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Android 11 Developer Preview focuses on 5G and better privacy

Jon Fingas
·Associate Editor
·1 min read
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After a brief tease, the first Android 11 Developer Preview is available for Pixel devices -- and it's clear Google is thinking about the future with this release. The test software is built with a few new technologies in mind, most notably 5G. New frameworks let app creators determine whether or not someone's on an unlimited data plan or has 5G-level bandwidth, making it possible to tailor experiences for people with unfettered connections. There's also improved support for hole-punch and waterfall screens, neural networks and low-latency video (think Stadia).

As with Android 10, privacy and security will play important roles. Users can now grant one-time permission to apps, and get better protection for data on external storage. Android 11 also supports finer-grained biometric authentication, more secure data sharing and digital IDs like driver's licenses.

Don't rush to install this unless you know what you're getting into. Like past Developer Previews, this is meant for coders who want to get their apps ready for the new version's official release later in the year. You'll need at least a Pixel 2, and you have to flash a device image to even try it. If you aren't a developer, you'll want to reserve this for a secondary device. All the same, this gives an idea of where Google is headed with Android 11.