We are now a mere one release away from Android 12's first beta releases, but big new changes are still landing, like a wide rollout of the hidden "silky home" redesign, new animations, and a bubbly, rounded appearance to many UI elements. In fact, Android 12 is shaping up to be one of the biggest visual updates to Android in years, so let's take a look at all the new features — both in the recent Developer Preview 3 release and in Android 12 overall — that you can look forward to your phone getting with Android 12.
Android 11 has been out for a while now, and though things might look pretty similar coming from Android 10, there are plenty of changes inside, from revamped privacy and security to partitioning "conversations" into their own new notification category. Now that you've had some time to play with this latest version and you've read our review, here's the Android Police changelog for Android 11.
With Android 11 launching just last week, many phone-makers are rushing to get their various versions of the platform out into users hands for testing in beta programs. Samsung is no exception. In a very early and surprising move, Samsung has already pushed the One UI 3.0 pre-beta to a a few select partnered developers. Here's the official changelog for the beta.
We've known that Android 11 plans to integrate smart home controls into the long-press power menu, building on the wallet functionality it already added, and we've even seen mockups for what it will look like. But today we've received a report of the change live and in the wild on a Pixel running Android 11 DP4, and it turns out, anyone on Android 11 can enable it by sideloading the latest Google Home app release.
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.
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.
Switching on the airplane mode is a quick and easy way to disengage your phone from any network. Unfortunately, it also kills Bluetooth, so if you were listening to music, you'd have to turn Bluetooth back on and reconnect to your headphones or speakers. It looks like Google wants to change this all-in airplane mode behavior in Android 11 R by automatically leaving Bluetooth on when you're listening to music.
Project Mainline was one of the most welcome improvements in Android 10 and it's already credited for delivering some valuable security patches and subtle enhancements. With Android 11, the role of Project Mainline will be growing even more substantial and will introduce 12 new modules that will open up even more potential for Android to improve without the need for full blown firmware updates.
We're always on the lookout for what's to come with the future of Android, and if you're a developer, you may want to check out Android Studio right now. The Android R Preview SDK just appeared in the SDK Manager, meaning there's likely some new stuff to poke through.