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Android R powered Google Pixel 2 XL stars in photograph

Android R powered Google Pixel 2 XL stars in photograph
Last month, a Geekbench benchmark test was allegedly run on a Pixel 4; the phone being benchmarked was running Android R (aka Android 11). Google did away with the use of dessert names for its mobile operating system with 2018's Android Pie the last to be so named. However, during the period of time that Google was disseminating the beta preview of Android 10, it referred to it as Android Q. We believe that Google might continue to use the single letters for the developer preview releases and return to the numbers when the final version of the OS becomes available.

Today, a photo published on social media showed a Pixel 2 XL running Android R. For those with the 2017 handset, Android 11 will be the last version of Android that they will receive on the device. The phone was installed with Android 8 Oreo and was updated to Android 9 Pie, and Android 10. The Pixels are guaranteed to receive three major Android system updates over their lifetime.

You can expect to share larger video files over Android 11

So what can we expect from Android 11 and when can we expect it? Considering that the Android Q developer previews began last March, we could be just weeks away from the beginning of the process that should culminate in the release of Android 11 this coming September. With Android 11, users will be able to send videos larger than the current 4GB cap. One test revealed that a 32GB file was successfully sent on Android without it having to be broken up into smaller files. And Airplane Mode will not automatically disable Bluetooth when it is enabled as it currently does. This will allow an Android user wearing wireless Bluetooth "earables" like the Pixel Buds to turn on Airplane Mode while on a flight and continue to listen to his "flying playlist" without having to turn Bluetooth back on.

Other changes we could see include improvements to the system-wide Dark Mode to cover more third-party apps, and an option similar to the one in iOS that allows users to schedule a time period when Dark Mode turns on and when it is turned off. Android 11 could make floating chat bubbles available. These appear on the screen with the message sender's picture, the icon of the messaging app being used by the sender and a preview of the message. Tapping on the bubble will open a floating window where the user can see the entire message thread, quick replies, and any other reply option offered on the Messages app.

There is a possibility that the picture shows what is known as a Generic Systems Image (GSI). According to the Android developer site, "GSIs are for app developers to perform application validation and development purposes. They aren't to be redistributed by you or used in any way except as specifically set forth in the license terms enclosed in each individual download."

On the other hand, as we pointed out the Android R developer preview will soon be here so what we are looking at could be a legitimate image of a Pixel 2 XL running Android R. Next month kicks off the time of the year that risk-taking Pixel owners love. But keep this in mind: once you join the developer preview program you must see it through to the release of the final version of the operating system unless you are willing to perform a factory reset. Also, developers were not allowed to publish apps to devices running the preview last year until the fourth preview was released. Frankly, if you want to get an early look at Android 11 but don't want to risk turning your daily driver into a brick, you might consider waiting until the last developer preview is dropped before taking the plunge.

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