Android 11

By: Nick Gambino

Android 11 has seen various iterations of betas over the past few months but now it’s ready for an official rollout to a number of smartphones running Android. That includes the Google Pixel, OnePlus Xiaomi, OPPO and realme phones.

While you’d expect a ton of new features, the likes of which have never been seen in a Google OS, the company has opted for a different approach. They seem to have largely focused on sprucing up what already exists. Android OSes have added a lot of functionality and bells and whistles over the years, and now they’re ready to make it easier for you to use.

“The latest release is all about helping you get to what’s important on your phone with easier ways to help you manage your conversations, connected devices, privacy, and much more,” Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, said in a blog post announcing Android 11.

The main thing users will see is a cleaned-up, more manageable way to track your conversations. This is actually pretty cool because it allows you to aggregate messages from across the vast messaging landscape. If you’re using numerous messaging apps like WhatsApp, Android Messages, Facebook Messenger, etc., you’ll see these message notifications in a single location.

A floating bubble allows you to answer messages without having to leave whatever app you’re in, making multi-tasking a lot more efficient. You can answer quickly and easily and even prioritize contacts and conversations so they show up on the lock screen.

Another feature that accompanies Android 11 is the long-awaited built-in screen recording. For those familiar with iOS, you might be wondering why it took so long for Android to add screen recording when you’ve been able to record everything on your iPhone screen for some years. I’m not sure why it took them so long to add this coveted feature, but I do know this is something I can use to shut up my die-hard Android friends who like to trash the iPhone any chance they get.

Other newbies include enhanced permission settings, better media player controls as well as some general house cleaning to make things run better.