Google’s latest release of its iconic mobile operating system, Android 11, was officially announced back in September 2020. But while Google Pixel owners got preferential treatment with early access to an update, everyone else operating in the Androidverse has had to wait patiently for their turn.
That’s partly because mobile vendors have needed time to tweak Google’s famous open source platform to suit their own requirements. But for many of us, the wait is now over, with Samsung, Sony and OnePlus finally unveiling their roadmap for Android 11 roll out.
So what can smartphone users expect from the new OS?
Well, in terms of the look and feel, you won’t notice much change from Android 10, which for the sake of continuity is probably a good thing.
Most of the big differences you’ll notice centre around messaging and notifications. Google has decided to give the UX for alerts and communication a bit of an overhaul, so when you install Android 11, you will find you have the ability to prioritise how notifications are displayed on your home screen, and also switch on a notification history feature which allows you to review all alerts from the past 24 hours.
Google has also decided to follow Facebook Messenger’s lead and introduce ‘chat bubbles’ which sit on top of whatever other apps are open on your screen when you get a new text in the native Messenger app. Other new features include a new smart device control UI which has shortcut access by holding down the power button, improved privacy and security permission controls, and more control over how and when Dark Mode is activated.
Roll out road maps
So enough of the new features – when will these updates be available?Samsung has confirmed that Android 11 will be available for all Galaxy S20 devices in December 2020, followed by Galaxy S10, Note 10 & 20 and Z models in January 2021. From there, owners of any Galaxy M or A series devices will have to wait until March onwards, with the last models not catching up until August or September.
Sony, meanwhile, has announced that its current flagship, the Xperia 1 II, will also get Android 11 from December 2020, with the Xperia 5 II, Xperia 10 II, Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 following in January 2021. There has been no news about support for older models like the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus as yet.
One Plus Update
OnePlus has confirmed that it now has a stable release of its own OxygenOS 11, built on Android 11, ready to go. It is expected that this will be available for OnePlus 8 series phones by the end of this year, but there has been no announcement yet about support for the rest of the OnePlus stable.