Google has released the first developer preview of Android 11 — the next version of its mobile operating system — with a slew of new features including some upgrades to security, privacy, biometric capabilities, messaging and more.
Though this is only the first version of Android 11 and it is just a developer preview — meaning it’s intended for developers to begin fine-tuning their apps to work with the new OS and may not yet be stable enough for regular users — the focus on security and privacy appears evident.
The first major change that will be coming with Android 11 is a change to the app permissions system, with users now able to only grant single-session permissions. This means that when prompted by an app to grant certain permissions — for example, access to the device’s location, camera, or contacts — users will now be able to grant them for just that session of use in the app, knowing they will be revoked once they are finished using it.
Another update comes in the form of an improved ability for developers to add more advanced biometric features for their third-party apps. This change means more apps should soon support the new Face Unlock biometric security feature — which uses 3D face-scanning to authenticate users — that was launched last year with the Pixel 4.
Finally, there is also an upgrade to Android’s secure storage capabilities, with users now able to store important documents, including their driver’s license, securely on their Android device.
Aside from the above mentioned security-focused improvements, the first Android 11 developer preview also showcases some changes that are coming to messaging. Most notably, users will now be able to use floating chat bubbles to read and reply to messages, a feature that will be familiar to anyone who has used Facebook’s ‘chat heads’ feature in its popular Messenger app.
In addition to chat bubbles, users will also be able to view and engage in entire conversations in the notification shade, without having to actually open the messages app. The new upgrade to the notification shade’s messaging capabilities will also allow users to send images directly from it as well.
As this is only a developer preview and requires a full device reset to install, users that want to try out these new features may want to wait until the first public beta is released some time in May, around Google I/O. The full release of Android 11 is expected to launch in Q3 of this year.