Google has finally released the first beta version of Android 11. This new update features a revamped notification system, a new power menu, and dozens of smaller tweaks.
As Android is a “mature” operating system, there aren’t a lot of obvious missing features with it. In fact, some might even say that mature smartphone operating systems like Android and iOS have too many features. Therefore, what might be more suitable is having a system that helps to manage the existing complexity; one that will help to handle everything your phone already does while keeping things more organised.
Fortunately, this is exactly what the Android 11 is meant to do. Here’s a deeper look:
Improvements for messaging
Image Credits: The Verge
With the new update, Android has implemented chat bubbles that are similar to those of Facebook Messenger’s. Users can hide ongoing conversations in little bubbles on the side of their screen or move them around, and tapping on the specific bubble will reveal the conversation. Through this, it is expected that users can access important messages as quickly and easily as possible.
Additionally, it is now possible to send images directly from the notification shade when replying to a message. Much like the chat bubbles, the notification shade also has a dedicated conversation section meant to grant users instant access to ongoing conversations.
Image Credits: The Verge
The new one-time permission feature allows users to choose to grant apps access to sensitive information like location, or to use the microphone and camera on a one-time basis.
This means that the app will be allowed to access any of the aforementioned features when in use, however as soon as you leave the app, the permission will be revoked, and access will have to be granted once again the next time. Personally, we are thrilled to see Google giving users control over data in such a way, as giving apps permission to use these features shouldn't be taken lightly for safety purposes.
Built-in screen recorder
Image Credits: Android Central
This has been a long time in coming. We’ve been patiently waiting for Google to add a built-in screen recorder, and now we finally have it.
While a screen recorder isn’t something that users will typically use on a daily basis, it only seems normal that such a basic function should not be left out of phones. Fortunately, the Android 11 is changing this – the Developer Preview 2 has added a screen recorder accompanied with a polished UI, and toggles to record audio and show touches on your screen.
Getting Android ready for 5G
5G connectivity has started making its way to people in the last year, and an increasing number of people are beginning to get connected to the next generation of wireless data.
With the Android 11, a "Dynamic Meterdness API" feature is added to help phones process 5G connectivity, essentially allowing phones to take full advantage of all that 5G power. How this works is that the API detects whether users are connected to a 5G signal, and if yes, they will then be able to access the highest possible quality for videos and graphics.
While 5G is not available in Malaysia yet, we expect that it won’t be long until we have it. Until then, it is great that this API gets phones ready for 5G and the day when we can finally have access to increased speeds.
Image Credits: 9to5google
Following the new update, Android 11 has an “on-device visual cortex that understands screen content and context, and generates labels and access points for accessibility comands.” What this means is that when controlling the phone with your voice, users may now speak naturally by giving instructions based on what’s on screen, instead of having to identify a number on a grid.
Users can now also rotate their phone screen to landscape mode, even on the home screen, making the phone’s UI feel like a tablet-phone.
With Android 11, the bottom row of applications on the home screen will now be app suggestions based on learned behaviors. This is meant to grant users easier access to what they would usually tap on – processed through a smart algorithm.
Get the Android 11 beta on your phone!
Image Credits: Gadget Hacks
For now, the Android 11 update is only available to Pixel users, specifically Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4. Those who are interested to test out this version can also sign up for the Android Beta Program to get the Android 11 Beta on their device. For us, we’re excited to keep updated ourselves and see the finalised version when it is pushed out later this year. Don’t forget to check back in with us for updates!
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