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.
Platforms live or die on the backs of developers, without which we wouldn't have apps or services to run on them. Microsoft had that figured out years ago, and Google has learned all about it when it comes to Android. Now Google is stepping up its efforts when it comes to developing for (and on) Chrome OS, highlighting Chrome OS's new customizable Linux terminal, while also announcing support for the Android Emulator on select Chromebooks and a whole new website for ChromeOS developers, plus a handful of smaller changes.
Android has offered native autofill since Android 9 Pie, but despite that being an official method, actually filling out passwords and addresses is sometimes wonky, and phones often need a few seconds to recognize password entry fields. Google wants to improve that experience with Android 11 and has introduced a new autofill method that integrates with your keyboard, be it Gboard or a third-party app.
In our modern world where anyone could be a hacker (even a Florida teen), it's important to keep our data secure. Google has been pushing its 2-Step Verification program as a way to make sure it's really you logging into your account. Now, the company has announced that 2FA will be mandatory for new users of the Google Play Console soon and existing users with high-risk permissions late this year.
Amazon is working on something called "Alexa for Apps," a new feature that will better integrate the company's smart digital assistant with the apps on your phone via voice commands. And we don't just mean asking Alexa to start an app, we mean further passing details from your question or command to the app itself.
'Web wrappers,' or web applications haphazardly packaged into native apps for distribution on app stores, have existed on Android for over a decade. Google created a new method for converting web apps into native apps last year, with the introduction of Trusted Web Activities, and now Microsoft has updated its PWABuilder tool to take advantage of newer web features.
Google tried to sneak scoped storage into Android 10, but developers weren't having it. This more restrictive (and secure) method of managing your internal storage is coming back in Android 11, but there will be a new "all files access" permission. Or rather, there was supposed to be. Google has updated its support page to clarify that Android 11 apps won't be able to use that permission until 2021.
Android 11 Beta 2 officially lands today. For developers, that means we've reached a milestone called "Platform Stability," so everything they need to care about when it comes to making apps compatible is now final — the platform won't change before the stable release in Q3. For consumers, that means there's only one more beta before Android 11 is formally released, and we'll probably see a few more features and tweaks in this latest version.
Flutter is Google's cross-platform application framework that allows developers to create responsive apps for Android, iOS, and even macOS. The toolset has already been used by countless applications, including the mobile Stadia app, and now Google is teaming up with Ubuntu Linux to bring Flutter apps to desktop Linux.
With every big new OS version there are countless under-the-hood upgrades that will go unnoticed by regular users but could have a positive impact on their experience. Android 11 will be no different, and we've spotted one such small but potentially important new feature in Google's developer documentation for the upcoming release. Starting in Android 11, apps will be able to grant per-process network access.