This post will be updated as new features are discovered with each subsequent preview release
Android 11 is here and that means new features are on the horizon, so here's what's coming with this latest release and what to look forward to.
Before all that, though, keep in mind that this is the very first developer preview for Android 11. And that means that it isn't intended for daily use by the average user.
It's intended solely for developers. So Google can gain feedback on the software and work with it to establish improvements for the next version of the preview. All that said, that doesn't mean users can't install it.
That is still possible to do, but it will have to be done manually. So, users would need to download the preview for their device, and then flash it manually. Moving on, here are some of the coolest features we got excited about that will pertain to users.
What features are coming in Android 11? For starters, new social features
Android 11 will have loads of stuff by the time it gets a stable release later in the year. Some of those features will be related to social.
They'll correlate directly to the different ways you can interact with and talk to your friends and family. A few notable changes that Google has confirmed as of today are interactions through notifications, and chat bubbles.
Notification replies are getting insert image support
Replying to messages from any social app from the notification panel is an extremely useful feature of Android.
Perhaps the one thing that's missing though is the ability to insert images in these replies. As it stands it's not possible to add an image of any kind when you reply from the notification panel.
In Android 11 that will be changing. Google hasn't mentioned anything about what types of image files will be supported yet. But expect the standard types, such as JPG, PNG, and maybe even GIF.
Chat bubbles for messaging apps
Many users thought this would appear in Android 10, but it did not.
Android 11 will finally introduce this functionality and allow all or most messaging apps to have this view. This will be possible with the bubbles API, and it's something that developers will need to implement for it to be usable.
Google does note that in Android 11 all messaging app developers should use the API. So it might eventually be a requirement to have it even if the user chooses not to use it.
This is already something you can do with Facebook Messenger. So if you use that app to talk with friends and have the bubble set up, this is how it will work with other messaging apps in Android 11.
See all your ongoing conversations from the notification panel
Don't like bubbles? No problem. Another new social feature coming in Android 11 is the ability to see all of your ongoing conversations from the notification panel.
This way you can simply drag the panel down and see who you're currently talking to and communicate with them there.
If you're a social person and often have multiple conversations going, this should be a good way to keep up on all of them without skipping a beat.
There's expanded biometric support too
Google is adding in additional authenticator types to help Android support more devices than before.
The idea is more granular control over the biometric authentication using different levels of security. Going forward, biometric authentication will support strong, weak, and device credential security levels.
What this will likely boil down to is better security on your device when you have apps that are using biometrics as an authentication method.
And there's improved support for pinhole and waterfall displays
These kinds of display are already supported in Android with the display cutout API, but Android 11 will improve the support for these two display types. Which have been popping up more recently on phones.
Google says the new API it has created for Android 11 will allow for developers to utilize the entire waterfall display. This includes the edges as well as enables insets that can assist developers in making use of the edges on these types of screens.
Look to the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S20 series of devices as a good example of the pinhole displays.
You'll be able to mute notifications while using the camera
If you're an avid user of your smartphone camera no doubt you've had a notification or two come in while trying to take a picture or record video.
Much like getting notifications while play a game, this can not only be annoying but disruptive. It's also possible that it could completely ruin the shot you're trying to take.
And, anyone that uses the camera enough knows that sometimes, you only get one shot at capturing a perfect moment.
With Android 11 you can avoid potential disruptions by disabling the notifications during camera use. This will essentially mute the vibrations from incoming calls, messages, and the like.
Vibrations from alarms and ringtones can also be muted.
Another one of the cool features in Android 11 is Single-use permissions
Permissions are a necessary thing on Android. The way the system works, most apps require certain permissions to function.
The thing is you have to grant permissions to apps before you use them. And once those permissions are granted, they stay granted unless you later go back and revoke them. Which you can do.
In Android 11 though, you'll be able to grant permissions to app as a single-use case. So, instead of granting permissions for all time (unless later revoked of course), you can set up a permission that is only granted for that one time you use the app.
After that single use, the permissions will be revoked automatically, which saves you time. This gives the user a little bit more control over permissions and should help with overall security.
Google is adding support for digital IDs
Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to just store your driver's license in our phone? Sure it would. Would it be secure? That's a different discussion for a different day.
And one that isn't likely to resolve itself anytime soon as there will be plenty of governmental regulations to overcome and iron out.
That isn't stopping Google from preparing for this future. Android 11 will be adding support for digital IDs. Meaning you'll be able to store things like your Driver's license in your phone wallet (or something similar) just like you do with your debit and credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards.
Of course this is only the preparation. As noted, the phone will only support the feature. You won't be able to use it yet however.