Although Google’s last week blunder should have been a clear sign that the company has something important in the pipeline, today’s Android 11 announcement took us by surprise. Not because we’re getting an early Android 11 Developer Preview, but because it’s not coming during the usual release window – March.Not that it’s a bad thing, on the contrary, now that the new Android OS is out, developers will have even more time to experiment with it. As expected, Android 11 Developer Preview is only available for Pixel devices, namely Pixel 2/XL, Pixel 3/XL, Pixel 3a/XL, and Pixel 4/XL.
Along with the first Android 11 Developer Preview, Google revealed the roadmap for the new version of the OS, and it looks like the final release is scheduled for Q3 2020, just as expected. It’s also worth noting that there will be two other Developer Preview releases until April, and then three more beta builds before the final release drops in Q3.
If you plan to download and install Android 11 Developer Preview on your Pixel phone, keep in mind that this is meant for developers. These very early Android 11 builds aren’t suitable for daily use, which is why Google is making them available by manual download and flash only.
As far as what’s new in this release, this first Android 11 Developer Preview brings enhancements to connectivity APIs to lets users take advantage of 5G speeds. New screen types have been added to let apps manage pinhole and waterfall displays.
Also, Android 11 introduces a new dedicated conversations section in the notification shade, bubbles, and the option to insert images into notification replies. Many user privacy and security improvements have been added, as well as lots of connectivity, image and camera enhancements.
Of course, since this is a very early Android 11 release, there’s a huge list of known issues that you should be aware of if you intend to use this build. If you’re a developer, you can find the factory images and OTA files on Google’s dedicated website.