Google's release of Android 11 Developer Preview 2 (DP2) has apparently brought forward a new “Quick Controls” feature for the power button menu. That's based on a still-incomplete new API spotted and activated in part by XDA Developers Recognized Contributor Quinny899.
The API appears to shift that menu, found under a long-press of the power button, to make space for the direct access to smart home shortcuts. In the example set up by Quinny899, that means users could control things such as their smart bulbs from that menu. The UI's 'Emergency', 'Power off', 'Restart', and 'Screenshot' buttons are placed at the top of the screen. The tiles for accessing smart bulb controls sit just below, under a "Quick controls" header.
To the right of the header, users can tap a three-dot menu icon to add new controls. So users would presumably be able to easily add further shortcuts for all of their favorite smart home devices.
Quick Controls may or may not replace “Quick Access Wallet” but it's not complete in DP2 just yet
Now, as noted above, the API used for Quick Controls isn't completed just yet. That will also almost certainly need to be incorporated by device OEMs before it can be used. So even after it is complete, it may not be immediately useful for every user.
There is at least one additional caveat to consider for the Quick Controls discovered here too. Namely, in the March feature drop for Pixel handsets, Google added in another feature for that power button menu. That's the “Quick Access Wallet” feature presented to users as "Cards & Passes."
Cards & Passes, as its name implies, allows users to access tap-to-pay and other features from their Google Pay wallet. Those options are placed where the new Quick Controls are in the UI. It's not immediately clear whether Google will drop that new feature entirely in favor of the newly spotted feature.
The search giant could feasibly add both or give users options to switch between those as needed in their device settings. Conversely, it isn't out of the question that Google could simply shift those options downward in the power button menu. If that's the case, Cards & Passes would be placed just below Quick Controls.
Will this be limited to Pixel gadgets?
Since the API is unfinished, there's no easy way to work out a timeline for Quick Controls to make an appearance. Quick Controls are certainly not user-ready with Android 11 DP2. The current speculation is that they might make an appearance at Google's I/O 2020 event — expected to be held virtually this year. None of that means that anybody who doesn't own a Pixel handset will see the feature anyway.
OEMs tend to each have their own unique power button menus, to begin with. But Google's most recent power button menu feature, Cards & Passes, is also effectively limited to its own handsets. That's been the case with many features, so it seems likely that Google will carry the trend forward for Quick Controls if it does launch the feature.