Top New Features Introduced With Android 11
Finally! The new Android public beta is officially here! Google just released the first public beta of Android 11, bringing convenient features for developers and users to enjoy. If you have a Pixel 2 or newer Google Pixel phone, you can access the first beta. If you don’t, any Android fan can expect the bonus tools to come to their phones soon.
Here are some of the great features Google continues to impress its users with in Android 11:
As soon as you’re done installing your Android 11, whether it’s the beta version or official release, long-press the power button on your phone for a few surprises. The quick controls displayed on the Pixel gives you power control options and provides shortcuts to your Google Play cards and boarding passes at the top. Below that, you’ll find quick controls for smart home devices.
Your phone will immediately pick a few devices linked to your Google Assistant. For example, if you have a Nest thermostat or Nest videobell app, you will be able to view the live stream from the doorbell directly on the screen, without having to open the Nest app, which can slow down the phone once opened. You can easily add or remove smart home devices from this grid by tapping on the menu button and selecting add or edit controls.
As it sounds, it is basically where one will be able to suspend certain social media chats in little bubbles scattered around your display.
This feature was set to be released as part of Android 10 but Google withdrew it at the last minute. They are quite similar to the Facebook Messenger’s “chat heads” feature. When activated, a small avatar (bubble) on your screen will be visible no matter what app you’re using.
The intention of this is to keep some of your more important chats easily available in your line of sight. Simply tap on the bubble and it will open a small window for you to read and send new messages in that thread without fully opening the app. You can drag the bubble around the screen or drag it to the bottom to delete it.
To use bubbles for a conversation, there will be a small bubble icon in the bottom-right corner of the notification. Tapping it will turn on the bubble feature for that thread. You can also activate the bubbles by long-pressing its notification and mark it as a priority. This will turn on the bubbles and allow the conversation to break through DND (Do Not Disturb) and ensure you won’t miss any messages.
App Suggestions Replace the App Dock
The Notifications will also be getting a revamp as well. When you swipe down from the top, you’ll be met with a specific section based around social media and your chat apps. The likes of Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. will all be in the top section. Underneath, you’ll have the rest of your notifications such as the email, sports apps, etc.
Initially, Android made suggestions in the app drawer that one would use apps depending on the time of day and other factors. In Android 11, there will be a row of app suggestions on the bottom of the screen where your main app dock would normally be displayed.
The apps have a glowing border around them, which frequently change when you return to your home screen as you use your phone. You can long-press on any of the app icons to pin the suggestion to the home screen.
If you want, you can block apps from showing up as suggestions if you don’t want to see Gmail even though you use a different email app. To access the app suggestion, you can long-press on your home screen and select Home Settings then Suggestions. You can then control suggestions in the app drawer and on the home screen or block apps from showing up on the list.
Fancier Music Controls
Instead of playback controls looking like a pending notification, they’re now placed in the Quick Settings panel at the top of the screen. When you’re using them, you can set where the music will be playing. For example, if you’re using wireless earbuds and a Nest Hub (Google home device), you can easily switch between the two devices with a few taps.
The feature may not appear when you begin playing music because it’s hidden. To access it, you have to enable Developer Options on your phone by opening the Settings app and going to ‘About Phone’. Scroll to the bottom of the screen where you’ll find the Build Number. Tap on it until you see a small notification show up that congratulates you for being a new developer.
You’ll then have to go into Developer Options in Settings > System. Once there, find ‘Media resumption’, turn it on and then reboot your phone. When you start playing music, the new media controls will be available.
Built-In Screen Recorder and New Screenshot Functions
Even though there are third-party apps that have the same function, it is better to have a native one that is not littered with ads and watermarks. There will also be new extended screenshot functions like the ones seen in the likes of OnePlus and Samsung.
The Screen Record tool can be found in the Quick Settings panel after installing Android 11. If it’s not visible, tap on the pencil icon to add it to your panel. Simply tap on the ‘Screen Record’ icon and select whether you want your microphone to record audio and if you want your touch interactions to be highlighted in the video. To stop recording, tap the ‘Screen Record’ notification. The video will then be saved to your camera roll where you can edit and share the recording as you please.
Other features to look forward to the new Android 11 include an improved dark-mode feature which will be compatible with more apps. The parent Android 11 will also give developers the chance to monitor whether their phone will take internet connection from Wi-Fi, 4G or 5G so as to optimise the app accordingly.