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Android 11 developer preview stresses 5G, security

Preview of the next Android OS offers developers a first glimpse of new privacy and security features and 5G enhancements

developer preview of Android 11 is now available, allowing app developers to begin working with the planned upgrade to Google’s mobile OS. Among the many new features and APIs, Android 11 is set to emphasize security.

The preview, released February 19, has new capabilities for managing access to sensitive files and data. Permission options are offered for privacy, and the OS has been made more secure through hardening of critical areas.

Further, biometric authentication now supports a wider range of devices. BiometricPrompt supports three authenticator types with different levels of granularity, including strong, weak, and device credential.

Other new capabilities in Android 11 include:

  • A new API lets an app use an entire waterfall screen including the edges, with insets to manage interaction near the edges. Apps can manage pinhole and waterfall screens using existing display cutout APIs.
  • The Neural Networks API (NNAPI) offers expanded operations and controls for developers. Quality of service APIs enable priority and timeout for model execution while memory domain APIs reduce memory copying and transformation for consecutive model execution. Signed integer asymmetric quantization has been added; signed integers are used instead of float numbers, enabling faster inference and smaller models.
  • New processes, tools, and release milestones have been added to minimize platform update impacts.
  • Enhancements for 5G support faster speeds and lower latency. Existing connectivity APIs are being enhanced to take advantage of 5G speeds.
  • The dynamic meteredness API, which checks if a connection is unmetered, has been extended to cellular networks. This allows app developers to deliver higher resolution, higher quality, or more data to users connected to unmetered 5G networks.
  • The bandwidth estimator API has been updated to make it easier to check downstream/upstream bandwidth.
  • New media and camera capabilities.

Google cautions that the release is an early, baseline build. Downloadable from developer.android.com, the Android 11 developer preview is intended only for developers and is not recommended for consumer or daily use. An issue tracker has been set up to offer feedback on the preview.