Not to be outdone by Apple and tvOS 14, Google has quietly released the Android 11 Developer Preview for Android TV.
Unlike the regular Android 11 Developer Preview for phones, there isn’t an easy way for ordinary consumers to get their hands on this new TV software since it’s only available on an Android TV dev kit. Notably, this is the same dev kit that went on sale earlier this year. You can buy one from a website called Askey, but it will cost you $79.99 USD (roughly $109.21 CAD), plus another $32.79 USD (about $44.98 CAD) in shipping.
That said, we can’t vouch for how stable a kit is, so we’d recommend skipping on trying to enter this beta. Also, the Android Beta website even says that this isn’t for “consumer use.”
However, it’s comforting to know that Google is working on Android TV 11. Google told Android Police that the beta’s user interface is the same as Android TV 10 since most of the changes are behind the scenes. This means the company is likely using this beta to focus on features like device and location permissions, privacy enhancements and other quality of life improvements.
Last year Google made several changes to Android TV to make it easier to update the TV operating system.
Android TV might not seem like Google’s main priority since it only sells Chromecast devices at the moment. That said, there are concrete rumours that the search giant is releasing a new Android TV dongle that’s roughly the size of a Chromecast while still offering the full Android TV experience. Until that device appears, you can get Android TV by buying a Nvidia Sheild or a supported Smart TV.
You can read more about the rumoured dongle — codenamed ‘Sabrina’ — in our previous breakdown. It’s expected to feature a low-latency gaming mode for Stadia, support for Dolby Vision/HDR 10, and a remote that’s begging to get lost in your couch cushions.