Ahead of their usual March launch, Google has today unveiled their first Android 11 Developer Preview for most Pixel phones.

The Android 11 Developer Preview is aimed at bringing together previous work on things like 5G, Biometrics and Neural Networks, as well as improving Privacy but there’s also a few cool user facing features in the Dev Preview.

Google is getting more conversational with Android 11, or at least helping developers to with changes to the way chat apps display in your notification shade. You’ll be able to see more of your conversation in the notification and add images. They’re also bringing better support for the bubble notification which Facebook Messenger made famous.

For me personally, there’s two new features which are killer. The first is that the screen recording function is back, and secondly the option to set Dark Mode to come on at a custom time, or based on sunset and sunrise is a killer. 

More work is being done on privacy with Android 11, Google is adding a one-time allow option for location so you can use an app once without having to go back and switch it off later.

Google is also making updating devices easier, improving Project Mainline developed last year, which gives them the ability to update core Android security and software through Google Play, instead of waiting for major system updates.

There’s a load of security work with biometric authentication and securing the way apps interact with data using Scoped Storage, and how Android stores credentials including Mobile Driving Licenses. 

Google is also bringing in a range of metering options for 5G including ways to have apps offer better quality streams on unmetered connections. Improved support for different display types including foldables is also coming.

Google will be releasing six Developer Previews over the coming months before a final release in Q3 around August. The features included in each preview will expand (and sometimes contract) as we get closer to launch.

You can install the Dev Preview on any Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, or Pixel 4 phone, but at this stage you’ll have to download and manually flash it to your phone. Google says they’ll make the Android 11 Developer Preview available in May, likely at Google I/O, through their Beta program as they get closer to a final launch.