Despite everyone on the Android team working from home, Google is still releasing Android 11 Developer Preview 2 today.
This update is still intended for developers only and not for beta testers. Hence the reason why this is not available as an OTA just yet. That should be happening around May, when Google I/O would have been taking place.
What’s new in Android 11 Developer Preview 2
This is just the second developer preview for Android 11, so there isn’t a lot that is new with this build. The majority of the big features will be waiting for the beta when that launches in May.
But Google is continuing to add more support for foldables in Android 11. With a new feature called hinge detection. This is an API that can tell what angle the hinge is bent at. This could lead to some very interesting features for Android, especially with devices like the Surface Duo or the Galaxy Z Flip. As the functionality could change based on where the hinge is.
Google is also including a new API that allows apps to check on a call’s SHAKEN/STIR status. This is going to make it easier to build call screening apps. . It’s also going to give apps a way to show the 5G status of the network. Essentially giving carriers another way to hype their 5G network.
The other big feature coming in Android 11 Developer Preview 2, is the ability to use variable refresh rates at a system level. The Pixel 4 was able to do this when it launched last fall, but other smartphones aren’t able to, because it was not built into the system. And that also meant that many apps were stuck at 60Hz. But that will change with Android 11. Additionally, this is going to be good news for the many, many high-refresh rate screens we are expecting to see this year.
This is just the second preview for Android 11, and we are still expecting to get about four or five more before the final version is available sometime in Q3 of this year. So this is still a very buggy and unstable build of Android 11. Hence the reason why it is not classified as a beta, but rather an alpha build. So it’s a good idea to wait before you decide to flash this onto your Pixel.