Android 11: Developer Preview promises improvements for future foldable phones

Google released its first Android 11 developer preview much earlier than expected, and the tech giant followed with a second developer-focused version (DP2) of its mobile operating system, taking advantage of some of the first improvements and adding some extras. You can download the new version from the Android developer blog, but, as was the case with the first version, it is still only compatible with Google Pixel phones (with the exception of the first generation) and you will need to update your device to install unless you have the previous version which will be updated wirelessly.

Due to this very complicated installation process and niche conditions, it is clear that the update is still only for developers, but we can still learn a lot about what Google wants to introduce when Android 11 reaches the mainstream. One of the most important new additions to the DP2 is support for applications to communicate with hinge sensors on foldable phones, allowing them to detect the angle at which the phone is folded and behave accordingly.

While there are several ways in which this information can manifest itself in application changes, perhaps the most relevant is the ability of the application in question to change its display and input method when it detects that the screen will be folded, for example, by dividing its screen and keyboard between the two halves.

Applications will also be able to set a preferred screen refresh rate; therefore, for the growing number of phones with variable speed (including Google Pixel 4), the device will be able to adjust automatically when opened. Some additions improvements since the developer’s first Preview have also arrived, with 5G detection becoming more grainy, so applications can see more accurately when a user is on a high-speed network and adjust their experience accordingly.

Applications will also be able to obtain more details about the call screening functionality, so that they can now more specifically report the reason for a call rejection, allow users to mark them as application spam, and access the user’s contacts for cross-referencing. The public launch of Android 11 is still scheduled for the third quarterfor 2021 and there is no guarantee that any of its features at the beginning of the testing phase will succeed, but for major updates, in any case, we are likely to see them in the final construction, given the history of Android updates.