You probably shouldn’t use it on your main phone, but if you have a Pixel, the next version of Android is in preview.
Pretty much every year, you can expect a new version of Android waiting for you. Even though manufacturers typically take their time at getting it out to various devices, Google still works on a new release, building a new version of Android to improve phones and tablets further.
These days and since version 10, Google has dropped the cute dessert code names, switching it out for just version numbers, much like other operating systems. However that may make it easier to track, and easy to work out whether you have the next version or the last.
In the Android world, though, you’re likely to either have Android 9 (the one previously known as “Pie”) or the most recent, Android 10 (which lost the dessert names), but depending on how forward thinking you like to be, you might be willing to chance an upgrade and check out a developer preview.
While it will more than likely have bugs, companies like Google release developer previews of new operating systems to let developers check out what’s coming, and to start making their applications adapt to the new environments.
And that’s exactly what’s happening this week, as Google releases a developer preview for the next version of Android, Android 11.
The new version of Android is including updates to support for 5G to check out whether you’re truly getting 5G speeds, and supporting new screen types, allowing apps to take advantage of devices with pinhole screens, such as the Galaxy Note 10+, allowing developers to look past the typical black bars an app might be forced to come with.
Google is also including a change for messages and conversations, including a way for users to find ongoing conversations, and to keep messages in a multitasking view with “Bubbles”, allowing messaging to sit in front of everything.
There are also enhancements for privacy and security, such as improvements for biometric security and app permissions, plus a whole bunch of things that will likely appeal to developers keen to see what they can integrate in their apps and experience.
Of course, this won’t be the be-all or end-all for Android 11, with Google likely revealing even more as the year wears on. Google’s technology conference of Google I/O is typically where Google launches everything it has been planning, and this year Google I/O runs from May 12-14, so there’s only a few months for Google to come up and develop those ideas for its new OS.
However if you’re keen to get that Android 11 preview going, you’ll need a recent Pixel phone. We don’t recommend using it on your main device, but if you have a spare Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, or Pixel 4 (sorry original Pixel owners!), you’ll be able to get Android 11 rolled out at the Android developer site.