Android 11 Reaches Final Beta

Android 11 Beta 3 is here and with it, Google is calling upon all developers to update their apps accordingly. The official Android 11 release is only weeks away at this point, and it is important for apps to be compatible with the new features in Android 11. Here's what you need to know.

This is the last beta before the final release, according to Google. In years past there have been one or two more betas during the preview process, but this year three appears to be the magic number. The beta reached Platform stability in Beta 2, which means all app-facing behaviors are final. That includes the SDK and NDK APIs, system behaviors, and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces. What's in Beta 3? An important API change. 

Google says Android 11 Beta 3 sees an update to the Exposure Notifications System and associated API. Once the beta is installed, users will be able to fully interact with Exposure Notification apps without the previously necessary device location consent. Google says it is making an exception on the location consent for this use case only, "given that it has been designed in such a way that apps using it can’t infer device location through Bluetooth scanning." In order to further protect end-user privacy, all other apps installed on the device will continue to be prevented from performing Bluetooth scans unless previously given permission by the user. More information is available here

Many of Android 11's new features are meant to help developers manage experiences around people, controls, and privacy. All the Android 11 details for developers are available here, and API-specific changes are noted here. Some include device controls, media controls, support for waterfall displays and foldables, as well as chat bubbles, conversations, privacy, and security. 

Android studio has been revised with new features as well. For example, the ADB incremental workflow should help with installs of larger APIs Moreover, platform APIs ensure additional nullability annotations. These are showcased in the latest Android Studio Beta.

Developers already enrolled in the beta program should see the beta arrive via an over-the-air update. Developers not yet signed up can enroll and download the beta to get going. Android 11 Beta 3 is available to the Google Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4. 

Google strongly recommends developers test their apps against the new APIs with the newest SDKs to ensure total app compatibility with Android 11. Google says the public release will be sometime in the next few weeks.

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