Typically, with every single new version of Android, we’ll get an early look at it in an alpha or beta release. Then we’ll dig into it, find the coolest new features, and then share it with you guys.
This year with Android 11, those earlier builds were honestly a little bit underwhelming like the Alpha builds were not super feature-rich, and they weren’t ready. But now that we’re getting towards that time of year where we were supposed to have Google i/o which was of course cancelled but now that we’re getting to that time the beta builds that are coming out especially this first one is a lot more close to final and there’s some good stuff in here.
So we’re going to dive in and take a look now keep in mind Android as just as a whole is a lot more well-baked more mature than it was a couple of years ago. So a couple of years ago an a version update like this could be a whole visual overhaul this isn’t a visual overhaul anymore; this is a lot more tweaking and lot more fine-tuning. But there is still some cool stuff and some good features here, so that’s we’re going to take a look at and yeah so this is a top 5 new features in Android 11.
Number Five is the updated pixel launcher. So this has been my favorite launcher. I guess on any Android phone for a couple of years now, anytime I get a new phone, I try to make the home screen feel kind of like a pixel. but they have tweaked some stuff here, so they let me turn auto rotation on, on the home screen which corrects me if I’m wrong that wasn’t enabled before so you can just turn your phone sideways like a tablet and use it like that right away.
I don’t think I ever would use my phone like this on the home screen I rarely turned it that way anyway.so it’s cool I don’t think that was enabled Before. Then there’s now a new option for your bottom row of apps to be app suggestions, so basically it moves everything up a row. Then that whole new bottom row is suggested apps open on your phone based on learned behaviors. You can pin a suggested app and place it down there if you think it should be there permanently, and there’s also an option in settings to block an app from ever showing up there, so check the box if you don’t want it ever to be Suggested.
This is kind of neat to me if those suggestions get really good, but I’m not a huge fan of the idea of my home screen being variable. I feel like they should stay locked in place, so I have quick access to everything. Now inside the app drawer, they let you have that top row as suggestions that’s cool. I’ll leave it like that; it’s been like that for years.
But yeah, I think I’m probably not going to use that option. Then the app switcher is also a little bit different huge cards still. Still, now you get an app screenshot button, a share button, and a select button to select text within the app, and you now lose the extra pulldown up to get into the app drawer, and there’s some small new animations did you catch that. You can see the wallpaper shifts a bit when you pull the notification bar down, and it also shifts when you pull up into the app drawer. it’s subtle; it’s super subtle, but that’s nice.
Alright, so number four is the new media controls up at the top. Now this is an option that’s not enabled by default, and I suspect that’s because it’s a bit buggy and incomplete, but when you do go into the developer settings and enable it. It puts this little colorized media widget at the top of your quick settings pulldown. I think this is sweet. it’s like an Android eyes version of the iPhone’s quick settings media toggle, and since it’s at the top, it means you never have to scroll very far to pause whatever music or podcast you’re listening to.
Now, as I said, it is a bit buggy, but you can have more than one open at once, but it doesn’t yet work with every single app like it doesn’t work with YouTube yet and also sometimes the playback scrubber doesn’t Work. But generally, I’m a big fan of this feature you can also quickly toggle playback devices.
So if you have headphones or speakers paired stuff like that, you can quickly get to that and the little mini-player the color of it is always going to match the album art of whatever you’re listening to. So again, very subtle, but that’s nice.
Alright, number three-voice access or voice control. Basically, it’s an accessibility feature.so not everyone’s going to use it. But I feel like anything that improves accessibility on a phone this much could be used by anyone basically. And what gets this good it’s worth it, so here’s how it works. So the voice access feature itself is not new; you can grab it from the Play store.
It shows up in the menus of your phone, and when you enable it in this new Android beta, it is controlling the phone with your voice. The best improvement here is instead of just saying the number corresponding to what you want to press, you can also say the name of the action, and it’s gotten good at responding .open real a pro, it’s pretty okay.
So number two, the power button hold, which is usually to like turn off the phone or reset, gets even more functionality. Now I’m not sure why they chose the power button hold for this stuff other than just giving quick access things that weren’t originally quick. But here we are so now when you press and hold the power button instead of just getting shut down restart and screenshot you get all those things plus a shortcut to Google pay and whatever other cards and passes like boarding passes you have.
Which is broken right now in this beta and then also a bunch of smart home toggles, and I happen to have some compatible smart home stuff that I can control so I can turn on my smart lights on and off. They work pretty quickly it seems like .and nest thermostat also worked quickly and easily, and you can even preview nest cameras now? I don’t know if putting them here in the power button long-press menu is what I expected or what most users will expect to find here. But I’m cool with it.
Side note, if you aren’t, you can go into the system settings under the power menu and take away the things that you don’t care about having here.
Then number one, the biggest new change in yet another Android update, is a new notification shade classic Android updates.so in Android 11, the notifications get separated into three categories; there are conversations alerting notifications and silent notification. So conversations are for messaging. Basically, so text messages Twitter dm’s or whatever other apps end up supporting this, I imagine slack and other messaging apps.
Then alerting notifications is all the standard stuff. That’s where you’d have them pile up normally, and then silent notifications are the ones that are persistent happening in the background more background stuff like whether or Google now cards. If it also got these more jelly animations, they’re pretty sloppy actually at the moment in this beta, but I think they can clean them up and they’ll look nice .and that’s the real main change here.
there’s also some other little things like you can do bubble notifications now. So basically, chat heads are being supported for messaging apps. This is the thing you can turn on and off in the Settings. I was never really a huge fan of chat heads, so I’m keeping it off, and then there’s also a new fancy screen on and off animation .see if there’s a lot of little things definitely little things, and that is it for android 11.
My Favorite Android 11 Feature Is?
My favorite new feature of these is definitely the new media controls up in the top nice little compact widget up here because I’m always listening I feel like – something music or podcast. But I’m curious to let me know in the comments section well your favorite feature of these five is now at the end of the day the unanswered question is when will you get this update like when will you try this new stuff.
Because I’m testing it right now on my pixel 4, and that’s what you’d expect is a pixel to get it, and there’s a couple of other pixel models that can download it and test it right. Now some people are literally daily a Miss beta. But there’s no way to know when a Samsung phone HTC phone a Motorola phone and one plus phone are all going to get it when the carriers allow it.
So I don’t know maybe if you want to guarantee that you get these latest features on your phone you have to have a pixel basically, and that’s the way it’s been for a little while, .but other than that. that’s about all we know that’s the top 5 features in Android 11.
if you have any questions, feel free to drop them below…
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