Android 11 Beta 2 has been released by Google for all compatible Pixel phones. With the new release, Android 11 has reached the Platform Stability milestone, which means that the APIs and behaviours included in Android 11 are finalised now. Google is calling developers to start updating their apps to target Android 11 and make them ready for its official release that will take place in the third quarter. Although the search giant hasn't yet revealed the release date of Android 11, it briefly suggested that it could be September 8. This means that the new Android version would debut in just a couple of months.
Google has released Android 11 Beta 2 for the Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4 users. So, if you own any of these models, you can go ahead and download the latest Android version for testing purposes. You can enrol for over-the-air updates by signing up for the Android Beta Program. Alternatively, the Android team has made downloadable packages available for Pixel phones that can be flashed using the Android Flash Tool.
Apart from Google, other device vendors are yet to reveal their plans to provide the Android 11 Beta 2 update available for their devices. We can, however, expect them to start making their official announcements soon.
One of the major changes that Android 11 Beta 2 brings over the existing beta release that debuted last month is its Platform Stability reach. “Platform Stability means that all app-facing surfaces and behaviors are now final in Android 11,” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android, in a blog post. “This includes not only final SDK and NDK APIs, but also final system behaviors and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces that may affect apps. So from Beta 2, you can release compatibility updates with confidence that the platform won't change.”
Since the Android team says that the new beta version has all major requirements at their final stage, developers are encouraged to start their compatibility testing and publish updates ahead of the public Android 11 release.
Android 11 Beta 2 also gives special attention to app compatibility. This means that Google has brought the new beta version to give a ground to developers to make sure that their apps run flawlessly. Developers can test their apps either on an Android 11 Beta 2 device or using the latest emulator available on Android Studio.
“With each release, we're working to reduce the work you'll need to do to get your apps ready,” said Burke. “In Android 11, we've added new processes, developer tools, and release milestones to minimise the impact of platform updates and make it easier for apps to stay compatible.”
For end users, Android 11 Beta 2 doesn't include any major upgrades over what we received through the last beta release. You'll, however, get a list of changes that are offered to enhance the overall user experience.
One of the noticeable changes that Android 11 Beta 2 brings is the updated Pixel Launcher that no longer has transparency, as noted by XDA Developers. A Smooth Display toggle has also been added to the Display settings to let users easily enable automatic switching from 60 to 90Hz for select content. The existing Force 90Hz option in the Developer options menu has also been removed, as highlighted by some users on Reddit.
The default screen recording option on Android 11 Beta 2 also comes with the ability to record the device's internal audio while capturing the screen. This is in addition to the existing audio recording from microphone option. You can also use the new addition to record the device's audio as well as from its microphone simultaneously.
Google has also removed some clutter from the Share Sheet available on Android 11 Beta 2 and made a pin icon available for the apps that are pinned on the Share Sheet.
A new icon to let you launch a conversation in a bubble has also been provided. Similarly, the Allow apps to show bubbles option is now enabled by default for all apps to show conversations in bubbles. The list of supported apps, however, is currently not so populated and includes only renowned names such as Facebook Messenger and Google's Messages app.
If you were amongst the early Android 11 beta testers, you'll also notice that the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) window has limited resizability in Android 11 Beta 2. You'll also see dedicated settings for Conversations. Further, XDA Developers has noticed that the new media player that debuted in the earlier Android 11 Beta release is now available in the Quick Settings panel by default. This means that you don't need to go into the Developer options menu to enable the new design. Also, there is a new ripple animation effect that appears when you hit the play/ pause button on the media player available in the Quick Settings panel.
Developers have also received a cached apps freezer option that appears to “suspend execution for cached apps,” as noticed by XDA Developers. However, the Android team is yet to reveal the purpose of the new addition.
There is also a pre-installed app called Device Drop Monitor that uses the built-in sensors of the device to detect its dropping and log the duration of the freefall. Once the app detects a fall, it shows a notification to the user and asks them to complete a brief survey to provide details about the accident, as reported by XDA Developers. Google gives a message after completing the survey that says the user inputs “will help improve the design on future Pixel devices.”
Android 11 public release on September 8?
Alongside the latest beta debut, Google seems to have revealed the release date of Android 11 stable update. The search giant hosted a “Hey Google” Smart Home Summit in which it included a slide showcasing a “Checklist for September 8th Android 11 launch,” XDA Developers reports.
Android 10 was launched in September last year. Thus, it makes sense for Google to launch its new iteration after one year. There is, however, no official communication on the release date.
It is likely that Android 11 will initially be available for Pixel phones. However, some previous releases suggested that models such as the Essential Phone and some OnePlus devices would receive the new update shortly after its official debut.
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