Back in February, Google released the first Android 11 Developer Preview for Pixel smartphones (except for the 2016 Pixels). The company aimed to release two more Developer Previews before opening up the beta for non-Pixel devices. Google released the second Android 11 DP in March, and today, they’re following up with Android 11 Developer Preview 3. The third Developer Preview adds one major feature and makes a few other tweaks to existing ones introduced in earlier DPs. Here’s what has changed.
What’s new in Android 11 Developer Preview 3
App exit reasons updates
In Android 11, apps can retrieve a record of the reasons behind the most recent app deaths using the new getHistoricalProcessExitReasons method in the ActivityManager class. The new ApplicationExitInfo class details the information that apps can retrieve for their historical exit reasons, which can include factors like the system running low on memory, a native code crash, a runtime permission change, excessive resource usage, etc. These APIs have been updated in Developer Preview 3 based on developer feedback, which Google is actively seeking.
GWP-ASan heap analysis
Earlier Android 11 Developer Previews added a number of tools to help developers find and fix memory safety issues. The latest is GWP-ASan (also known by its recursive backronym “GWP-ASan Will Provide Allocation Sanity”), a “sampling allocation tool that detects heap memory errors with minimal overhead or impact on performance.” In Android 11 Developer Preview 3, GWP-ASan is enabled by default in platform binaries and system apps but developers can also enable it for their applications as well. Google recommends doing so if your app uses native code of libraries.
Google wants to make it faster for developers to install large APKs so they’re introducing a new ADB Incremental feature. This feature can make installing large APKs (2GB+) from a PC to a phone up to 10X faster than before. In Android 11 Developer Preview 3, developers can install an incremental APK using the “adb install –incremental” command in the latest ADB binary. APKs must be signed with the new APK Signature Scheme v4 format, which generates a signature in a separate file. This feature also requires that the device support the new Incremental File System, which is currently only supported by the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Google says that all Android 11 launch devices will support the Incremental File System and hence ADB Incremental.
Wireless ADB is now easier than ever in Android 11 with the new “wireless debugging” option in Developer Options. We first saw this feature in Android 11 Developer Preview 2, but Google never emphasized it was there. You can currently pair your phone to a PC using the pairing code workflow, but Google says they plan to add a QR code scanning workflow in a future Android Studio release.
Data access auditing updates
Finally, Google has updated the new data access auditing APIs in Android 11 Developer Preview 3. Specifically, Google has renamed several of the APIs, so make sure to update your app if you’re using any of them. A sample application can be found here. Feedback can be given here.
Download Android 11 Developer Preview 3
You can go here to see the full API diff between Android 11 DP2 and DP3, but we’ll, of course, be on the lookout for any notable changes that Google hasn’t publicized. You can read the release notes here, which we recommend doing before you download and flash the update. Lastly, be sure to go here to file any bug reports and here to discuss the latest release.
We’ll have links to download the latest system images for Google Pixel devices and Project Treble-compatible devices on this page. You can either flash the builds manually or use the Android Flash Tool to do it for you. If you don’t have a compatible device, you can run the preview build in Android Studio’s Android Emulator.
This is the third and final Developer Preview. There will be 2 beta releases which will include non-Pixel devices followed by the stable release sometime in Q3.For all the latest Android 11 news, bookmark this tag:
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