Google offers up first look at Android 11 with Developer Preview

Designed for developers, it's a glimpse into the future of Android

Google on Wednesday released its first Developer Preview of Android 11, giving us our initial glimpse into the future of Android.

Arriving earlier than anticipated, the Android 11 Developer Preview doesn’t have anything major in the ways of user interface or experience. It does, though, have a fair share of interesting new features, particularly around messaging and security.

Although it’s called Android 11, developers and tinkerers looking through things will see references to Android R. But, don’t go looking for any sweets or desserts as Google has shed that aspect of the naming convention.

As device makers and network providers continue to integrate 5G, Google aims to make it easier to adopt the next-gen speeds and tech. To that end, Android 11 has platform-level updates for 5G.

Other features baked into Android 11 include enhancements for folding screens, hole punch displays, and waterfall displays, as well as SHAKEN/STIR call screen authentication. Also included is better low-latency video decoding for streaming games service like Google’s Stadia.

A new location permission option lets users grant a one-time access when installing or setting up an app. This builds on the granular control introduced in Android 10 which gives users the option to only allow access to a device’s settings when an app is open — as opposed to an always-on, always-reporting manner.

There’s a fairly long list of details in the Android 11 Developer Preview, some more obvious to users than others. With that said, it’s still designed for developers and a lot of what’s important will be behind the scenes and less overt.

As we’ve seen in the last few years, this is just a first look at how Android 11 will operate. New features and updates will be introduced in the coming months leading up to Google I/O in May.

If you’re a developer hoping to ready your app or game for Android 11, you can download a system image for select devices. Available for flashing today, you can visit the Android 11 developer site and grab on for a Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 device.

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