Google has released Android 11, the final and stable version of the operating system with market shares of over 80% in many countries.
Google has followed the Android 11 development calendar in the same way as with previous versions, unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. The first public Android 11 Developer Preview built in February and it has been releasing beta versions. Now we have the final version.
Android 11 features: What’s new?
Google vice president of engineering Dave Burke has already set the goals for this release: “We will maintain our focus on helping users take advantage of the latest innovations, while continuing to keep privacy and security as a priority. ”
5G is on the way and Google has paid special attention to the new mobile networks, starting with the improvements of the Android connectivity APIs to take advantage of its capabilities and the different scenarios.
A new dynamic measurement API will check for unmeasured connections and another will provide an estimate of bandwidth. The user interface will show up to five different 5G icons depending on the connection scenario, a sample of the complexity of the deployment of these networks and their variety according to the regions.
In addition to 5G, there will be improvements in other aspects such as the call detection service; greater manageability of Wi-Fi and others such as Passpoint.
Security and Privacy
Google has extended the defense strategies for Android security in more areas of the system and has added new functions and APIs for applications. Biometric support has been expanded to a greater range of ways and devices; memory access locks; secure storage and sharing of data and identity credentials.
In terms of privacy, there will be a single permission for the most sensitive types of data and not only for the location, but also for the microphone and camera of the device. Users will be able to grant temporary access each time an application wants to access the data.
Android 11 will automatically reset the permissions for unused apps and send you the corresponding notification. You can always re-grant the app’s permissions the next time you use it.
Another added feature that we met in Android 10 development is Scoped Storage. A new feature that will give each application their own isolated storage space instead of giving them access to the entire file system. This will prevent services and apps from checking any other files on the mobile phones.
Conversations, People and Media Control
Android 11 launches a specific section for conversations in the notifications. This facilitates the administration and management of them in applications such as messaging and allows prioritizing conversations with the most important contacts for you to not lose any important messages.
Another new feature will be Bubbles, a way to keep conversations in view and accessible while doing other tasks. It will also be possible to insert assets directly into the online responses to notifications, with the possibility of copying/pasting images, for example from Chrome via the Gboard clipboard.
More news come from the built-in screen recording. Now you can capture and share the sound recording of the microphone, the device, or both, without the need for an application.
More improvements come from the control of smart devices like the thermostat or Smart Lock with Android 11 now from a single place by simply pressing the power button for a long time. The media controls have also been redesigned for greater utility. Now you can quickly switch the playback device, for example from headphones to speaker.
Finally, it should be noted that Android Auto will now work wirelessly for all Android 11 phones in compatible vehicles, which will allow us to obtain its navigation functions, messages or get help from the Google Assistant without the need for any cables.
Phones with new designs are on the way
Google will improve the operation support for specific applications on folding devices. It will also support hole screens such as the Galaxy S20 or the waterfall type of the Huawei P30 Pro. Applications will be able to use the entire surface of the screen, including the edges of the curved ones.
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Images and cameras
The camera is really important on mobile phones and the new models with Android 11 improve their support. We see new metadata tags to enable bokeh modes and a new API to silence the vibration of ringtones, alarms or notifications while captures are active.
Android 11 has animations in HEIF files; new image decoder for applications to decode and encode images such as JPEG, PNG, WebP from native code; or HDMI low latency modes or in MediaCode, thinking about improving latency in streaming video services like Stadia.
Android Enterprise and Administration
With Android 11, Android Enterprise users will be able to have the same privacy protections on their professional devices as their personal ones. In IT management, Android 11 will offer enhancements to endpoint work profiles, providing IT departments with new asset management and device-level controls for business.
Android 11 update
Since Android 10, Google has increased investment in updates to the Google Play system (Project Mainline) to improve security, privacy and consistency across the ecosystem in collaboration with device manufacturers. In Android 11, they have added 12 new upgradeable modules, in a total 22 modules available.
With the additional modules, Google Play will send more security and privacy fixes to your phone, in the same way that it sends application updates. This will improve the fixes as soon as they are available, without having to wait for a full operating system update.
Android 11 availability
Android 11 will be available immediately in some Pixel, OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO and Realme terminals and specifically in the following:
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- Google Pixel 3A
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- Google Pixel 4A
- OnePlus 8
- OnePlus 8 Pro (NA, EU, India)
- Xiaomi Mi 10
- Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
- OPPO Find X2
- OPPO Find X2 Pro
- Realme X50 Pro
In the upcoming weeks/months other brands and models will be incorporated and supported smartphones will receive updates via OTA, although we do not have specific dates for each of the manufacturer.
In this regard, it is worth noting Google’s effort to support and maintain more than 1.3 billion devices that are activated each year with Android. Smartphone sales are falling sharply and users increasingly value software support. Ensuring adequate time (several manufacturers such as Samsung have announced an increase of 2 to 3 years) and offering Android updates in a reasonable time will be key.
Google has also released the source code for Android 11 in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to make it easier for developers to work with the new version.