Google’s Android 11 update and beta are right around the corner which is why we’re already thinking about what’s coming next. Or, more importantly, what we want to see next. Google released Android 10 in September of 2019 after a long beta program that started in March, and they’ll do the same thing with Android R (Android 11) here in 2020.
Basically, Android 11 will get announced to the world and released as a beta in March for Pixel phones, and we can’t wait for it to arrive. In this guide we’ll go over some Android 11 features we want to see this year, or new controls and changes we think are on the way.
These are features Google’s shown off but didn’t deliver with Android 10, options iPhone users already enjoy, or things other Android manufacturers like Samsung offer but you can’t get on a Google Pixel or other devices running stock Android.
- Improved Gestures
- A Real AirDrop Alternative
- Dark Mode Schedules
- Reachability Controls for Big Screens
- Built-in Screen Recording
1. Improved Gestures (and back gesture)
Lately, Google seems to change the controls and gestures in Android with each new release, and it’s getting confusing. With all these big edge-to-edge screens every major phone from Pixel 4 to the iPhone 11 uses “gesture controls” instead of on-screen buttons.
With Android 11 we want Google to once again change and improve the gesture navigation controls for Android as a whole. They’re just not ideal and felt like a last-minute change to Android 10 in 2019. Still to this day, I hate the process to open the app tray or multitasking on my Pixel 4, and the “back” gesture is even worse. In Android 10 you swipe in from the left edge anywhere on the screen to go back, and with Android 11 I truly hope Google finds a way to improve this, or at least let users choose and customize the back gesture controls.
No one wants to see Google change the navigation controls yet again, but there has to be a better way than the current system.
2. A Real AirDrop Alternative (Fast Share)
Honestly, some sort of easy and fast universal sharing system in Android is long, long overdue. A tool that lets users easily share photos, videos, files and more in seconds over Bluetooth or WiFi. If you ask any iPhone/Mac user what their favorite features are, one of the top answers is always AirDrop.
Last year we saw Google working hard on something known as Fast Share — an AirDrop type feature — and it was supposed to arrive with Android 10, but it never did. Then, they skipped it with the Pixel 4 release too. So, the next logical step is to hopefully deliver this awesome feature with Android 11. This will replace Android Beam, which no one really uses, and be better than any NFC sharing tools or apps currently available.
In fact, XDA developers not only uncovered the progress on this fast-sharing technology but now they’re saying Google is hard at work on it and will apparently call it Nearby Sharing when it arrives.
Google, please give us Fast Share or Nearby Sharing in Android 11.
3. Dark Mode Schedules
One of the best new features and aspects of Android 10 is the system-wide dark mode, night mode, or dark themes in apps. This improves battery life, cuts down on eye strain, and is overall just something most smartphone users love. And while Google finally added Dark Mode to Android 10, it could still be better.
With stock Android 10 you can turn Dark Mode on or off, and that’s about the extent of the options. We hope one of Android 11’s features is the ability to fully customize and schedule dark mode. Other manufacturers like Samsung and OnePlus, or even iOS 13 all have this, so it makes sense for Google to add more options and controls for users.
4. Reachability Controls for Big Screens
Another feature we want Google to borrow from iOS is the reachability controls for big-screen devices. These days almost every phone is massive, like the OnePlus 7T Pro, and Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S20 will likely have a bigger screen than ever before.
We need some sort of system-wide “reachability” control that makes it easier to use phones one-handed, especially if the screens keep getting bigger and bigger. Samsung has some helpful one-handed control options and you can even move the keyboard to one side of the phone or the other, but we want Google and all Android manufacturers to expand on that. Give us a way to easily access the top of the phone without stretching fingers or using two hands.
Apple has reachability, where you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to get the top half of the screen contents to slide down for easy access, which is great, and we think Android deserves something similar.
5. Built-in Screen Recording
Last but not least, for now, is some sort of screen recording option. Leading up to the release of Android 10 Google actually had this feature. There was a capable, usable, helpful screen recording option in the Android 10 Q developer preview beta. However, this got removed in the final release that’s available right now.
We need the ability to easily and quickly record whatever is on our screen and have options to add sounds from the device, similar to most other smartphones and 3rd party apps. This is a small feature that’s easy to add, and we had it for a while, so there’s no reason it won’t make it in the final version of Android 11 later this year.
In closing, we’re fairly confident that Google will add screen recording, fast share, and several helpful user controls in Android 11, so we’re not too worried. Expect the first public beta of Android 11 (or Android R) sometime in early March, then more information and a second beta in April or May during the annual Google I/O developer event. Then, Google will likely release several betas before inevitably releasing Android 11 to the world sometime in August or September of 2020, just like they’ve done for the last several years.
Then, stay tuned for more information as we’ll surely be hearing more about the next version of Android soon. Either directly from Google or in leaks like last year. We’ll update this post with more features as we think of them, leaked Android 11 features, or other things we want next on our smartphones.
What do you want from Android 11? Let us know in the comment section below.
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