We knew that Android 11 was going to bring App Suggestions to the Pixel Launcher, based on reports from a handful of folks that got the update early, but we didn't actually know how that would work in practice. Now that we've had a chance to play with it, here are all the details. In short: It's pretty snazzy.
The Android 11 Beta is now official, and the era of Developer Previews are over. While Android 11 isn't "done," the switch to betas is a sort of milestone for stability as we approach a final release. There are still risks, but Google's transition to a beta branding means you probably shouldn't run into any serious deal-breaking bugs — though there's still some risk. Part of this change also means you don't need to manually install Android 11 via ADB, like you had to with prior Developer Preview releases. In fact, getting it on your Pixel phone is a snap, and here's how to do it.
After several delays, the Android 11 Beta is officially landing today, together with a formal announcement of Android 11's key features and "themes." While you're probably already familiar with many of the new release's features, Google has a few new ones to reveal with this release, with a new set of logical groupings for each.
With Chat Heads, Facebook Messenger found a nifty way to let you juggle multiple conversations without having to jump back and forth between apps. Since their introduction in 2013 (yep, those bubbles are that old), Facebook has so far relied on a custom overlay solution. But with the latest beta, Messenger is switching to Android 11’s native Bubbles API, though not a whole lot is going to change for end-users.
We still don't know why Android 11 Beta 1 seems to have started rolling out to some folks before even the postponed Beta Launch Show, but features in the new version of Android have already been spotted, including some new options for the Pixel Launcher's app suggestions feature. And when Beta 1 lands, it looks like you'll even be able to set app suggestions to replace your persistent bottom row of apps in the Pixel Launcher.
There have already been several Developer Previews of Android 11, and Google planned to release the first beta-quality build during an online 'Beta Launch Show' on June 3rd. That event was cancelled last week, due to widespread protests in the United States, but that hasn't stopped Google from rolling out the first Android 11 Beta to some Pixel owners — perhaps unintentionally.
Google decided some time ago that the power button on Android phones could be useful for quick access to commonly-used features. An iOS-style wallet was added to the Pixel in March so you can switch between payment cards or bring up travel passes and loyalty cards when you need them, and next on the list is smart home controls. Evidence of this arrived with Android 11's developer previews, but freshly leaked documentation now shows us what the final product is going to look like.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Android 11's scheduled June 3rd launch event has been cancelled. Google calls it a delay, but the reality is that whatever plans Google had for the launch have now been overshadowed by a national spread of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota earlier this week. While Google did not explicitly name the protests as the reason for the delay, the implication of the tweet, embedded below, was obvious.
Notification management has always been the feature that Android absolutely nails, and we've already covered that Google continues improving it in Android 11 with the addition of a conversations class. It bundles real-time, bi- or multidirectional communication at the top of the notification shade. We've now also noticed that these conversations notifications offer a slew of new long-press options that help you manage them. The long-press menu for regular notifications remains unchanged, though.
Motorola used to be almost unrivaled for quick updates while under Google's guardianship, but that hasn't been true for many years now. These days, it usually provides just one update, but that would have been a bit unreasonable for a $1,500 device. The company today announced that its Razr foldable phone is getting the Android 10 update starting today, with a second Android 11 update also confirmed down the line.