Android 11 is known as Red Velvet Cake within Google, but you probably won’t hear it called by this engineering code name – at least, away from tech websites!
The All About Android podcast interviewed Google’s Android VP of Engineering, Dave Burke, and during the conversation, he alluded to the up-and-coming Android’s engineering codename – and many other things! Burke talked about some of the changes being implemented in Android 11 as well as teased something exciting coming in the next couple of weeks.
We are expecting just one more beta version of Android 11 before the new release is finalized, with Burke explaining that Google delayed the schedule by two weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Google’s development tools required work during the transition to work from home and the team lost “seven to eight percent” productivity. He also talked about how the engineering team has considered Android 11 to be based around the theme of “people first,” rather than on implementing new features into the platform. This is seen throughout the operating system, including the improvements in handling incoming messages, the smart reply feature appears in all applications and changes to how the lock button can now be used to set up smart home features.
The podcast discussed the touchy issue of OEM-customized Android platforms killing background applications. Burke made the point that those devices appearing on the website dontkillmyapp.com typically offered the best battery life, which is important to users. At this time, Google does not have a definitive answer but his team is implementing several new features to help. One is that the platform tells the user that an application has been killed, and another is maintaining a whitelist of apps to keep running. Burke also highlighted how Google needed to make the platform “more resilient,” so manufacturers do not feel the aggressively kill apps in order to preserve battery life.
One new feature that Burke is proud of is how Android 11 will support virtual A/B partitions. Currently, Google has implemented A/B partitions as a means of enabling seamless updates for devices – the device maintains two separate operating system partitions. The device runs using one partition and new software updates are applied to the other partition. Currently, A/B partitions require the handset to have additional partitions set up before Android is installed, but virtual A/B partitions will simplify the requirements for device manufacturers. This, ultimately, should help manufacturers release software updates in a more timely manner, and could encourage longer software support windows.
You can watch the near-90 minute All About Android podcast right here:
Source: Android Police