here’s what we know so far

Android 11 Features

Interested in setting up the early Android 11 developer preview, but want to see if it’s worth going through the hassle first? We’ve got you covered.

We’ll go over some of the new Android 11 features and what Google’s added to our favorite operating system so far, at least until Google I/O kicks off.

New Android 11 features

This is the earliest we’ve ever seen a new build of a new Android OS, with the official developer preview kicking off in late February. There are several new features to talk about already, though, despite the OS not being finished. We’ll likely see some new features by the time Google I/O rolls around, but in the meantime, you can check out all of the newest Android 11 features right here.

Chat bubbles

Interested in Facebook Messenger-esque chat bubbles for your messaging apps? Android 11 has you covered. These bubbles were actually rumored to launch with Android 10, but it never quite happened.

With Android 11, apps can take advantage of these floating bubbles to keep your conversations on top of your screen. The apps will have to take advantage of this, obviously, but it’s something that other apps (Facebook Messenger) and other Android skins (Samsung’s One UI) have already offered. Nice to see Android get a native implementation.

Send images in quick reply

Do you like to reply to texts with reaction images and memes but wish the process could be a little quicker? One of the new Android 11 features speeds up this process by allowing for an image response right from the notification shade.

Now when you send a quick reply to a text message from a notification, you can also paste an image right into that reply box. No need to open the app, just paste your meme and get on with your day.

Better permissions

Android permissions have steadily improved over the years, and they’re continuing to get better with one of these new Android 11 features.

If an app asks for your permission for something, like, say, your location, you can deny it. If it asks again, and you deny it twice, Android will take that as you refusing to give the app your location permanently, and it will stop bothering you going forward. You’ll also be able to temporarily grant permissions for things like that, and as soon as you close the app, that permission gets revoked. That’s great for things like sharing your location or allowing access to a camera or microphone.

Biometric security improvements

Biometric security is growing very quickly on Android, after originally starting with simple fingerprint scanners. Now we have iris recognition, facial recognition, in-display fingerprint scanners, and we’ll likely see even more nuanced methods of authentication in the next few years.

With Android 11, biometric security has three levels of authenticator types: strong, weak, and device credential. That creates more granular security, and should make all of the apps on your device a little more secure. On top of that, Google has improved the biometric API interface to make it a little cleaner within Android.

Android prepares for 5G

5G is one of the next biggest changes in mobile, right alongside folding devices. Google is preparing for that with one of these new Android 11 features.

Android devices running Android 11 will be able to tell if your 5G connection is metered or unlimited. If it’s unlimited, then the phone can automatically download and present higher resolution images and videos to better match 5G’s significantly improved speeds. Other APIs will also allow easier access to checking your 5G connection speeds. Small changes, but it’s what we want to see before 5G really starts to swing.

We’ll keep you updated with other new Android 11 features as they’re discovered.

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo’s Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.

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