Google has surprised the phone world with an out-of-nowhere drop for the final version of Android 11. The software update is ready to go for Google’s first-party Pixel phones, and shockingly, phones from other manufacturers as well. According to the announcement, at least some phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, and RealMe will be updated today.
Version 11 of Android, code named “Red Velvet Cake,” has been in a public beta state for several months, available to Pixel phones and a variety of other manufacturers as well, including Samsung and OnePlus. The new version of the software focuses on privacy, with the ability to grant one-time security permissions to apps instead of an all-or-nothing switch users need to dive back into the Settings menu to change. There’s also better access to secure storage.
There are a variety of other changes, notably better support for a new generation of 5G radios, more types of folding displays and camera cutouts, support for HEIF images, better phone call verification, better notifications, et cetera. Google’s Pixel phones will also get some proprietary changes, like the ability to quickly access Google Pay when long-pressing the power button, or new suggestions in the launcher.
Expect to see Android 11 rolling out to Google’s Pixel phones via an over-the-air update over the next few days, with participating manufacturers following shortly thereafter. Note that it will take months (or longer) for all current Android phones to be updated, especially if you’re using a phone that’s below the flagship level.
Google has already announced this year’s new flagship phone, the Pixel 5, though it hasn’t fully revealed the details of its hardware or sales. It’s expected to be more formally announced within a month or two, along with a 5G-packing version of the excellent budget phone the Pixel 4a. Both should be running Android 11 at launch.