Android 11 Beta is LIVE

Android, Google

How to Install:

What you need to be eligible for the Android 11 Beta:

  1. Google Pixel 2, 2 XL, 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, or 4 XL
  2. Your Google Account Information
  3. An Internet Connection

First, you’re going to want to go into your browser and navigate to android.com/beta. Once you’re at that webpage ensure you are signed into your Google Account. Chances are it will auto sign you into your primary account. Double-check that then scroll to the bottom of the page. Finally, look for the device you want to install the beta onto. Click the “opt-in” button.

Please take note, once you install the Android 11 Beta you cannot roll back unless you factory reset your device. Given this, and the Pixel 4 XL being my personal and primary device we will not show you the OTA or do a hands-on walkthrough.

Opt into the Android 11 Beta

Once you have clicked the “opt-in” button ensure you are on a strong wifi connection. The update hovers at around 1.4 GB. Trust me, unless you have truly unlimited data you do not want that taking up your data capacity. The update will take some time. Install the update, wait, reboot, and you’ll be good to go.

What to Expect from Android 11:

We are not expecting any groundbreaking updates this time around. Google seems to have solidified the Android formula and I am thrilled to hear this. We may be flexible and can learn our way around new operating systems easily. However, for all the family members, and friends I recommend Android to it’s nice for them to see consistency. We will get the usual privacy updates to Android, however, there are a few aspects I want to focus on.

Here is a link to the full feature set: Link

Notifications:

Notifications in Android 11 are getting a small but noticeable improvement. They will be separated into three categories: Conversations, Alerting, and Silent. With these three categories users will be better able to sort through their notifications and identify the importance of each notification. In conversations, you can even choose which conversation from which individual conversation can bypass “Do Not Disturb” mode. (via The Verge)

Bubbles:

Some of your conversations can even appear in “chat head” style bubbles. This mean your conversations with friends in Facebook, Whatsapp, Google Messenger, and other supported apps will be floating windows. They hover around your screen and will be in easy access for when you want to interact with them.

This will be useful for keeping track of your conversations and having easy access to them. Integrating this feature into the Android operating system will also help with consuming system resources (I can assume) and ensuring all apps are behaving properly. My only worry is using this feature on a smaller screened device, a lower-end device. I remember using Chat Heads on a 4.7 inch screen and it was not always pleasant. I hope it is scaled properly.

Music Playback and ScreenShots:

Music Playback will now live in your quick settings. This is a nice addition because the playback notification would often take up a lot of unnecessary room when I did not need it. My problems with this are the icon seems to have shrunk, and I worry people will no longer able to find the settings. Screenshots will also live in a similar place. (Via The Verge)

Conclusion:

Aside from security updates, those are the meat and potatoes of the Android 11 Beta. My opinion on this is I am happy that having the latest version of Android is no longer becoming a do or die situation. The concern should now be moved to security patches, which are easier to implement, and ensuring the manufacturer is providing stable updates to your device. If you want to try out the latest features then download and install the update. With that being said, I don’t think there are updates that warrant the stability risk.

This is the first time in a long time I am not immediately tempted to download an Android Beta which makes me very happy. It means enthusiasts (like ourselves) can focus on what feature sets we want on our device and have more freedom with how regularly many devices get security patches. Having the latest version right away is no longer a do or die situation and that is important for Android as a whole.