not included screen recording have had to resort to third-party apps when wanting to record their screen.
Android 11 could see screen recording finally included as part of the OS.
Share menu update
The share menu has been a near-constant nuisance for Android users. Inexplicably Android has forced us to deal with a share menu that seemingly randomly orders the options for sharing content.
Android 10’s share menu has been a definite improvement; Android 11 could finally give us what we’ve always wanted, the ability to pin sharing options in the menu.
As usual, we do need to remember it’s still early days for Android 11. A lot is likely to change between now and the third quarter of this year when it will eventually be released.