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.
Android 11 may look like a relatively iterative release of Google's mobile operating system, at least on the surface. But we're not so sure. Android's latest update features changes large and small, some of which you can't even see, but that could have a significant impact on the platform going forward. We've compiled a list of what we think are at least 100 of the new and notable changes—a list that's only bound to grow as we near its official 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.
With Android 10, Google finally added a system-wide dark mode to its OS, but unless you want to rely on a third-party tool, there is no way to automatically schedule a theme switch on stock Android. It looks like that's bound to change, as Google wants to introduce that capability with "a future Android release," presumably version 11 of the OS.