Google has put the Android 11 developer preview for Pixel phones live roughly a month earlier than it normally does. The scheme lets developers download and use a very early build of the next Android version in order to see how it acts with their apps and to feedback to Google to help iron out bugs.
If you are a developer, you have to manually flash the new, unstable Android 11 build onto a compatible Pixel 2, 3, 3a or 4.
Later public beta versions of Android 11 are likely to be available on more handsets.
Changes to Android 11 were detailed in a Google blog post and include new APIs for 5G support, better support for foldable screen, updates that limit background location access for all apps unless the user opts in, and a screen recording feature (which is long-overdue).
A “scoped storage” update will also limit how apps can monitor storage outside of their own silo on your device, like how the iPhone treats apps. Changes like this often affect the wider system in unexpected ways, hence the early release of the preview today.
Developer previews often don’t have many immediately interesting consumer-facing changes though – these changes and announcements are normally saved for Google I/O in May where it’s possible we’ll also see the launch of the Pixel 4a.
It also looks as though Android 11 will indeed support chat bubbles natively for apps that want to build it in, in the way Facebook Messenger currently offers.