20 Features in Android 11 That Samsung Galaxy Users Should be Excited About « Android :: Gadget Hacks

Android’s next major update has already been released for testing. But typically, stock Android lags behind Samsung’s One UI skin in terms of functionality, so some of the features will be old news to Galaxy users when Android 11 hits their phones in early 2021. Still, there’s plenty to get excited about.

Below, we listed all of the changes that will actually be new features for Galaxy users if Samsung doesn’t remove them from its One UI 3.0 update. None of the things like screen recording that Google is just now catching up on — this is the stuff you should actually care about. And if you’re wondering, Samsung issues two OS updates for its flagships, so we know these phones will get Android 11:

  • Galaxy S10e
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10+
  • Galaxy Note 10
  • Galaxy Note 10+
  • Galaxy S20
  • Galaxy S20+
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra

1. New Sections in the Notification Shade

The notification shade will now divide incoming alerts into three categories: Alerting, Silent, and Conversations. The latter will contain notifications from messaging apps and is placed at the very top of the list. There’s also a transparent barrier between each listing to make it easy to find the alerts you are looking for, though Samsung may implement this differently in One UI 3.

2. Notification Bubbles

Bubbles were introduced in One UI 2. In One UI 3 (running on top of Android 11), it should be turned on by default for all apps. That means you will be able to take advantage of these chat bubbles (popularized by Facebook Messenger) on WhatsApp, Samsung Messages, and more.

3. Send Images in Notification Replies

When you respond to a message within the notification shade by pressing “Reply,” you can now attach an image to your response.

4. Wireless Debugging

One UI 3 will allow you to send ADB and fastboot commands without the need to physically connect your phone to your computer. We have talked extensively about how ADB can enhance your Galaxy experience, and with wireless debugging, it just got easier.

5. Improved Foldable Support

In Android 10, Google added native support for foldable devices such as the Galaxy Fold and Z Flip. In Android 11, a new API lets apps determine the angle of the foldable. This addition will allow Samsung’s Flex Mode to work with even more apps.

6. Use Bluetooth Headphones in Airplane Mode

While listening to audio via Bluetooth headphones or speakers, Airplane Mode will no longer disconnect your phone.

7. Better Keyboard Transition

New APIs will let apps determine how the keyboard animates on and off the screen. The new set of tools makes the whole process smoother, flowing with the app better.

8. See Current Refresh Rate

You will now able to see how One UI adjusts the refresh rate. Hidden in Developer Options is a new setting that lets you see the current refresh rate of your phone. This isn’t the same as your frame rate, unfortunately, but it does allow you to see when Samsung’s 120 Hz is turned on.

9. Better Battery Life at Higher Refresh Rates

App developers will now be able to set a preferred refresh rate. For games, developers can set the refresh rate to max out the Galaxy S20’s 120 Hz, but for the camera or YouTube, it can be reduced to 60 Hz to save battery life.

10. Limited Access to Your Permissions

One UI 3 will come with a few changes to how apps can request permissions. First, the permission prompt has a new option, “Only this time,” which limits access until you close the app. Afterward, it needs to request access again.

11. Limited Background Location Access

Your location data is also better protected in Android 11. Apps will no longer be able to directly ask you to access your location in the background. Instead, they must specify why they need it, then direct you to a page in Settings where you can manually enable access.

12. Deny Forever

Apps can only ask you one more time for the same permission once you deny it. After a second denial, Android will interpret this as “don’t ask again” and ignore any further requests.

13. Improved Spam Protection

Caller ID and spam protection features are getting better in Android 11. Call screening apps can now access the verification status from SHAKEN/STIR (a new system used by carriers in the US) to improve its ability to identify callers. There’s no word yet on whether Samsung will take advantage of this with its Phone app, but it’s a good possibility.

14. Use Weak Biometrics to Unlock Apps

The Galaxy S20 lets you unlock your phone using both the secure in-display fingerprint scanner and the insecure camera-based facial recognition. However, when apps implement biometrics support, the only biometrics they can access is the fingerprint scanner.

In Android 11, Google has created a tier system, diving biometrics into three categories — strong, weak, and device credential. Apps can decide which strength of authentication they need, allowing less sensitive apps to use the Galaxy S20’s Face Unlock to limit entrance.

15. Better Support for Curved Display

Android’s Display cutout API has added support for displays with circular count (punch-hole screen) and waterfall display (where the screens bend over the entire side edge). Both types of displays are rumor to be included in the Galaxy Note 20. With this improved support, apps can take better advantage of the waterfall display, avoid text cut off by the camera cutout, and potentially allow immersive mode to work without the inclusion of a black bar.

16. Lower Latency for Stadia

Two big additions are coming to Samsung devices that will help reduce latency when playing cloud gaming services such as Stadia and GeForce Now. First is the addition of low latency video decoding. Android 11 makes it easier for devices to decode this type of video, which makes these cloud services possible.

Second, Android 11 supports HDMI 2.1’s low-latency mode. This mode will, in essence, turn on game mode on your television, where lower input lag is prioritized over image processing. And since Samsung supports HDMI over USB-C, you can use this feature to play Stadia on your TV without needing a Chromecast Ultra.

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

17. Better Bluetooth

Android 11 uses a new Bluetooth stack known as Babeldorsche. Little is known about this stack other than it is better than the one currently used and will improve Android 11 phones’ ability to pair and maintain connections with Bluetooth devices.

18. Headphone Audio Codec Support

You no longer have to remember which audio codecs your headphones support. Pair your audio device to a smartphone running Android 11, and open “Trigger Bluetooth Audio Codec Selection” in Developer Options. Only the supported will be accessible, while the others will be grayed out. Additionally, you can check the sample rate. There is even an “HD Audio” toggle, which lets you switch to the highest configuration.

19. Improved Gestural Navigation

Besides being able to use Android 10’s gestural navigation with third-party apps (thanks to One UI 2.5), One UI 3 will let you configure the sensitivity of the back button for either side. Ideally, you’d lower sensitivity on the left edge, making it possible to use gestures to open the hamburger menu again.

20. Resume on Reboot

In Android 11, you no longer have to unlock your phone to receive notifications after rebooting. Instead, apps will able to access the Credential Encrypted storage to populate your notification shade with incoming alerts. This way you don’t miss anything if your phone updated overnight.

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Cover image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks


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