27 February, 2021

Google has just released its 3rd Developer Preview for Android 11. According to Google this update includes bug fixes and a set of productivity improvements for developers.

“Today’s release is for developers and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we’re making it available by manual download and flash for Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 devices. If you’re already running a Developer Preview build, you’ll receive an over-the-air (OTA) update to today’s release soon,” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering in Google in a blog post.

In fact, there are five big changes in Android 11 Developer Preview 3 — and one of them might not be that new:

  • Tweaks to Android 11’s exit reasons API, which allows apps to detect how and why they last exited (i.e., did they crash, and how/why, or did the user intend to leave, etc.)
  • GWP-ASan heap analysis can now be enabled for your apps, to help improve memory safety — a tool for developers, not something end-consumers will be too excited about.
  • ADB Incremental, which will make testing very large apps (like games) on devices easier for developers, making the installation process over ADB up to 10x faster. This feature is Pixel 4 and 4 XL only, for now, but all phones that launch with Android 11 will support it.
  • Data access auditing tweaks. Some APIs related to this feature, which allows developers to better audit how user data is accessed and used by their applications, have been renamed.
  • Wireless Debugging with ADB over Wi-Fi is now entirely “revamped” — though most of the changes Google touts as new, like setup without cables, a memory of paired devices, and upcoming QR codes, were already spotted in Android 11 DP2.

The article in Google Developers’ blog is motivating developers to start compatibility testing as soon as possible on a Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 device, or you can use the Android Emulator.

“Just flash the latest build, install your current production app, and test the user flows. Make sure to review the behavior changes for areas where your app might be affected. There’s no need to change the app’s targetSdkVersion at this time, although we recommend evaluating the work since many changes apply once your app is targeting the new API level,” explained Dave Burke, VP of Engineering.

The final release is expected to be available at the end of Q3.

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