So I review the new features inside Android 11, I said that Android is amature operating system. What that means is that unless some designer inside Google has a wild-eyed hare brained idea, things just aren’t goingto radically change that much in a mature OS. Instead, the updates are gonna be about cleaning up some bugs or fixing some security and privacy issues or adding new features. But the thing about adding new features is that if you don’t do it right, you end up just over whelming the user. It all becomes this weird slurry of things that you just completely ignore. I mean, look at every single Samsung phone from like the Galaxy S3 to the Galaxy S8 if you want a good example of that. 

If you don’t wanna bear your user in check boxes, what you have to do is manage complexity. And that is the real job of a mature operating system, managing complexity. So for this review of Android 11, the big question is whether or not Google pulled that off. And my answer is barely,and I think I can explain why I point at this thing that a lot of us do when we get new software, it’s the very first thing that I do after a big update, it’s that I go to the settings. I poke around and see what’s new inside the settings because often a lot of the new features, they’re just sitting in there waiting to be toggled. It really is a pretty good way to learn what you can do in new software. It’s like a site map, but for operating systems. 

So, all right, let’s talk about the new features in Android 11, but through the settings app. I promise this will be fun, no, really. so  look at the settings app with me. So the first setting I wanna look at is bubbles. So you got to Apps Notifications,Notifications, Bubbles, and you make sure it’s turned on. But the thing to actually pay attention to is what happens when you get a notification from a chat app like Android Messages or Facebook Messenger or whatever. Firstly, they appear in the section at the top of your notifications called Conversations. And this section is awesome. It means that you don’t miss chats in the mix of all of the other notifications you get from all those other apps you don’t care about. And it also means you can do stuff like mute notifications on a given chat thread because it’s really, really busy, but that doesn’t mean you’re gonna miss it even though it’s muted ’cause it’s still sitting at the top of your notifications.

 I really love it. Anyway, bubbles, if you look at the notification, you’re gonna see a little box in the lower right-handcorner of the notification. There’s one version of it that has an arrow pointing to a circle,that’s to turn bubbles on, or an arrow pointing away from a circle to the turn bubbles off. I think this icon is confusing and weird, but I guess the squarerepresents a notification and the circle is a bubble. Anyway, you tap it to toggle bubble mode on or off for any given conversation. Now, when you bubble a conversation, it turns into this littlecircle that you could put anywhere on the screen,and then you tap on it. It opens up the chat threadand then you can chat. And you can intermix services. So you could have a stackof three or four or five different chat appsall in a single bubble, and tap and toggle between them. And this is great because it lets you have a conversation withsomebody going for a while, really quick, whileyou’re doing other stuff.


 And then you can just toss the thing away when you’re done chattingwith that person. Now, I know the firsttime you see bubbles, it’s weird to have thisthing pop up on your screen. You’re probably gonna want to turn it off, but honestly, give ’em a shot. I ended up liking bubblesway more than I expected to. Okay, as long as we’re talkingabout the notification shade, there is another new thing up here. Your media controls areno longer interspersed throughout the top of your notifications. They’re up there with your quick settings. That’s just how it works now. But there is one settingthat you can check. So you go to Sound, Media, Hide Player. and you can turn this off. And I have it turned off. Disabling it means thatyour media controls will stick around for awhile, even if you pause them. It creates some extra space in the shade, but it’s worth it becausethen you can go there and play paused stuff more quickly. And the media player itself, it’s the same buttons as before, but if you’ve played somethingfrom a few different apps, say Spotify and then YouTubeand then Pocket Casts, instead of having all those stacked up in your notifications one after the other, now you swipe between themhorizontally in this new section. And so that’s really neat.

 Also, don’t miss the output button inside this new media section, which lets you selectwhere the audio is going. It would be pretty niceif this output things, some more things than, you know, just basically Bluetooth things, but maybe that’s something forthe next version of Android. Okay, the next new bigfeature in Android 11 is Google’s new Power Menu, which combines three kind of random things under a long press of the power button. So you’ve got Power controls, Google Pay, and then Smart Home controls.


 Google says this is likeyour phone’s interface to the real physical world, which sure. This is where I think Google’sattempt to manage

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