Google finally released its first Android 11 Public beta on 10th June 2020 after four developer previews. Since it is a beta installing it on phones might not be a good idea because it is bound to have a lot of bugs and most features haven’t been finalized yet. For the time being it is only available on select pixel devices although OnePlus has also released Android 11 beta on top of OxygenOS for OnePlus 8 And OnePlus 8 Pro as a part of its Developer Preview Program.
As of now, it is available on the following pixel devices.
- Pixel 2 and 2 XL
- Pixel 3 and 3 XL
- Pixel 3a and 3a XL
- Pixel 4 and 4 XL
If all things go according to plan, the final build is set to release in Q3 of 2020. But considering all the curveballs 2020 has been throwing at us it is wishful thinking at best.
Android 11 Top Features
New Notification Shade
The most noticeable update according to me is the new Notification Shade. Notifications on Android 11 will now be separated into 3 different categories
- Conversation Notifications
- Alerting Notifications
- Silent notifications
The conversation notification is basically for messaging. It can be texts, WhatsApp messages, Instagram DM’s, or any other apps that might end up supporting this.
Silent notifications are for background stuff like weather or Google now Cards.
Alerting Notification is for stuff that might require your attention like missed call or details about your amazon shipment etc.
Android 11 now supports chat heads for messaging apps, people were expecting it to be released along with Android 10 but better late than never. It is similar to Facebook Messenger’s floating heads. You can enable and disable it in settings. If you long-press a message notification a floating bubble appears on your screen on top of everything else, which includes the conversation. You can use this to chat without opening the app.
So now when you press and hold the power button you get access to additional things along with shut down, restart and screenshot such as a shortcut to Google Pay Cards and other cards and passes like boarding passes. You also get a bunch of smart home toggles without forcing you to access the Home app.
Improved Voice Control
It heavily improves the accessibility of the phone. So basically you can control your phone using your voice. What makes is better is that you can just say the name of the action and it will do it. It has improved to that point where you can scroll up and down and even tweet just by using your voice.
New Media Controls
The new media control now shows up at the top of your quick setting in the notification center. You get a little colourized media widget. Since it is at the top you won’t have to scroll down to change music or pause it. It is not enabled by default so you’ll have to enable it in developer setting though.
Updated Pixel Launcher
A bunch of stuff has been tweaked in Android 11’s Pixel Launch. Auto-rotate on the home screen is enabled by default. You can simply rotate it and use it like a tablet.
There is also an option to add a row of app suggestions. So basically everything moves up a row and at the bottom, you get a row of app suggestions. You can also block some apps from ever being suggested
App Switcher has also been updated, new options include App screenshot, a share button, and a button to select text within the app.
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