Google may have cancelled its Android 11 Beta Launch Show event, but the company only postponed the release of Android 11 Beta by a week.

The first stable version of Android 11 is scheduled to launch later this year, but now that the operating system has reached beta status, Google is ready to highlight most of the new features coming to Android and provide tools for developers looking to make sure their apps are ready for the update.

Android 11 Beta is now available for Pixel 2 and later smartphones, and the company has released a series of videos to highlight new features for users and developers.

Google says new features fall largely into three categories: PeopleControls, and Privacy.

People

  • A dedicated Conversation section in the notification tray
  • Chat and messaging Bubbles that let you keep track of conversations from any screen
  • Context-specific keyboard suggestions for Autofill and Input Method Editors
  • Voice Access picks up an on-device visual cortex that can understand what’s on the screen and generate audible labels for people who navigate their phone by voice commands

Controls

  • Smart home Device Controls now show up in the power menu (when you long-press the power button)
  • Media Controls let you quickly switch device outputs

Privacy

  • Users can grant one-time permission to apps that request access to your mic, camera, or location
  • If you haven’t use an app for a while, Android 11 will auto-reset the permissions associated with that app
  • Starting in 2021, apps will have to obtain permission for background location usage

Google also acknowledges that many Android phone users are at the mercy of their phone makers when it comes to OS updates, with some manufacturers offering infrequent updates and others offering none at all. So Google has begun separating components of Android from the operating system and pushing updates through the Google Play Store. The company says it’s going to do that with 12 new modules in Android 11, more than doubling the number of modules that can be updated via Google Play.

For some reason the company included that in the Privacy section of its Android 11 Beta announcement blog post, but I think that’s just because it didn’t really fit either of the other categories.

That said, there are many more features listed in the Android developer preview documentation that don’t necessarily fit neatly into People, Controls, or Privacy categories either.

New features for developers include support for wireless ADB debugging and an update to the Android Studio developer tools (versions 4.1 Beta and 4.2 Canary are out today). There’s also a new version of the Google Play Console, available in beta.

The Android 11 APIs and SDK and NDK are also now finalized, which means developers can go ahead and start ensuring their apps are compatible with the next version of Google’s mobile operating system. Beta 2, which is scheduled to drop sometime in July, will be focused on stability. And Android 11 is scheduled for a stable release sometime in the third quarter of 2020.

via Android Developers Blog and Google Blog

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