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17

Every new Android 11 feature we've spotted so far

It's that time of the year. Android 11 is here — or, at least, the first early developer previews are. We're continually combing through these new versions looking for changes, willing canaries in the Android coal mines so that you, our readers, can see what's new without having to actually risk installing it on your own phone (if you don't want to). Now that we've had some time to look around, here's everything new we've spotted.

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68

Verizon launches its own Android TV set-top box, called Stream TV (Update: Netflix and Prime Video support)

Today, Verizon introduced its rumored Android TV-powered set-top box. The Verizon Stream TV is available to order directly from the company's site. Other than the signature red checkmark on top, the product is unbranded, and we haven't confirmed the manufacturer yet (though one source tells us it's very similar to Xiaomi's Mi Box).

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8

Polestar introduces Precept concept EV sedan running Android Automotive

Polestar, the performance-focused subsidiary of Volvo, introduced its latest concept vehicle at this year's Geneva Motor Show. The Polestar Precept is an all-electric sedan designed to showcase the company's "next-generation HMI" (human-machine interface) powered by Android Automotive and the extensive use of sustainable materials in its design.

The Precept name is particularly fitting considering the word's denotation as an example intended to set a standard going forward and the company's plans to move forward with sustainability and innovation as core values. While this particular vehicle may never make it to production, Polestar wants to embody these values in its future products.

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5

Android 11 makes it easier to discover DNS server problems

It can be difficult to troubleshoot why an internet connection isn't working, especially on mobile operating systems like Android. The DNS server your device is using could be the culprit, especially with many public networks blocking the ability to use custom servers. Android 11 now provides a more detailed explanation for why a network connection doesn't work, at least with DNS-related problems.

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13

Here are all the little changes in Android 11 Developer Preview 1

The first developer preview of Android 11 is here, and even though it's just the first of many pre-release builds, there are still a ton of new features and changes. We've already written dedicated posts for most of the visible updates in Android 11 ⁠— you can see all of our coverage here ⁠— but there are also some smaller tweaks that aren't quite substantial enough for several paragraphs of explanations.

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6

Android 11 developer preview 1 adds support for soft reboots

Major Android updates always come with a host of new features and functionality, but there are countless other changes taking place behind the scenes that set the stage for more significant improvements down the road. Among the additions in Android 11, most of us will probably never care about rebooting userspace, but it may be a first step for several other bigger enhancements to come.

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20

LG G8 ThinQ Android 10 rollout continues with US unlocked model (Update: T-Mobile)

LG's tendency to update its devices incredibly slowly has become something of a running gag in the tech community, especially after the company unveiled a 'Software Upgrade Center' last year that didn't change matters much. It seems like the company's current flagship is receiving Android 10 in a timely manner, but don't get excited yet.

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64

Many still affected by long-standing Android 10 update issue that breaks Pixel sensors

Last year, after the Android 10 update first started rolling out for Pixel owners, there were a handful of reports that device sensors — things like the ambient light sensor for screen brightness, orientation sensor for auto-rotation, and Active Edge sensor — stopped working. A workaround was found for those with unlocked bootloaders, and many of those affected were part of the root and ROM crowd, but almost six months later, many phones are still affected, and those with Verizon-branded, locked devices are still simply out of luck.

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31

Essential will let you flash Android 11 on the PH-1 thanks to generic system images

The Essential Phone was one of a few devices that managed to keep up with Google's Pixel handsets when it comes to system updates, but with the company behind shut down after issues with its quirky GEM phone and the sexual harassment allegations surrounding its founder, we assumed development was completely halted. That doesn't seem to be the case just yet, though — Essential has published a Github repository aimed at making the phone fully compatible with Google's Android 11 generic system images (GSI).

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132

Weekend poll: Are you going to try the Android 11 previews this year?

The first Android 11 Developer Preview landed just last week, bringing the adventurous an early taste at Google's (currently incomplete) vision of the platform's future. Even with a handful of known issues and limited device compatibility, we know our readers: Some of you have probably already installed it. Whether you're waiting for a more stable release, or just hoping your phone gets in on the later betas, are you going to try the Android 11 previews this year?

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