Tech launches in 2020 just took another dark turn. As protests over the death of George Floyd spilled into the weekend, Google quietly announced on Saturday that it's no longer releasing the beta for Android 11 on June 3. The public release for Android 11 is still expected later this year.
"We are excited to tell you more about Android 11, but now is not the time to celebrate," Google tweeted from its Android Developers account. We are postponing the June 3rd event and beta release. We'll be back with more on Android 11, soon."
World in peril — The postponement is one of several major setbacks for Google this year. As soon as it became apparent in-person events would not be possible due to COVID-19, Google canceled its annual I/O developer conference, which would have taken place in May.
In partial place of I/O is The Beta Launch Show, a series of 12 talks on the developments of the platform. However, because of the heaviness of what's going on in the U.S. right now, Google has smartly decided it'd be inappropriate to try to drum up excitement when the streets are literally burning.
What to expect — Google dropped the first developer beta for Android 11 in February. Since then, there have been four developer beta releases. Much of Android 11 focuses on under-the-hood improvements like 5G support, optimizations for new screens with hole punches and steep "waterfall" curved edges, AI, privacy, and more.
A newly leaked screenshot suggests Android 11 will have a new power menu with a dashboard of options that's similar to iOS. As you can see below, there's more prominent placements for buttons like "Emergency" and "Lockdown."
The screenshot also reveals built-in smart home toggles for controlling individual devices.
More event cancellations? — Nobody could have predicted COVID-19 impacting the year the way it has and the third-degree murder of Floyd has only added to the many crises. While the Android 11 beta launch is postponed, it could be a sign of things to come if the protesting continues in the coming weeks.
For example, Apple is scheduled to livestream a virtual version of its WWDC developer conference on June 22. But with the way things have transpired over the weekend — looters broke into Apple Stores forcing the company to temporarily reclose them after they just recently reopened — it might be insensitive for Apple to tout new versions of its software and maybe announce new hardware.