Android 11 update DP3 released: What's new?

The newest Google-made edition of mobile software, Android 11 DP3, was released today with little fanfare. This understates the importance of this release, as several features appearing this afternoon might well change the way you use your smartphone. One of the changes that might seem small now, but do mean big things for the future – like USB Ethernet tethering.

5. Ethernet tethering

This update adds Ethernet tethering to the "Hotspot & tethering" menu in Android settings. This option is toggled the same as Bluetooth tethering and USB tethering, but focuses specifically on USB Ethernet. You might need a USB-C Ethernet adapter to make this a reality, but it'll work here, at last!

The implication here is that you'll be able to use and/or share your 5G connection and/or your Wi-Fi 6 connection between mobile devices and your desktop or laptop device. Whatever's fastest, you'll be able to share, in as many ways as you like.

4. Chat Bubbles

There's a new pop-up today for Chat Bubbles, with this newest update. Chat using bubbles, says the update. New conversations appear as floating icons, or bubbles. Tap to open bubble. Drag to move it. This works iwth Google's apps – or, presumably, any other chat app that integrates the bubbles as Google suggests.

You might be reminded of another system very similar to this that's been around for... several years. It was first called Chat Heads, introduced by Facebook with Messenger. That was back when Facebook thought it a good idea to introduce their own mobile software on top of Android – but... that didn't turn out very well. Facebook Home was too all-encompasing for its own good.

Now Google lets you keep the best part for any other chat app. Just like Tasker did in the year 2019.

3. Gesture Sensitivity

The latest update brings some new adjustment levels for gesture sensitivity. Instead of including both left and right edges in the same batch, Android will (for phones that support the system) allow adjustments to Left Edge and Right Edge sensitivity (Low to High) for touch sensitivity for gestures.

2. Volume is Sound

If you're using a Pixel device and you've loaded Android 11 DP3 today, you've likely adjusted your Sound levels. The menu that used to be titled Volume is now titled Sound. That seems to be the extent of the change, here.

Oddly, it would appear that each individual element on the list of Sound levels is still called "volume." So you've got a Sound list of sliders, with titles Media volume, Call volume, Ring & notification volume, and Alarm volume. Probably better heirarchy this way – and less redundancy.

1. Dismiss notifications - ALL notifications

You can now dismiss "ongoing notifications" like never before. The notifications you've seen sticking around that you've only otherwise been able to remove by removing forever, entirely. Now you've got the opportunity to push those to the side – at least for a while. We'll see how long this lasts.

If you're looking for the link to the software itself, head over to Android 11 downloads for Pixel or go back to our first article for this release. There we speak a bit about why you shouldn't download Android 11 yet – not unless you're really, truly a developer with a green thumb for growing fixes.