The Android 11 developer preview is finally here. Usually, Google releases these things by March, so it came as a bit of a surprise. We're not complaining though. Every developer preview gives us an insight into the software. Let us take a look at some of Android 11's features.
Android 11 is shaping up to be little more than an incremental upgrade
Based on what we've seen so far, it doesn't look like Android 11 will have that many interesting features. Of course, we could be proven wrong by subsequent developer previews, or even some features in the current one. Here is a part of what we have stumbled upon so far.
Stock Android users will FINALLY be able to take rolling screenshots on their devices. The functionality was supposed to be added with Android 10 but was left out. Google said that it had to iron out some kinks with it. Users can now stitch together the contents of a particularly long chat, webpage or anything that is over the length of your immediate screen. The feature has existed in Android forks such as EMUI and One UI for years, and it's a wonder why Stock Android took so long to get it.
Scoped storage is one of the most controversial features of Android. It prevents apps from having unfiltered access to your device's storage. Instead, it can only look into its own folder and some common locations such as the Downloads folders. However, it has been met with a lot of resistance, especially from developers of file manager apps, who rightfully argue that scoped storage will render their apps useless.
Android 11 aims to strike a balance between the two extremes. Such apps will have different permissions under the "the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" category that will let them access the entire memory of a device. Regular apps that request storage permissions, on the other hand, will be restricted to its own folders and common resources. We should know more about this Android 11 feature in the coming months.
Ability to pin apps in the Share menu
Android's Share menu is a bit all over the place in its current form. The sheer number of apps that you can share things to can get a bit overwhelming. Android 11 tries to make a life a bit easier by letting you pin regularly used apps at the top of the Share menu. While it is a welcome improvement, it still doesn't let you remove apps from the share menu and completely disable direct sharing. Let's hope that these are added to Android soon.
Flight mode won't disable Bluetooth
This is yet another minor QoL upgrade that Android 11 brings. Until now, toggling the Airplane Mode on closed all your outgoing connections, including Bluetooth. This can be a bit cumbersome if you have a pair of headphones and other peripherals paired with your device. While you can still switch Bluetooth back on from the Quick Settings menu, it takes a few seconds for the headphones to pair with your phone again, and we can't have that now, can we? On a more serious note, this will be incredibly useful for people who rely on Bluetooth hearing aids, as even a few seconds of lost connectivity will render them unable to hear ambient sounds.
There are still a lot more Android 11 features that we haven't covered here yet. Watch this space for our in-depth Android 11 coverage.