Google invites smartphone owners to test new Android 11

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Android 11 has more privacy improvements.
Android 11 has more privacy improvements.

Google is inviting Pixel smartphone owners to test the features offered on its new Android 11 operating system, which is still in beta testing phase.

Launched on Wednesday, the Alphabet-owned firm’s eleventh Android mobile operating system has more and better features than Android 10, including a power button menu, auto-generated app suggestions, advanced communication apps and changes that make it easier to manage notifications and connected devices.

Google had planned to announce the Android 11 beta on 3 June, but decided to delay the launch, due to the Black Lives Matter protests that had dominated the global media agenda.

According to Google, there are currently over 2.5 billion active Android devices.

Android 11 also brings more features to Android smartphones, including a screen recorder, updated voice access, improved performance, and an improved share menu that makes it easier for users to share content from their phone.

Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering at Google, says Android 11’s new communication tools were inspired by its strategy to make communication easier, simpler and more efficient.

“To make communication easier and simpler on your phone, Android 11 will move all of your conversations across multiple messaging apps to a dedicated space in the notification section.

“This makes it easy to see, respond to and manage your conversations all in one place. In addition, when you type using Gboard in Android 11, you’ll get relevant and automatic suggestions for emoji and text,” notes Burke.

Many of Android 11’s new features are already available in beta on Pixel 2+ phones and will be added onto other devices in the coming weeks, according to Burke.

Google Meet is now available to every Android user.
Google Meet is now available to every Android user.

Additional new features added to Android 11 include:

Communication tools:

Google Meet is now available to every Android user and can support larger meetings, and Family Mode for Duo lets users doodle on calls and add masks and effects, helping them express themselves in new ways.

Android 11 also introduces Bubbles, a new feature to help users respond and engage with important conversations without switching back and forth between their current task and the messaging app.

More privacy improvements

Android 11 has more granular controls for sensitive permissions. With one-time permissions, users can grant apps access to their microphone, camera or location, just for that one time. The next time the app needs access to these sensors, it will have to ask the user for permission again.

In addition, if a user hasn’t used an app for an extended period of time, Android will “auto-reset” all of the permissions associated with that app and notify the user of the same.

Control of connected devices and media

Google has introduced new media controls in Android 11, making it quick and convenient to switch the device to the audio or video content that is playing.

In addition, Google says users can now quickly access and control smart devices that have been integrated with their phone in one place. This is done by long pressing on the power button – adjusting the temperature, turning on the lights or unlocking the front door can now be done with a tap without opening multiple apps.

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