Google has surprised the phone world with a drop from nowhere for the final version of Android 11. The software update is ready to go for Google’s first-party Pixel phones, and shockingly, even phones from other manufacturers. According to the announcement, at least some phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo and RealMe will be updated today.
Version 11 of Android, the code named “Red Velvet Cake”, has been in public beta for several months, available for Pixel phones and a host of other manufacturers, including Samsung and OnePlus. The new version of the software focuses on privacy, with the ability to grant one-time security permissions to apps instead of an all-or-nothing switch that users need to pop back into the Settings menu to change. There is also better access to secure storage.
There are a number of other changes, in particular better support for a new generation of 5G radios, more types of folding screens and camera cutouts, support for HEIF images, better verification of phone calls, better notifications, and so on. Google’s Pixel phones will also have some custom tweaks, such as the ability to quickly access Google Pay when you long press the power button or new suggestions in the launcher.
Expect to see Android 11 roll out to Google’s Pixel phones via an air update in the next few days, with participating manufacturers following shortly thereafter. Note that it takes months (or longer) for all current Android phones to update, especially if you are using a phone that is below the flagship level.
Google has already announced this year’s new flagship phone, the Pixel 5, but it has not fully revealed the details of its hardware or sales. It is expected to be more formally announced within a month or two, along with a 5G packing version of the excellent Pixel 4a budget phone. Both will run Android 11 at launch.