While Google changes different aspects of Android with each new version, there's one thing all releases have in common: as soon as they go stable, they're uploaded to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to look at and work with. That's no different for Android 11, as the company has just finished uploading the new OS version's source code.
Android gives you separate volume control for media, notifications, and alarms, but Google appears to be working on adding a fourth slider to the mix. The AOSP Android 11 code suggests that the company is at least considering to add dedicated volume control for voice assistants, including but not limited to Google Assistant.
The completed version of Android 11 was released today, and it has already started rolling out to Pixel phones. OnePlus has been hard at work on its version of the update over the past few months, and now the first OxygenOS 11 Open Beta is available for the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, complete with the revamped interface that was present on previous public builds.
Every year, Google does a statue for its latest Android release shortly after it comes out. (A long time ago, they even used to be fun.) This year the company is making a socially-distant twist, leveraging its recent focus on AR experiences to bring the boring Android 11 statue into all our homes.
The first Developer Preview for Android 11 landed in February of this year, and Google has continued to iterate and add new features across several more Developer Previews and Betas. As revealed earlier this summer at the start of Google's "11 weeks of Android" promotion, the stable version of Android 11 has arrived, ready for public consumption and rolling out to Google Pixel devices.
While most companies try to hide display cutouts with wallpapers, seemingly as as something to be ashamed of, Google took the route of highlighting the Pixel 4a's pinhole cutout as a feature in its series of fun new wallpapers for the phone. Unfortunately, the latest Android 11 Beta (which the Pixel 4a just got) applies a crop to wallpapers for a new zoomed-in animation it does when entering the multitasking menu or app drawer, and that breaks all the cleverly designed wallpapers.
Google's Pixel 4a just picked up their first OTA and factory images, but that's not the only thing they're getting today. Google is also making them eligible for the Android 11 Beta Program, and lucky owners can opt-in for the latest beta release, expected to be the last before stable lands, barring any last-minute bug-fixes, which Google likes to do now.
New Android releases always bring exciting new features to the table, but every once in a while, a beloved feature gets reworked or removed altogether. That's no different for Android 11, which made it more cumbersome to grant apps the permission to install APKs, requiring a restart of the application in question up until at least Developer Preview 4. While that requirement is still present on more recent builds, the situation is now slightly improved: when apps are programmed correctly, they'll restart the latest activity, making the experience as smooth as possible.
Android may have started with the mantra that developers are allowed to do anything as long as they can code it, but things have changed over the years as security and privacy became higher priorities. Every major update over the last decade has shuttered features or added restrictions in the name of protecting users, but some sacrifices may not have been entirely necessary. Another Android 11 trade-off has emerged, this time taking away the ability for users to select third-party camera apps to take pictures or videos on behalf of other apps, forcing users to rely only on the built-in camera app.