Developer Preview 1 of Android R was released on 20 Feb 2020.
Android R ,a.k.a, Android 11 is the OS update for 2020 from Google.
There will be 3 Developer Previews (February, March and April) and 3 Beta releases (May, June, Q3) and a Final Stable release somewhere in Q3 of 2020.
The Developer Preview is currently only available for Pixel 2, 2 XL, 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL and 4, 4XL only. Google terminated support for Pixel and Pixel XL in Jan 2020.
Developer Preview needs to be flashed to the devices, i.e., it’s not an OTA (Over the Air) update. For this, one needs to unlock their bootloader. Developer Preview is not meant for the common consumers, it is geared towards Developers who want to test their apps in the new UI. The upcoming Beta releases starting from May Update will be OTA updates.
Disclaimer: The Android 11 Developer Preview is not available Over The Air, i.e., it can only be installed via flashing the phone with appropriate Flashable Image. I do not recommend doing it unless you are aware of what you are doing. And I do not take responsibility for any bricked devices. This blog is only for educational purposes and not for encouraging people to flash their devices.
The Developer Preview brings a lot of things to the Table.
1. Native Screen Recorder.
Google Finally released its Native Screen Recorder in the Android 11 Developer Preview. There were hints of its existence in the Android 10 Beta releases and now, it’s finally here. Screen Record is not an app, its present as a toggle in the Quick Settings Tiles. And it works just like any other Screen Recorder, smooth and awesome. But, it doesn’t have the ability to record Internal Audio, as every other Screen Recorder.
2. Privacy changes.
Google has taken a firm stance in the Privacy game of Android. Last year, they released Location services “only while using the App” option. This year, they are going hard on Location Services and also restricting the access to Microphone and Camera. If an App asks for Camera or Microphone access, then there is an option to “ask every time”. And, if you deny an app twice, the UI understands that you don’t want to give this app permission and that request is blocked from then on.
Last year Google tweaked the notification bar and Added Silent Notification Group and Normal Notification Group. This year, Google has gone one step ahead and created three divisions in the notifications pull down “Conversations”, “Normal Notifications”, and “Silent Notifications”. Conversations, as the name suggests, is for messages which can be replied.
4. Hidden Scrolling Screenshots.
Geniuses over at XDA uncovered hidden code for Scrolling Screenshots. And it seems like the Real Deal. Let’s just hope it makes its way into Android 11 Stable Update.
5. Pin Apps to Share Menu.
Last year, Google tweaked the Quick Share menu in some big and important ways, making it faster and easier to use. This year, it’s no different. Although this feature is only working in Chrome as of right now, the possibilities seem very broad. The quick share menu lets users pin apps to the top and thus, making it easier to share things faster.
Android 10 promised us Conversation Bubbles as seen in Facebook’s Messenger App. But, Google was not able to deliver on the promise. But, here comes Bubbles. Although the Bubbles feature is very heavily bugged, it’s nice to see it in action. You can long press on a Conversation and select activate Bubbles to start it in Bubble Mode. It’s in the stage where, When it Works, it Works.
7. Auto Dark Mode.
This is a long awaited and heavily requested feature of last year. Finally, Google added Scheduled Night Mode to the UI. It’s now available to turn on according to the Sunset and Sunrise, or you can set a custom time to turn it on and off.
8. New Cutout API for all kinds of notches.
Google has added official support for all kinds of notches, including tear-drop, hole-punch, waterfall notches and what-not. Till now, all the Android devices used workarounds to fit their respective notches into the UI.
9. Use Bluetooth audio while in Airplane Mode.
Whenever we turn on Airplane mode while connected to Bluetooth device and listening to some music, the device turns off Bluetooth with it. It was so damn frustrating to connect the headphones again. Not anymore. Android 11 brings new feature which doesn’t turn off the Bluetooth when connected to Wireless Headphones when we turn on the Airplane Mode. Works really well.
10. No notification tones or vibrations while taking pics or shooting videos.
Devices used to make notification tones and vibrations while recording videos and it used to be captured in the video, it was really frustrating. Not anymore. Well, the feature, it works exactly as the name suggests and works quite well.
11. Digitized Driver’s License.
People over at XDA found that Android 11 is planning to add Digitized Drivers licenses to the OS.
12. Live Frames Per Second.
In the developer options, there is a toggle to view live fps of the screen (left top corner). Of course, this is only useful for the devices with 90Hz, 120Hz displays.
There are some device specific updates. For Pixel 4, they have included increased touch sensitivity option for screen protectors and some more Motion Sense upgrades.
Apart from that, Android 11 supports 5G, foldable displays, curved displays and maybe in future releases, Reverse Wireless Charging.
Android 11 is a very strong update, but it still Feels like Android 10+, rather than Android 11. Although it’s just the First Developer Preview, Can’t wait to see what’s next.
Until then, Fingers Crossed…