After something of a false start last week, Google has now made the first developer preview of its Android 11 phone operating system available to testers. You’ll need a Google Pixel 2, Pixel 3, or Pixel 4 in order to test it, though.
Google briefly made the Android 11 developer page available last week before pulling it down. At the time we wondered whether an announcement was imminent, despite this being considerably earlier than usual Google developer previews. And now we have our answer.
This update doesn’t bring that many user-facing changes, at least in this first release, but there are more changes under the hood. Better support for 5G as well as foldable phones will be positives for those looking to live life on the bleeding edge of phone technology.
New security and privacy options will also be available in this preview, allowing users to select when an app has access to their location, microphone, or camera. Currently, users can either allow or deny access, but with Android 11’s developer preview installed they can allow access just once, similar to the implementation offered in iOS. There are also plenty of changes to APIs, one of which will allow apps to create chat bubbles similar to those used by apps such as Facebook Messenger.
Google normally releases these initial developer previews in March, so it is definitely getting ahead of the game here. It isn’t clear whether that means the update will be made available to the public earlier, or if Google is just trying to avoid a mad rush at the end of the beta cycle.
Android 11 now allows one-time permissions for apps.
To grab the developer preview for your device, head over here and download the factory image. Instructions for flashing the image on your device can be found here.
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