Android 11 hands-on: all the features!

(upbeat music) – The beta for the nextversion of Android, which is Android 11, is available for Pixelphones starting today.

Now, a bunch of Android 11has already leaked, of course, because Google, but it's official now.

So I wanna get into whatthe new features are.

Now, overall, my take is that Android is a mature operating system, which means that the fundamentals are really not gonna change that much.

There are a few new important features but the context here is thatAndroid already does a lot.

And so a lot of the features aren't necessarily about doing new things, but helping you makesense of all of the things that Android already does.

One of the biggest jobs thata mature operating system has is managing complexity.

So here's a question, how well does Android 11 manage all of the thingsthat Android does? So to start, every version of Android messes with notifications.

And I'm actually notcomplaining about this because notifications are ahuge source of complexity.

And I much prefer theyear-over-year changes that Google tries to makewith Android to improve it than the way that Apple does things with the iPhone, which is to almost never changeanything about notifications.

See, notifications went from a way for you to see your text messages into this nightmare, catch-all of everything.

News, and media controls, and thirsty apps tryingto get you to re-engage with their content, and alerts that apps are using your background location.

And (sighs) it's just a lot.

So in Android 11, Google is separatingout your notifications into three really clearand distinct sections with big, obvious labels.

There are Conversations, Alerting notifications, and Silent notifications.

And the new section here is Conversations, which separates out thenotifications from your chat apps into their own section at the top, and that lets you do a bunch of things with those notifications.

The first thing is you canbubble those notifications, which turns them into theselike bubble chat heads that sit on the top of other apps.

You might have seen it inapps like Facebook Messenger, where there's this head floating around, you can put it wherever you want, you tap on it, and itopens up the conversation.

That's now going to become available to any chat app on Android.

And by default, that's just gonna show like the whole chat upinside little window, but developers can customizeit for it if they want.

The other thing that theConversations lets you do is you can long press on them, and you can mark a person's conversation inside a chat app as priority.

And what that means isthey're gonna be able to break through yourdo not disturb settings.

And also when you look atyour little notification tray at the top of your screen, you're gonna see their face instead of just the icon for the app.

There are a few other newthings with notifications, so you can more easily control where silent notifications show up.

You can keep them fromshowing up in your status bar or on your lock screen.

You can easily switch an app from alerting notificationto silent notification by long pressing on it, bringing up some options.

If you wanna get an appinto a Conversations though, you gotta wait for the developer to update it to support that.

Google also took what used tobe a really weird hacky thing and they made it official.

You can go into your Settings and find your Notification history.

So in case you accidentallydismiss notification, you can go to Settings and find it again.

You also get a few more controls over how do not disturb works that lets you customize which apps are able to break through do not disturb, in addition to thosepriority conversations.

So there is one other thing to talk about with notifications.

You used to have media playback control in your notification shade, and Google's now moving thatup into the quick settings.

So it's sort of part ofthe notification shade, but sort of not, anyway, it's up there at the top now, and when you expand it down, there's gonna be a littlebutton that you can press, and when you press it, it will let you choose where your audio goes, Bluetooth headphones, or speaker or wherever.

So that's notifications.

The next interaction zonethat Google has beefed up for Android 11 is the power menu.

It's the thing that you get when you long press the powersleep wake button thing.

It has your usual poweroptions like before, Emergency, Power off, Restart.

There is lockdown but unfortunately, it's hidden under a three dot menu.

Underneath that are yourGoogle Wallet passes.

So your bank cards andyour boarding passes if you ever get to go on a plane again, that's all stuff that we've seen before.

What's new is that Google is putting smart home controlbuttons underneath that here.

So it's sort of like what the iPhone does with home controls and control center.

But on Android, it's in this power menu.

You can customize whatbuttons show up here, you can just tap on stuffto turn lights on and off, you can drag your fingerto change brightness.

You can also just long press to go in and see more options and so on.

This section is poweredby the Google Home app.

And that's good becauseit's one less thing that you have to set up.

But it does mean that I thinkthat different companies are gonna do differentthings with this power menu.

So if you buy a Samsung phone, I would expect to see Samsung Pay and Samsung Smart Homecontrols in the section here.

So that's notifications and power.

There's a couple otherzones to talk about.

There's the home screen, and one of the things you can do here is replace your dot with suggested appsfrom Android, you know, contextual guesses of whatyou're gonna want to open next.

And I've had it on andI don't really love it.

These guesses at what appI'm gonna want to open usually aren't really that accurate.

There's also the multitasking screen or you might call it the recent screen, and there's three newbuttons on the bottom here.

So if you tap screenshot, it pulls a screenshot of the app that's front most in multitasking.

You can tap Select, and it will show you what text is selectable to directlycopy in your clipboard.

Or you can tap Share, and it'll grab a screenshotof that front most app and bring up the Sharesheet automatically.

Speaking of screenshots, when you take one, it nolonger goes into notifications, it creates this little interface down in the lower left hand corner where you can tap Share or Edit.

It's just like the waythat the iPhone does it.

So those are the major zones, notifications, power menu, home screen, and the new recent screen, and all of them are designedto help you make sense of all the features thatAndroid is now throwing at you.

And I've got a whole theoryabout how it relates to iOS and the iPad and desktops, and it's all too much for this video, we have a lot more featuresof Android 11 to go through, so let's keep going.

So location permissions aregetting stricter in Android 11.

From now on, apps can onlyask for three different kinds.

One time, while the app isopen, or just straight up deny.

That one time thing isnew and it's something that the iPhone already has.

Now, if an app really, really wants constantbackground permission, it needs to send you deepinto Android settings where you turn on permanent access there.

Also, if you hit deny a couple of times when the app asks youfor location permission, Android will just tellthe app to stop asking you and it won't be able to do it again.

All right, let's see what else.

Well, we've seen a bunchof stuff in the betas that are hopefully gonna stick around, but there's no guarantee.

So I'm talking about screen recording.

It's here in the beta.

It was in the beta lastyear and they yanked it, but I hope it sticks around this year.

We've also seen evidence ofnative scrolling screenshots which is gonna let yougrab the entire web page.

You should be able to pinapps to the Share sheet so that you don't have todepend on Google's predictions, you can just pin the thingyou actually wanna share to.

Airplane mode won't disable Bluetooth if you don't want it to.

There's still picture in picture, but now you can resize the video.

Dark mode has better scheduling options.

There's more icon stylesfor Pixels theming.

Google has this thingcalled Project Mainline that lets them updatesystem level components without updating theentire operating system.

And there's 12 more modules that are getting added to that.

Gboard is getting some updates for I think all Android phones, they've got more emojikitchen fun little options, and it's getting autofill.

There's just a lot of little things.

(sighs) So that'severything in Android 11.

Or at least it's all the stuffI can think to talk about.

And if you just look at the bullet list of all of those features, you'll see that it's a lot of filling out the corners and adding new little bits here and there.

But like I said, I think that Android is amature operating system, so that makes sense.

Beyond those new features though, what Android 11 is reallyabout is making the stuff that you actually want to doa little bit easier to find.

So say you wanna text withsomebody that's important to you, their face might be rightthere in your status bar if they texted you, or theirface might be in a bubble that's floating over theapps you're using right now, so you can get to it right away.

Smart light controls finally aren't buried inside the Google Home app.

They're right there in the power menu.

And that power menu zone, itsort of makes sense to me.

Google says it's likeyour keys and your wallet.

It's the stuff that you put in your pocket to interact with the physical world.

And I guess that's why thatstuff isn't in quick settings.

I mean, I could go on, but the point is that those little decisionsof what goes where and why, that's the subtle stuff thatultimately makes a phone feel either intuitive or confusing.

And there still is someconfusing stuff here.

I think settings in Android is getting a little bit out of control.

But I can see where Google's trying to go.

Like I said at the top, if you have a Pixel, you can install the betaon your phone right now.

It's also coming to a few otherAndroid phones this summer, so keep an eye out for news about that.

But I wouldn't put it on your main phone because it's a beta, and it's still a littlebit rough around the edges.

But you want me to answerthe question, right? Did Google get to where it's trying to go? Does Android 11 makesense, is it intuitive? Well, I'm gonna waituntil the final release of this software in thefall, because right now, it's still a beta, and they're Google, and they could totally move stuff around.

But I do know that when I review it, I'm gonna be reviewing it on a Pixel because the Pixel's gonnaget Android 11 first, and every other Android phone is gonna get it who knows when.

Google's made some progressin the Android ecosystem of making those updates happen, but it's still not where it needs to be.

So while I'm reserving judgment on whether or not Android 11 makes sense, I definitely think that knowingwhether or not your phone is gonna get it isstill way too confusing.

No, you recorded the entirelast half of this video without checking to see ifit was actually recording and therefore wasted about 45 minutes of your life because stuff.

Hey, thanks so much for watching.

Let me know what youthink about Android 11 down in the comments.

Do you think it makes sense? And if you're wonderingwhere the Pixel 4 is, yeah, me too.


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