Android 11 makes its formal debut

The newest release is ready for prime time

After spending much of 2020 kicking about in various developer previews and beta releases, Google has made its Android 11 officially available.

Starting immediately, Android 11 will begin rolling out to select Pixel, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and realme handsets. Additional devices and partner announcements are expected in the coming months.

As outlined by Google, some of the more noteworthy features in Android 11 include the following.

Messaging apps and conversations are changed to include bubbles for pop-up chat and actionable notifications. Chatting can be done much easier and without switching apps.

Privacy is improved as users can grant applications a one-time access to sensitive permissions. Moreover, apps can automatically reset their permissions if they have not been used in a long time. This way an update doesn’t sneak past you which lets an app do something you don’t like.

A new screen has been designed for when the lock button is pressed, providing quick acces to smart home device controls.

Google is also expanding its screenshot tools to allow for built-in screen recording on all devices running Android 11. Additionally, there is platform-level support for digital IDs such as driver’s licenses, wireless Android Auto connection for compatible vehicles, new media controls, and personal and work profiles.

According to Google, nearly all Pixel phones will pick up additional features, including organizing and managing phones. Specifically, any from the Pixel 2 and newer will have app suggestions for the home screen based on routines as well as new “overview actions” that allow users to take screenshots of apps and select text, images, and more.

On Pixel phones a new Live View with Location Sharing feature lets you share a precise location with others. Using AR, it will guide users to that person wherever they happen to be, even if tucked away back in the corner of a park.

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