The eleventh major release of the Android mobile operating system seems to be coming close to reality having scaled the fourth Google Developer preview on the May 6th, but, one feature that has caught the eye amongst others is a security change to shake up the way people install apps from third-party sources.
Yet another scary update!
It is worth noting that Android releases to the 10th edition (Android 10) of the Android operating system allowed users to install apps through ‘APK’ files for some time. That means anyone can download an APK from outside the Play Store and install it on their phone.
For example, if you download an APK with your web browser, it won’t let you install it without permission for your web browser to handle unknown apps.
On Android 10 and older, this process was quite simple. Users downloaded an app, a pop-up would say they need to grant permission. Tapping the ‘Settings’ button in the pop-up would send users to the app’s settings so they could enable the permission. Then, tapping or swiping to go back would generate a second pop-up asking to install the APK.
Everything seems to change in the Android 11 with details gotten from a Google Issue Tracker thread reveals that Android 11 will force-close apps after users grant permission to install unknown apps.
However, Android 11 completely will hope to disrupt that process.
Instead of allowing users back to the installation page for the app, it will force close that app once users grant it the permission. Then, you have to head back to the app and start the process over from the beginning.
Why is Google Doing this?
Much has been made of internet security, flaws in the Android OS compared to the iOS, and how best to guard user data and files against breaches.
Google seems to be placing privacy at the fore-front in it’s next Android release by introducing a Scoped Storage feature that provides each app an isolated section of storage and limited access to the Android filesystem, instead of granting full access like Android currently does.
Basically, what this means is a critical change that could prevent apps from snooping around your files. However, Scoped Storage also comes with some issues, such as reduced read and write speeds which could makes the process of installing APKs more worrisome altogether.
Essentially, the issue stems from Android 11’s new ‘Scoped Storage’ file management system though the search giant provided more detail on what could be causing the problem on the tracker thread:
“The way the filesystem and storage mounts are setup in Android R has changed significantly. When an app starts without this permission, it gets a view of the filesystem that doesn’t allow writing to certain directories (eg Android/obb). Once the app has been granted this permission, that view is no longer accurate, and needs to be updated to a view that allows the app to write to certain directories. With the way the filesystem has been setup in R, changing that view on the fly is not possible. As mentioned in comment #16, we’re evaluating internally. I’m just providing additional details why this doesn’t work the way it did on Q.”
Android 11 might be near-ready to be pushed out to the public but issues like this isin’t ideal and would need a fix the ensure smooth transition for the great Android Community.
PS: Android 11 is due for release to the public later this year but you might want to try out this guide to install the Developer preview.
Mediatek unveils Helio G95 gaming Processor for budget smartphones, could debut on Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7
Adding to its ever-growing portfolio and stern competition to it’s Qualcomm counterpart, Taiwanese chipmaker, Mediatek has announced a new gaming Chipset for the Helio G90 series. The Helio G95 SoC offers a 5% boost in GPU performance over the G90T though the rest of the feature set is identical to the latter.
With the G95, MediaTek aims at closing the huge gap existing between the mid-range and flagship gaming smartphone segment and the first phone to use this processor could be the Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7 with both due for official releases on September 3.
The G90T ended up on phones like the Redmi Note 8 and Note 9 Pro and Realme 6 , so the odds are on we likely get to see more phones with the G95 chip launch in the final lap of the third quarter of the year.
Here’s everything the Mediatek Helio G95 has on offer
Mediatek Helio G95 Features
Essentially, it would be best to understand that the Helio G95 SoC is an overclocked G90T processor, in that it comes with an upgraded Mali-G76 GPU running at 900MHz. The G90T, on the other hand, is equipped with a Mali-G57 GPU that’s running at 800MHz.
Features like HyperEngine game technology, multi-camera support of upto 4 sensors and an APU (AI processing unit) are also very much welcome. The chip also supports upto HDR10+ enhancement quality in real-time.
The G95 processor is manufactured using the 12nm fabrication process and has two Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.05GHz while the six power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores can run upto 2.0GHz.
MediaTek’s famed HyperEngine game technology is responsible for optimizing the gaming experience to provide the best connection speed, picture quality and ensures a smooth gameplay experience on budget devices. There are several customisation options that users can fine-tune further.
Furthermore, Helio G95 chipset supports upto 10GB LPDDR4x RAM, UFS 2.1 storage, upto Full HD+ displays with 90Hz refresh rate and dual 4G SIM cards.
Additionally, the chip can be paired with upto 64MP cameras with upto 4K UHD rerecording.
The MediaTek Helio G95 will power many phones set to launch in September. The first of such as confirmed by Naijatechguy could be the Tecno Camon 16 set to launch on September 3 in India.
The smartphone has been teased with stunning bezeles display, a 64MP camera unit with Samsung’s GM1 or Sony’s IMX686 sensor here which could all play into the hands of the new Helio G95 processor.
Android 11 Beta 2 Update Released, Emphasis on App Compatibility and Platform Stability Ahead of Public launch
The 11th iteration of Google’s Operating System – the Android 11 has initially been released for selected smartphones. But recent developments have seen the Android 11 Beta 2 released by Google for all compatible Google Pixel phones.
With the new release, Android 11 has reached the Platform Stability milestone, which means that the APIs and behaviours included in Android 11 are finalised now.
Pretty buggy wordings right? Don’t worry, hang on here with me.
Google seems to prioritize app stability in it’s latest Beta release and is calling on developers to start updating their apps to target Android 11 and make them ready for its official release that will take place in the third quarter.
Although the search giant hasn’t yet revealed the release date of Android 11, it is briefly suggested that it could be September 8, the exact same timing for its Android 10 release last year.
Also, Google made sure to fix most errors reported with the first Beta release and even went on to throw in more spice therein. We will have an expansive look at everything new in Android 11 Beta 2 in a giffy.
Everything new in the Android 11 Beta 2 Update
One of the major changes that Android 11 Beta 2 brings over the existing beta release that debuted last month is its Platform Stability reach.
Essentially, the “Platform Stability verification means that all app-facing surfaces and behaviors are now final in Android 11 ,” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android, in a blog post. “This includes not only final SDK and NDK APIs, but also final system behaviors and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces that may affect apps. So from Beta 2, you can release compatibility updates with assurance that the platform won’t change.”
Moreover, the Android team confirmed all major requirements are at their final stage for the new beta version, hence, developers are encouraged to start their compatibility testing and publish updates ahead of the official public Android 11 release.
Another major stress point for the recently released Android 11 Beta 2 is its special attention to app compatibility which really cannot be overemphasized.
This means that Google has brought the new beta 2 version to give a ground to developers to make sure that their apps run flawlessly without downtimes and crashes. Developers can test their apps either on an Android 11 Beta 2 device or using the latest emulator available on Android Studio.
“With each release, we’re working to reduce the work you’ll need to do to get your apps ready,” said Burke. “In Android 11, we’ve added new processes, developer tools, and release milestones to minimise the impact of platform updates and make it easier for apps to stay compatible.”
Now, I know I told you to stick by but all the jargons really doesn’t make much sense to you right? And I guess you really asking
What Android 11 Beta 2 release means for you the end user?
Is it really close to public launch or what? Just hit the godammn nail on the head will you!
Well, in a nut shell, it theoritically means we are gradually getting to the finishing line.
For end users, Android 11 Beta 2 doesn’t include any major surprises over what we already received through the last beta release. You’ll, however, get a list of interface changes that are offered to enhance the overall user experience.
One of the noticeable changes that Android 11 Beta 2 brings is the updated Pixel Launcher that no longer has transparency, as detailed by XDA Developers.
A Smooth Display toggle has also been added to the Display settings to let users easily enable automatic switching from 60 to 90Hz for select content. The existing Force 90Hz option in the Developer options menu has also been removed, as highlighted by some users on Reddit.
Google has also removed some clutter from the Share Sheet available on Android 11 Beta 2 and made a pin icon available for the apps that are pinned on the Share Sheet.
The default screen recording option on Android which has often been a headache for Android users also gets a major addition. Android 11 Beta 2 comes with the ability to record the device’s internal audio while capturing the screen. This is in addition to the existing audio recording from microphone option. You can also use the new addition to record the device’s audio as well as from its microphone simultaneously.
Moving on, a new icon to let you launch a conversation in a bubble has also been added. Similarly, the Allow apps to show bubbles option is now enabled by default for all apps to show conversations in bubbles. The list of supported apps, however, is currently not so populated and includes only renowned names such as Facebook Messenger and Google’s Messages Apps.
Developers have also received a cached apps freezer option that appears to “suspend execution for cached apps,” as noticed by XDA Developers. However, the Android team is yet to reveal the purpose of the new addition.
There is also a pre-installed app called Device Drop Monitor that uses the built-in sensors of the device to detect its dropping and log the duration of the freefall. Once the app detects a fall, it shows a notification to the user and asks them to complete a brief survey to provide details about the accident, as reported by XDA Developers.
This is crazy and one very essential for smartphones and pixel phones which will support pop-up camera module going forward.
Google says it will give users feedbacks after completing the survey that says the user inputs “will help improve the design on future Pixel devices.”
Finally, Google seems to have made the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode a little more functional in the latest Android 11 Beta 2 update.
Early Android 11 beta testers, are reporting a limited resizability handling to the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) window in the Android 11 Beta 2. Also present is a dedicated settings for Conversations.
Furthermore, XDA Developers has noticed that the new media player that debuted in the earlier Android 11 Beta release is now available in the Quick Settings panel by default. This means that you don’t need to enable the Developer options menu to activate the new design.
Also, there is a reported new ripple animation effect that appears when you hit the play/ pause button on the media player available in the Quick Settings panel.
All in all, early impressions suggest Android 11 promises to come with a hench of features which definitely will mean more internal storage space options is needed.
Android 10 already gave birth to enormous storage options in smartphones, and with the continuous update been rolled out, we feel devices running or users hopping to update to the new OS should definitely have this at the back of their mind.
When could Google release Android 11 stable update?
We already mentioned how Google usually release it’s premier Operating System in the third quarter of the year, though the latest beta debut suggest we could already have a set date on our hands for the Android 11 stable release.
The search giant hosted a “Hey Google” Smart Home Summit in which it included a slide showcasing a “Checklist for September 8th Android 11 launch,” XDA Developers
Android 10 was launched in September last year. Thus, it makes sense for Google to launch its new iteration after one year. However, with the Global pandemic that is the Coronavirus pandemic pushing schedules to the extreme, no official communication on the release date has been made so far.