Android is a “mature” operating system, which is to say there aren’t a lot of obvious missing features. You might say that mature smartphone operating systems like Android and iOS have the opposite problem: too许多features. So Android 11 doesn’t add a lot of new capabilities; instead, it tries to help you handle all of the things your phone already does. The job of a mature operating system is to manage complexity.
Here’s how the Android 11 beta tackles it.
For Android 11, the major changes are both obvious and subtle. Google’s solution is to abstract away Android’s many different notification options into three big buckets. Think of them as easy presets. They solve 90 percent of the notification management problem, and the last 10 percent can either be something you manually tweak or — more likely — just dismiss when those annoying notifications appear.
Conversations is the newest section dedicated to notifications that come in from chat apps like Android Messages, Facebook Messenger, and others. It sits at the top of your notification shade, right underneath quick settings.
Conversation notifications can play by slightly different rules than other notifications. They’re less likely to get buried in the mix of everything else. In addition to appearing at the top, you can also tap a button to “bubble” them. That pops out the icon for the person you’re talking to into its own floating bubble that you can throw on any edge of the screen. Tap it, and it opens up an overlay window with your chat thread.
它’s“聊天的头s” from Facebook Messenger,basically, but now made available to any chat app in Android as an official feature — seven years after Facebook introduced them. Unfortunately, it seems like apps will need to be updated to support bubbles, though Google says it’s a relatively simple thing to do.
If Chat heads aren’t your thing, you have another option to make sure you don’t miss important texts. Long-press a notification in the conversations section, and you can choose between three options: Priority, Alerting, and Silent. Here’s how they break down:
- Priority: the little icon that goes with the notification — usually the avatar for the person who sent it — will appear in your status bar and on the lock screen instead of just the icon for the app. Inside the notification shade, those conversations will always appear at the top and will also get a little yellow highlight around their icon. You can also optionally choose to allow priority conversations to break through Do Not Disturb.
- Alerting: works just like before
Once upon a time, mobile operating systems tried to solve the problem of multiple chat apps by threading them into a single app — but those chat apps obviously weren’t happy about being aggregated. Android 11’s solution isn’t to try to re-create webOS’s Synergy or Windows Phone’s omnibus contact sheet, but instead just deal with it on the notification level. It’s an elegant solution, given the constraints under which Google is operating. Every Android user has to deal with multiple chat apps, and true integration is never really going to work. But at least their notifications are in one spot.
The Alerting notification and Silent notification sections are largely unchanged, although, again, everything in the notification shade is just a little bigger and more clearly separated. You can still long-press a notification to quickly adjust how (or if) a notification appears. If you dig into notification settings, though, you’ll find a few more options.
Firstly, it’s easier to tweak whether silent notification icons will appear in your status bar or lock screen. You can also dig into notification settings and change any number of nitty-gritty options: which apps can “bubble” conversations, priorities, and even tuck into an individual app’s different types of notifications (called “channels” in Android).
If you’re in the habit of quickly swiping notifications away, you’ve probably run into the problem of swiping something away without actually looking at it. Android 11 has a fix for that, too, an option to find your notification history. If you turn it on, you’ll get a new “History” button at the bottom of the notification shade. Tap it, and all of your recent notifications from the last 24 hours are listed inside your settings app so you can find what you missed.
New media controls and screenshots
我看到在我Google-providedβ构建is slightly different than what’s been leaked and previously reported on, so it’s likely that Google is still fine-tuning the interface. Plus, it’s one of the buggier parts of the beta right now.
Another thing Google pulled out of notifications is the interface for screenshots. Now, when you trigger a screenshot, a tiny thumbnail will float down to the lower-left corner. There will be some button attached to it if you want to quickly edit or share the screenshot. There have been reports that there will be athird button for scrolling screenshots, but that’s not on my build.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that both the speaker selection button and (especially) the screenshot interface are lifted right off of the iPhone.Apple previously sued Android manufacturers for making slide-to-unlock mechanismsthat were vaguely reminiscent of the original iPhone’s unlock. Now, Android 11’s core gesture navigation and screenshot captures are almost identical to how the iPhone works.
智能手机操作系统通过不同的视觉隐喻比你的桌面，甚至平板电脑进行操作。他们创造他们自己的规则运作，不同的概念“区域” - 希望 - 有一个特定的目的。
There’s the home screen, the lock screen, notification shade, quick settings (or Control Center), and so on. In Android 11, Google is de-facto creating a new “zone” of user interaction with an unfortunately vague name: the “power menu.” You get to it by long-pressing the power button. (In the strange world of smartphones, it’s sometimes called the sleep / wake button.)
它的功率菜单有望做的事情：提供各种电源和复位选项。可悲的是，“锁定”选项禁用生物识别三个点的菜单下时隐时它应该是可以trigger with just physical buttons as you can on the iPhone。
去ogle has placed Google Pay cards and boarding passes under those power options. Both the power options and pay options are something we’ve seen before.
The new section is next: Home. It’s where Google is putting buttons for your smart home controls. You can choose which smart home gadgets appear here and also reorder them. With smart lights (which are all I have), you can tap buttons to toggle them on or off, drag on the button to adjust brightness, or long-press to get a bigger UI with more options.
它’s more convenient than Apple’s home controls in Control Center on the iPhone, if only because it’s just one button away instead of a swipe and a long-press.
Android 11’s power menu home controls are powered by the Google Home app. That’s great news because it means that you shouldn’t have to set up your smart home gadgets a second or third time. Google tells me that if smart home companies want to directly support buttons or controls in the power menu without going through the Google Home app, they can.
A word of warning, however: the experience as I’ve described it here only applies to the Pixel. It’s anybody’s guess what Samsung or other manufacturers will do. Samsung has its own payment system, smart home ecosystem, and even its own penchant for remapping a long-press of the power button to Bixby. Google says it’s working with partners to ensure a consistent experience, but we’ll see.
至于为什么谷歌提出了一个全新的“区”，而不是仅仅把智能家居控制其他地方，例如快速设置面板，谷歌的想法是，电源菜单是那种你的钥匙和钱包的数字当量。这对控制的事情外your phone, while quick settings is for controlling things上your phone.
Home and multitasking
去ogle is continuing its long trend of locking down what apps are allowed to do in the background in Android 11. My favorite new feature is permission reset, which automatically resets all permissions from apps you haven’t opened in some time.
Android 11 also follows a trend Apple started last year: one-time permission. Now, when an app asks for location information, the only three options that get buttons are “while using the app,” “only this time,” and “deny.” The one-time use option is new and much-appreciated. If an app wants to get permanent background permission, it has to deep-link you into its location permissions inside Android’s settings. Google seems to be discouraging that kind of use.
Android has a long list of accessibility features, and Android 11 has an update to one of them that I initially didn’t give enough credit to. Google says that Android 11 now has “an on-device visual cortex that understands screen content and context, and generates labels and access points for accessibility commands.” What that means is that if you’re controlling the phone with your voice, you can speak more naturally by just saying what’s on screen instead of having to identify a number on a grid.
有一件事我左边的我的Android测试版11手中出来的是改进的语音访问，现在明白屏幕背景和内容。这是一个错误 - 它实际上是令人难以置信的。— Dieter Bohn (@backlon)June 10, 2020
You don't have to use a grid or button numbers, you can just say what's on the screen. Watch:pic.twitter.com/wXidxZGVjt
Bits and Bobs
去ogle’s keyboard, Gboard, is getting some updates, too. Google says the feature that lets you mix and match emoji to make custom stickers will have 5,000 different combinations now. More interestingly, Gboard is going to pick up auto-fill capabilities. Google says that it’s based on federated learning models, and no data from your auto-fill will be shared with Google. I’ll be interested to see if it’s a fiasco trying to fill out a form in Chrome because it’s possible that Chrome, Android, and Gboard will all be competing to put something in there automatically. (Google says it’s not going to be a problem.)
有很多其他的必要。去ogle’s Project Mainline, the service that lets it update key system components over the air without waiting for carriers or manufacturers, is getting 12 more modules. Dark mode is getting better scheduling options. Pixel phones will have more weird icon shapes available for theming. Picture-in-picture videos can be resized (but good luck dragging your finger on the tiny corner on the first try). You can “pin” apps to the share sheet rather than rely on Android’s algorithms. Airplane mode won’t turn off Bluetooth if you are connected to headphones. The list goes on.
On that list, my favorite thingshouldbe tethering over USB-Ethernet. Windows users don’t have to worry about this, but there’s no way to natively use USB to tether a Mac to an Android phone. I’ve been现在安装在Mac电脑上的自定义驱动程序年。但基于以太网现在的Android可以只提供网络通过USB，它应该有相当多的东西，你可以将它在工作。它should, but unfortunately, it requires that you plug in a USB adapter with an Ethernet plug on it. And unless your computer has an Ethernet jack, you’ll need another dongle on the other end.
Those little decisions of what goes where and why are the subtle things that ultimately make a phone feel either intuitive or confusing. There’s still some confusing stuff here — the settings app is turning into a mess — but overall, I can see where Google is trying to go. Android is complex, and rather than try to simplify it directly, it’s adding simpler layers on top of that complexity.
When I do review it, it’ll be on a Google Pixel. That’s because the Pixel is still the only Android phone guaranteed to get updated right away. The entire Android ecosystem has made more progress than I expected in speeding up updates for other phones, but it’s still not where it ought to be. So while I’m reserving judgment on whether Android 11 makes sense, I can say that knowing whether or when your Android phone will get it is still confusing.
Photography by Dieter Bohn / The Verge
Update: This article was updated at 4:10PM ET on June 10th to include more information on Voice Access.