Android 11 Developer Preview 1: New Features

android 11 preview 1

Google today released the first developer preview of Android 11. It is indeed a commendable effort given that they had done it well ahead of its schedule. All users with a Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4 or a device compatible with Project Treble can refer to our detailed guide if they wish to try it. As always, Google announces most of the features of any new version of Android at its annual I / O conference, but the Silicon Valley giants have already shared some of the privacy and security features related to Android 11 Developer Preview 1. Let’s see them.

Scooped Storage in Android 11 Developer Preview 1

Much private user data is stored in the data / media location. However, applications after obtaining READ_EXTERNAL STORAGE permission were able to easily view all of these users’ personal files. Note that by external storage we mean the location of the data / media. To limit the excessive use of this authorization, Google has introduced the concept of scooped storage. From the first preview of the Android 11 developer, the applications using this authorization will only be able to see the directories of these private files.

But what about file explorers who need to access your files? Well, they can use Storage Access Framework to allow users to select files using the system file picker. Likewise, this framework will also help these applications to access the data / media root directory and therefore its subdirectory. This will allow the file explorer to process files placed on external storage. But do not worry. Until you explicitly grant this permission, applications will not be able to access your private data stored there.

New Mainline Project Modules in Android 11 Developer Preview 1

Google introduced the concept of Project Mainline in Android 10. For the ignorant, this project makes it possible to obtain updates for the main Android components quickly and easily. Earlier, Google would release these software updates. This would then be taken up by the OEMs to optimize it according to their needs. This is where the updates usually took a long time.

As a result, Google authorized these OEMs to take over a package and they would publish these updates themselves directly on the Play Store. If you’re using Android 10, go to Settings> Security> Google Play system update.

google system update

To return, each of these updates takes the form of an APK file or an APEX file. Last year, Google purchased about 11 new Project Mainline modules. With Android 11 Developer preview 1. this has been extended to 20. These include new authorization modules, new media provider modules among others.

Single authorizations

android authorization
Android 10 new permissions

Some necessary changes to permissions from Android 6.0. Before that, you had to give permissions to apps before they were installed. From Marshmallow came the concept of performance authorizations. This meant that applications could only ask for permission after it was installed. In addition, they should also do so via a clearly visible pop-up dialog.

Starting with Android 10, we’ve seen these permissions be tweaked even further. You can now also allow the app to use the permission only when it runs in the foreground. Unfortunately, this only covered location authorization.

But with the first preview of the Android 11 developer, a single authorization was introduced. These types of permissions are valid as long as you use the application. Once you minimize the app, the app loses access to this permission and will need to request it again. In addition, apart from the location, they have also been extended to other areas such as camera and microphone permissions.

BiometricPrompt modifications

Previous developers had to separate different APIs for different biometrics. For example, you had the fingerprint manager API to support fingerprint authentication. Likewise, Samsung had its own API for IRIS Scanner technology. But from Android Pie, we saw the introduction of the BiometricPrompt API.

This has unified all of these separate biometric APIs into one package for authentication purposes. As a result, the system now needs a single biometric authentication platform to allow users to use one of their preferred choices (fingerprint, IRIS, face scanner).

And now, with Android 11 Developer Preview 1, Google has added three new levels of authentication. These include weak, strong, and device credentials. It is now up to developers to decide what type of biometric authentication they will need, or rather their applications.

BLOB data sharing in Android 11 Developer Preview 1

BLOBs or large binary objects are a collection of binary data that are stored as a single entity in the database. They usually store images, videos and other multimedia objects. With Android 11 Developer Preview 1, we saw the introduction of the BlobstoreManager API. This API will contribute to a more secure and easier sharing of data blobs between them.

So these were some of the new features and additions to the Android 11 1 developer preview. We will be regularly covering all the new changes, updates and versions of these developer previews, the beta version and also the stable version of Android 11 as and when released. So stay tuned!

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