Last week, Google accidentally teased a new version of Android but took it down immediately. Now, the company made the first build of Android 11 Developer Preview available for developers and advanced users. Generally, it releases the first Developer Preview of new Android in March, but it releases it earlier this time. From the release, we get a brief on the new Android.
The Android 11 Developer Preview is built with new technologies keeping in mind, such as 5G. The new version updates and enhances the connectivity APIs to take advantage of the improved speed and latency of 5G. In this version, developers can check whether a connection is unmetered or not and if so, the app will use more data to offer higher resolution or quality and also helps to identify which carriers are offering truly unmetered data by being connected to the carriers’ 5G network.
The bandwidth API has also been updated for easy checking the downstream and upstream bandwidth, without an app needing to poll itself or compute its own estimate. Besides, there are improvements in Call screening service along with Wi-Fi suggestions API, and Pass points enhancements.
New Screen types
The new version also has support pinhole and waterfall displays at the platform level, so the device makers don’t have to do extra work for adding support themselves. Apps can manage these screens by using display cutout APIs.
People and conversations (Notifications)
The “bubbles” feature was initially suggested to be part of Android 10 last year. It’s a new UI for messaging apps that allows you to maintain several discussions conveniently available anywhere via a floating bubble. In the new version, Google’s own messaging app has included the bubble feature, and apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Signal also could take advantage of Bubbles API.
Along with bubbles, a new dedicated conversation section in the notification shade is introduced where users can instantly find their ongoing conversations with people in their favorite apps. If an app support image copy/paste, then you can insert assets into the notification replies directly for richer communication, meaning you can send images with your message directly from the notification shade.
Neural Networks API 1.3
Neural Networks API (NNAPI) is created for running computationally extensive operations for artificial intelligence on Android devices. Android 11 will broaden the operations and controls offered to designers. In this release, new operations and execution controls are added to enhance common usage cases:
- Quality of Service APIs, which will support priority and timeout for model execution.
- Memory Domain APIs will reduce memory copying and transformation for back-to-back model execution.
- Expanded quantization support, included with signed integer asymmetric quantization are utilized in place of float numbers to allow smaller sized models and faster inference.
Privacy and Permissions
To keep users secure and increase transparency and control, the user can grant temporary access to their location, device’s microphone, and camera through a new feature one-time permission. In short, with this, the apps can access the data until they move away or closes the app and will request permission again in the next access.
Scoped storage in Android 11 will have help in better app protection and user data on external storage with further improvement for smooth developer migration. Moreover, it includes more enhancements, like opt-in raw file path access for media, upgraded DocumentsUI, and batch edit functions in MediaStore.
In Android 11 Developer Preview Screen recording is back, earlier it was included in Android but was dropped. As it is back with a whole fancy UI this time, it would be shipping in the new Android version.
There are also some smaller tweaks which are as follows:
- Automatic Dark mode scheduling for sunset and sunrise, meaning the dark mode will automatically kick in when the sun goes down and will back in light mode when the sun comes up.
- Bluetooth audio connections will no longer be disconnected while turning on airplane mode.
- According to XDA Developer’s report, there is also a new hidden screenshot UI which is not enabled by default.
Moreover, there are some Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL specific changes, new Motion Sense gesture to play or pause music, and a setting to increase the touch sensitivity when using a screen protector.
Developers can download the Android 11 Developer Preview one factory images and OTA files here. Except for the original Pixel and Pixel XL, the first developer preview is compatible with all the Pixel smartphones, which include Pixel 2 / 2 XL, Pixel 3 / 3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, or Pixel 4 / 4 XL. And for more details on the preview, you can check the full release notes at Android Developers Blog.