Google has started to roll out Android 11 to its Pixel smartphones (Pixel 2 and newer) as well as select devices from the likes of OnePlus, Xiaomi, Realme, and Oppo. With the public beta in testing for months ahead of this milestone there aren't really any surprises to be had in the final OS release but it is still worth looking at the latest version of this hugely popular OS.
In a blog post Google summed up the philosophy of the improvements targeted in the newest release as being focussed upon "helping you get to what's important on your phone with easier ways to help you manage your conversations, connected devices, privacy, and much more". Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, goes on to neatly reveal the 11 best things about Android 11.
Burke starts with a rundown of features that are designed to aid fluid communication. Android 11 implements a dedicated space for messaging apps in the pull-down notifications section - a section you can prioritise. Elsewhere there are always on top chat bubbles available to chat app developers (as seen in Facebook Messenger for years). Last but not least screen recording lets you capture and share what is going on on your phone screen with sound from you mic, the app/device, or both.
Connected smart devices are more closely integrated into the fabric of Android 11. Long press your home button for accessing all your smart home devices in one place. Android Auto will now work wirelessly on compatible vehicles, if you don't care to plug in. Additionally Google has tweaked media playback controls for quick device switching.
More privacy and data security features arrive in Android 11. In particular, Google has introduced one-time permissions for microphone, camera and location data use, auto-resetting of permissions in unused apps, plus additional Google Play system update modules.
If you are a Pixel 2 or newer smartphone user, Google provided a few more tasty extras for organising and managing your phone.