Yesterday, Google released the first build of its Android 11 Beta, and it comes with lots of amazing features, including a revamped notification system. The first public beta of the Android OS follows four previously released developer previews that were intended for the use of developers. Now, we are starting to get a better idea of what the stable version of Android 11 will look like when it launches in the coming months.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the features of Android 11 so far. However, before we go into that, it’s worth noting that installing Android 11 public beta on your phone might not be the best decision right now. That’s because there might be a few bugs on it that could harm your phone. Apart from that, Google also mentioned that only a few Pixel devices, including Pixel 2, 2 XL, Pixel 3, 3 XL, Pixel 3A, 3A XL, and Pixel 4, 4 XL are eligible for the update, for now.
Android 11 Features: What’s New
Here’s a list of features of the just-released Android 11 Beta:
- Custom dark mode schedules
- Conversation notifications
- Chat bubbles
- One-time permissions
- Screen recorder
- Screenshot interface
- New media controls
- Smart home controls
- Motion Sense gesture
- Wireless debugging
Custom Dark Mode Schedules
Google introduced the dark mode feature on Android 10 and it’s been great so far. However, implementing it hasn’t been perfect, as there’s no way you can schedule it.
Google has improved on that by introducing an added feature, which allows Android 11 users to schedule when their devices switch to dark mode. Now, you can either set a custom time or have your device’s dark mode turn on/off, based on the sunrise/sunset times in your time zone.
You can do that by tapping Schedule in your Dark Mode settings and then selecting the “Turn on at the custom time” option. From there, you can always change the start time and end time of the dark mode to your preferred one.
One of the features you’ll be enjoying on Android 11 devices is the dedicated conversation notifications. But, how does that work?
Messages from any messaging app, including the built-in text app, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, will appear in the dedicated conversation section at the top of the notification panel, just below the Quick Settings. From there, you’ll be able to perform some certain actions like:
- Setting the conversation as a shortcut on your Android 11 device’s home screen.
- Opening the conversation as a bubble.
- Creating a reminder for the conversation.
I’m sure you must have used the Facebook Messenger chat bubbles once or more times before. Well, a similar feature is getting a mass roll out on devices with Android 11 installed. So, expect the chat bubbles to work with all your messaging apps, including Whatsapp.
The feature was teased on the developer’s preview, and it’s now working perfectly in the just-released public beta. However, for the feature to work, developers will have to update all their apps, so that they can support the new bubbles API.
Although the one-time app permission was introduced in Android 10, it’s also coming to devices with Android 11 installed.
So, when you download the public beta version of Android 11, you’ll notice that there’s one-time permission to grant access to the microphone, location, and camera. What it means is that the permission granted will only work while you are using the app. As soon as you leave the app, it becomes revoked. You’ll have to re-approve the permission the next time you want to use the app. The purpose of the new development is to improve your digital security and privacy.
Most times, Android users always depend on third-party apps to capture screen recordings on their devices. However, there won’t be a need for that anymore, as Google has just introduced a working built-in screen recorder in Android 11.
Although the feature was briefly introduced in one of the Android 10 builds, it later disappeared. Now, that we have it in Android 11, I hope it’s going to stay when the stable version launches in the coming months.
You can access the feature by swiping down to Quick Settings and then tapping on the screen recorder icon. By doing that, you’ll also get to choose whether or not you want to record using your microphone or show touches on the screen.
Just like that of iOS, screenshots taken in Android 11 will now appear at the lower-left corner of the device’s screen. From there, you’ll see two different shortcuts for sharing and editing the screenshots.
Apart from that, you can tap on the X icon to dismiss the screenshot, that’s if you’re not interested in it anymore. Apart from the new layout which looks a bit cleaner, there’s nothing new about this feature, when you compare it to Android 10.
New Media Controls
One of the features that also made it into Android 11 beta is the upgraded media controls. The new feature will enable Android 11 users to quickly alter the output of video and audio from their devices to headphones and speakers.
You’ll get to experience that when you go to the Quick Settings of the new media player and then tap on the phone icon. However, it’s worth noting that you have to first go to the developer’s setting and enable the feature.
Smart Home Controls
Smart home control is also one of the new features that Google introduced in Android 11 beta for Pixel phones. As such, users can now see a newly added interface, when they press and hold their devices’ power button. The new interface features some shortcuts to all your credit/debit cards in Google Pay.
Android 11 beta helps you secure your cards and add your Google Pay passes, so you can have easy controls over your home devices. So, instead of the usual way, where you have to go through your smart home app, all you need is to long-press the power button and quickly have access controls over the apps, for thermostats, smart lights, plugs, and many more.
Motion Sense Gesture
One of the new features of Android 11 beta is the motion sense gesture and it will first be available for pixel users. With that, users get to have control, including pause and play, over their media playlist, with a motion sense gesture.
Wireless debugging is also one of the new features in Android 11. With this feature, developers get to send ADB commands to their Android phones from their PCs, while having the two devices connected through the home’s WiFi network.
Initially, developers only get to connect via cables for them to send the commands. Now, they can now enjoy the new feature and send the ADB command easily.