After only a few months since the official release of Android 10, a start in the deviation of the OS’ usual naming convention, the smartphone scene has already been buzzed with speculations regarding the system’s inevitable up and coming successor, presumably called Android 11.
Suffice to say, there are not so many definitive facts available right now as to what this developing operating system has to offer. But that does not mean there is not any. Let’s discuss what we know so far.
UPDATED 02/20/2020: The first Android 11 Developer preview is now out. Check out the official features below.
Official Android 11 features
2020 is the 5G year we’ve all been waiting for, so it’s no surprise that even Android 11 wants to board the hype train. Although if we are being technical, Android 10 is also capable of handling 5G as well as there are several phones already with 5G-enabled. But what Android 11 actually brings is improved connectivity APIs which can be used by developers to help them take advatange of the network and its low latency.
The Dynamic meteredness API lets developers to check if the internet connection of the user is unmetered. If so, they will deliver high quality and high resolution data. Otherwise, the system will limit the data usage so it doesn’t burn too much allocation.
Bandwidth estimator API, on the other hand, lets the developers know much upstream and downstream can be used. If the modem doesn’t support the feature, the system will estimate the network’s capability based on the current connection.
New screen types support
Before getting added to Android 11, manufacturers abd developers have to customized how waterfall and pinhole displays will work on the platform. This improvement cuts development time as companies can just use the new display cutout APIs now.
Android 11 will bring along a new dedicated conversations section, which will let users to continue their conversations in the notification shade. This makes them more accessible while you’re doing something else on your phone, so you don’t have to switch between them continuously.
Remember Messenger’s chat heads? Android 11 will also come with a similar feature called Bubbles. If the developers want to use the same pop-up and floating notification, all they have to do is incorporate it to their apps with the help of the new API.
Another interesting addition is the image copy and paste support. For the 1st dev preview, the image copy feature is currently available in Chrome while pasting an image can be done through Gboard.
UI enhancements and Screen Recording
The dark theme of Android has its own faults, so Google is improving it for the latest iteration. Now, users can choose to automatically turn to dark mode depending on the time of the day. But it’s not limited to day and night, because users have the ability to set a custom interval as well.
After being cut-off in the official release of Android 10, screen recording is finally back in Android 11. What’s even better, is that works as it should by simply tapping its icon in the Quick Settings dropdown.
Privacy and permissions
Sensitive types of data like microphone, location, and camera are now under a one-time permission system. After leaving the app and then coming back, apps and games must ask for permission again.
In the Google Play Store, apps will no longer be given access to track your location in the background without the internet giant’s permission. And after August 3, new location tracking apps that will be submitted to the Play Store will be subject for approval. But it’s not just Android 11, as this new policy affects all previous versions of Android.
Google also took care of persistent permission requests. Once you tap Deny for two consecutive times for any permission, that will now equate to “don’t ask again.” This means that it will no longer bug you for the specific permission even though you still have it installed. In case you change your mind, you can simply go to Settings and update it manually. Reinstalling the app will also reset the permissions.
Aside from the typical features that users can actually see, there are also others that are hidden underneath.
The Neural Networks API stretches the controls given to developers but improves the security at the same time. In order to minimize the effect of software updates to apps and games, devs are being given new tools and processes so they can prepare and futureproof their applications.
A new API inteded to work while in a camera session is also released which can interact with alarms, ringtone vibrations, and notifications.
Google also implemented some Pixel-related changes like the new setting to pause music called Motion Gesture. Users can also increase touch sensitivity of the display when they use a screen protector.
Download Android 11 Developer Preview
As the name suggests, this first release of Android 11 is for developers only. Although, if you’re adventurous and you like using a buggy phone, you’re free to install it as well.
Pre-release versions of an operating system are often pretty buggy, so we suggest that you don’t install it in a phone you use regularly.
Again, if you’re not an Android developer and you’re not comfortable working with ADB and Recovery Mode, it’s better to wait for the official release or at least until critical bugs are ironed out.
Here’s the link to the full Android 11 DP1 OTA files and factory images.
Android 11 Dev Preview supported smartphones
- Pixel 2
- Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3A
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4 XL
Official timeline and release schedule of Android 11
The developer program starts this February and ends when it’s ready for the final public release. It’s expected to be available for OEMs and AOSP by Q3 of 2020. Before the consumer launch, Android 11 will be undergoing 2 more developer previews and 3 beta versions.
Original article published on 01/24/2020.
Android 11 expected features
One confirmed feature of the Android 11 is the highly-anticipated he Scoped Storage. This unique feature was originally designed to be released with the Android 10, but had to be pushed for the next OS’ iteration’s release. The reason being that the said feature is not fully fleshed out yet to be natively deployed with Android 10, as explained by the developers themselves.
Scoped Storage, on paper, is a very interesting feature in that, once it pans out, will enable users to experience a smoother experience with their apps. This is in terms of handling of data and the offsetting of rather excessive permission requests, all while ensuring that the overall process of data-handling remains safe via a robust security system.
Recently, two more features have surfaced and are confirmed to be designed for Android 11—the “Airplane and Bluetooth” mode as well as the Extended Screenshot.
Bluetooth On while in Airplane Mode
The “airplane mode,” true to its name, is a feature designed for the convenience of having a mobile device to be carried while riding on a plane. When enabled, most of smart device’s capabilities, including Bluetooth, are automatically disabled, essentially restricting the users to only a handful of functions with their phones, ensuring a safe experience while traveling on air space.
But given the rampant popularity of wireless accessories, like Bluetooth headphones, connecting to today’s smartphones, the ability to have the Bluetooth functionality remain enabled even when in Airplane Mode is a major benefit for flight travelers who cannot be separated from their wireless earpiece or other gadgets.
While seemingly outlandish, this is no mere speculation, however. The people at XDA Developers have actually came across the idea by looking into the source code of the ongoing operating system.
Having a screenshot of more than just a single frame of your screen is a feature that has been in the Android space for some time now. The idea behind the Extended Screenshot is pretty simple and straightforward—why take multiple screenshots of your phone’s screens at different frames when you can just attain a singular result with an extended screenshot?
Although the aforementioned capability requires a third-party app in order to attain, Android 11 will reportedly come natively with it. The revelation comes from one of Google’s team of engineers, Dave Burke, who tweeted the notion last May of 2019.
But as of the moment, Android users who’d like to use this feature should use third-party scrolling screenshots apps from the Google Play Store.
Other probable facts surrounding the Android 11 development
We have just reached 2020 and the development for Android 11 is probably on its way to testing. While there may be many speculations that are thrown into the story here and there, many of those statements are nothing but hearsay.
But instead of looking forward in order to add something meaningful into the mix, why do not we go the opposite way by looking backwards and see a pattern that Google might had been following?
Android 11 release date
First off, there is the still coming Google I/O which typically launches in May. If there is a perfect time for people to get a rather conclusive feedback of what to expect with anything Google-related, particularly a progress with Android 11, it is probably during this event.
And then, there is also the likely window for Android 11’s release date sometime in September of 2020. Like previously, it is Google’s flagship devices—the Pixel series—which will first be the testbed for the beta, followed by other manufacturers.
In Android 10, we have seen phones like the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro being launched with the OS out of the box. But given the dynamics in the industry, we might be seeing things a little differently with Android 11. However, this remains to be seen.
Finally, as for Android 11’s probable release date, it is potentially by Q4 of 2020 or around 2021, several months after some successful, multiple iterations during the beta testing.
What we’d like to see on Android 11
The Android operating system (OS) has been growing steadily over the span of its existing lifetime. As amazing as the OS itself, however, it is an evolutionary process and is not without its own issues in every release. As such, it is not too uncommon for individuals—such as myself—who would wish that there is something more to the system, potentially born from the developer’s oversight or overall shortcomings in creativity.
While not particularly ground-breaking in any means, here are a few things I personally would like to see in the upcoming release of Android 11:
A new and better iteration of the Android Beam
Many did not know that the Android device was capable of transmitting data to another device via NFC (called Android Beam), in essence, not also knowing the fact that the said feature became dead with the release of Android 10.
While there had been alternative solutions which offer a similar functionality in the Android space, they are sadly inconvenient to use. Suffice to say, a revival of this now extinct feature—but better—makes for one capability I would like to see on Android 11.
Google hasn’t really addressed the file sharing issue on Android. For years, they haven’t developed anything close to Apple’s AirDrop and Android users had to rely to third-party apps like ShareIt. As a result, smartphone brands Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo formed an alliance to create a universal solution to this problem.
Built-in screen recording
Apple’s iOS 13 already have this feature out of the box, so I see no reason why Android should not have it. While there are apps in the Play Store that mimics something like this, some of them are quite buggy. As a built-in feature baked inside Android itself, we expect it to perform better.
Google has added swipe gestures support in Android already, but the current version is undeniably lacking. It’s no match against the gestures introduced by Apple in the iPhone X, because it felt natural and it’s comfortable to use.
As a person who regularly switches between the two platforms, the big difference in experience is very evident.With Android, gestures are complicated and they are not as smooth as iOS. We’re hoping that Android 11 will address that.
Smartphones are no longer just for entertainment, but for productivity as well. When working with multiple apps and browsers, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of which text you’re copying and pasting from one app to another. To prevent that from happening, a clipboard manager could be of great use as it collects all the things you need and presents it in a
Universal Dark Mode theme and scheduling
Viewing your smartphone in mostly black which highlights certain colors better than white has always been the crux of the Dark Mode. Although this unique aesthetic is not everyone’s cup of tea, there are undeniably fans who cannot live without it.
However, as convenient and lovely this theme is to certain people, not many apps employ it, for some reason. Will it not be better if Android 11 comes with a Dark Mode theme so powerful, it transcends boundaries and turns everything that runs from it all mostly black alongside other lively colors? That’s the dream.
Aside from a comprehensive dark mode, we’re also hoping that Google would add automatic Dark mode scheduling at night as it’s such a huge convenience when it switches automatically depending on the time.
Another great feature that we want to see in Android 11 is iOS 13’s optimized charging.
If you want Lithium-Ion batteries to last, they need to be well taken care of. This means that you have to be aware of your usage and charging practices, so as not to shorten the lifespan of your battery.
But with optimized charging, the OS itself will take care of everything. In order to minimize the wear on the battery, it will learn your charging patterns and will only charge up to 80% when not needed or when connected to power for an extended period of time. The software also makes sure that the phone is fully charged up when the user unplugs it from the wall.
Improved tablet support
Android used to have good support for devices with large screens, but for whatever reason they got taken away throughout the years. In every Android update, a certain tablet-specific feature gets taken down. The result? Huge tablets with the same interface as 5 and 6-inch smartphones.
A couple of years ago, Android was actually ahead of Apple in the tablet game. But now that the iPad has its own OS and tablet-only features, it seems like Google forgot about it. Hopefully, they will bring back support for large screens.
Faster software release adoption
This has been a real problem for the past couple of years but while Android’s adoption rate is faster than ever, it still pales in comparison when compared side-by-side with iOS.
Android 9.0 Pie only reached over 20% adoption in the latter part of 2019, 1 year after its official release and at the same time Android 10 was announced. While that figure isn’t really impressive compared to iOS’ 50% usage in less than a month, the adoption rate right now is actually two times faster than previous iterations.
Android’s fragmentation has been an issue even from the beginning. Since there tons of different Android smartphone configurations in the market, a one-size-fits-all strategy isn’t really going to cut it. But there’s really no easy way to solve it aside from manufacturers working hard to deliver faster software updates. Google did its part with the introduction of Project Treble, however, at the end of the day, it still lies in the hands of the manufacturers if they want to deliver or not.
Android 11 supported devices
As of now, there’s still no official information regarding the supported devices of Android 11. However, based on previous releases, we can safely assume that the following smartphones will be upgradeable to Android 11 once it drops.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 series
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series
- Google Pixel 2, 3, 4 series
- Huawei P30 series
- Huawei Mate 30 series
- OnePlus 7, 7T series
- Xiaomi Mi Note 10 series
Brands like Nokia, Sony, and Realme are also pretty aggressive in updating their products, so we expect some of their smartphones to get Android 11 in the future. Flagship handsets of Vivo and OPPO might also be included. We’ll update this list as soon as we get more information.
That’s it for now. How about you? Do you have new features in mind that you want to see in the upcoming Android 11? Share it with us in the comments section below.