Google’s annual I/O summit got canceled in the current COVID-19 crisis. At this time of the year, Google unveils its software updates for the Android ecosystem in its annual developer conference. Despite the event getting canceled, Google is on track to release the new Android 11 as it finally releases the first Android 11 beta for Pixel phones. Android 11 beta features include a new notification system along with a built-in screen recorder.
Android 11 Beta Features
At its infancy, Android 11 Beta is currently buggy and unoptimized, but it gives us a glimpse of features that are brewing inside the new Android 11.
Phones getting Android 11 Beta Softwares
At first, Google has released the Android 11 beta for recent Pixel phones: Pixel 4 and 4 XL, Pixel 3a and 3a XL, Pixel 3 and 3 XL and Pixel 2 and 2 XL.
Of course, smartphone companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus are joining in on the fun. They are releasing the Android 11 betas for their latest flagship phones as well.
Android 11 now has a grouping system in its notifications panel with three distinct categories: Messaging, Alerting notifications, and silent notifications. Message alerts from SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, and other messaging platforms will surface in this group. In Alerting notifications, more common notifications from apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc will pop up. As for silent notifications, notifications from the system, weather apps will lurk around.
Smart Home Controls in Power Menu
In Android 11, long pressing the power button now gives you additional options for GPay payment system, along with smart home controls. So, aside from the usual power off, restart options, users can access their smart devices like cameras and thermostats in an instant.
Until now, screen recording was possible in Android with third-party apps. Many smartphone companies like OnePlus and Xiaomi had built-in screen recorders in their Android skins. But now, vanilla Android 11 will have built-in screen recording.
Media Control Widget
Android 11 also has a new media control widget that is embedded in the quick settings drop-down menu. The widget will support colors that match the base color of the album art. It’s also easier now to switch the output device, whether it be phone speaker, headphones, or TV casting.
Voice Access, Advanced controls for your Phone
There already is a basic voice control feature with Google Assistant in Android phones. But, the new Voice access feature enables finer control by using voice to select elements on the phone screen. With this feature, users can see numbers on different parts of the screen associated with app icons, or buttons like send, delete, or X to close anything. Users can just say the number to execute the command. It is also possible to write messages, tweet, view photos, or launch an app with Voice access.
Android 11 has even more small and big feature updates that incrementally improve performance and user experience for Android smartphones.
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