This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Android 11 is kind of here
. A very early developer preview has been released, but it will only be in May when Google is expected to do a grand unveiling for the world to see all the new features.
What we know so far is that these following features are expected to make an appearance:
- Bubbles for messaging apps — Imagine Facebook's "Chat Heads" floating bubble on top of your apps, but for all messaging applications. This way, you can have multiple chat apps open and manage multiple conversations easily. The idea is that you will have the same user experience across a range of apps from Google's own Messenger to more popular alternatives like WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram.
- Conversations notification — The notification dropdown will also become slightly different in Android 11 as notifications coming from messenger apps will get a separate section and will appear on top of other notifications like emails, Twitter updates and others. It's logical come to think of it on your phone it's usually your messages that you want to see first.
- Google is also working on improved app permissions that will allow for apps to get a temporary permission to things like your camera and microphone, which you may not want them to access on a permanent basis, plus the long awaited screen recording feature might finally arrive as well. Other small tweaks include dark mode that can switch on and off automatically depending on the time of day, as well as the option to pin favorite apps in the share menu for easy access.
But as I was reading this list of new features and improvements, I kept on thinking that the feature I want to see the most on Android is still not on it.
We need better Android stats
With smartphones becoming better and better, we hold on to them longer as the average for smartphone ownership in developed nations now reaches nearly 3 years. This is the average, which means that many people hold on to their phones for a lot longer, four or even five years. Owning whatever phone for such a long time means that you will inevitably bump against one critical issue: battery life.
As we use our phones, batteries slowly degrade and usually after some 2 years of ownership, they lose a lot of their capacity. After 3 years of ownership, that battery is most certainly in need of a replacement.
And that's where Android 11 could help. Currently, your Android phone cannot tell you anything about your long-term battery health. You will certainly notice that your phone lasts shorter than it used to at a certain point, but there is no way to tell when that battery has reached the point when it SHOULD be replaced.
After more than 2 years of ownership, some phones may even experience occasional random shutdowns with owners not knowing why this happens and thinking that their phone is broken and needs to be replaced while often the case for that might be a battery due for replacement. Also, if you are buying a used phone, you should be able to tell its battery health.
Apple has adopted this feature since iOS 12 and now presents it in a separate menu in the battery section in settings, but Android is lacking such an information. And while there are way cooler new features that Google may add, this one boring piece of statistics might prove immensely useful and I wish it comes to Android phones sooner rather than later.