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First Android 11 Developer Preview Focuses on Privacy with One-Time Permissions and More

Google Pixel 4 in Tree
Justin Duino / Review Geek

We’re still months away from the official launch of the next version of Android, but Google has just announced the release of the first Android 11 Developer Preview. Although you might be interested to know what changes will be coming to your device in the future, this build is primarily targeted at developers. However, that hasn’t stopped Google from dropping in some user-facing privacy features.

What stands out prominently is the announcement of a new one-time permission. With it, users will have even more granular control over the most sensitive data on their Android devices. Instead of letting an app know the user’s location all of the time or only while the app is open, users can choose to give it access or not every time they open the app.

Project Mainline is being expanded in Android 11. Google introduced the Google Play System Updates in Android 10 as a way to push out security fixes and more without a significant firmware upgrade that needs to be vetted by manufacturers and carriers before being pushed to customers. 12 new modules will be added with Android 11 that includes one to improve permissions.

There’s no promise that it will be available when Android 11 makes it to customer’s devices, but the company is adding platform support for secure storage. With mobile phones would be able to store and retrieve verifiable identification documents such as mobile drivers licenses.

Of course, Google is also continuing its work on ensuring that Android stays at the forefront of innovations. To do this, the company continues its work on adding 5G support, adding support for new screen types (for example, hole punches like those found on the Galaxy S20 lineup and “waterfall” displays), and improved messaging. About the last bit, Android 11 will have a dedicated conversation section in the notification shade and the ability to paste images into app “Bubbles.”

To wrap things up, Android 11 adds support for HEIF images, the ability for apps to mute phone vibrations while using the camera, bokeh modes that can be enabled in third-party apps, STIR/SHAKEN verification during call screenings, and much more.

As with previous Developer Previews, Google does not recommend installing this build of Android 11 on your everyday device. Once the update is more stable and closer to primetime, the company will release beta builds that consumers can sign up to test through Android Beta.

As seen below, Google plans to release new Developer Preview builds for the next couple of months. It looks like Beta releases should begin rolling out in May (likely during Google I/O 2020) with the final builds being sent out in the fall, before the company’s next hardware event.

Android 11 Beta Timeline

Developers looking to go ahead and install the Android 11 Developer Preview can download it right now from Google and manually flash it to their Pixel 2/2 XL​, ​Pixel 3/3 XL​, ​Pixel 3a/3a XL​, ​or Pixel 4/4 XL​ device. They can also learn about the new APIs and technical bits on the Android Developers preview blog.

Justin Duino Justin Duino
Justin Duino is the Reviews Director at Review Geek (and LifeSavvy Media as a whole). He has spent the last decade writing about Android, smartphones, and other mobile technology. In addition to his written work, he has also been a regular guest commentator on CBS News and BBC World News and Radio to discuss current events in the technology industry. Read Full Bio »