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Android 11 on TVs: Here's what to expect

Expect better audio and gamepad support, not to mention speed improvements.

Published onSeptember 22, 2020

Android TV channel Customization
  • Google is rolling out Android 11 on Android TV, and it’s promising a wave of new features.
  • Low-latency audio, better gamepad support, speed-ups, and privacy are part of the upgrade.
  • It may take months for the update to reach your set, however.

Google is following the mobile release of Android 11 with its equivalent for Android TV, and there are some significant improvements in store — if sometimes under the surface.

The company has confirmed that it’s rolling out the major update now, with the most obvious additions include Google Play Instant apps, quick PIN codes for content purchases, an enhanced Gboard TV keyboard, and privacy protections like one-time permission requests. You can even set inactivity prompts to make sure your Android TV device goes to sleep if you doze off.

Many of the other improvements focus on raw performance. You can expect auto low-latency audio and expanded gamepad support, including for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and Steam Controller. Google also promised that Android 11 on TVs will boast overall speed improvements through better memory management and other tweaks.

See also: The best Android TV boxes

For app makers, more shared code and upgraded testing should make it easier to bring apps to Android TVs.

Don’t expect to see the update on your set in the immediate future. Google said Android 11 will reach vendors’ TVs in the “coming months” as they develop and release variants for their own hardware. Some will be quicker than others, but you might have to wait until 2021 to see all the benefits of the new OS in your living room.

The update comes just as Google is believed to be readying a Chromecast dongle based on Android TV, which might return to the classic Google TV naming scheme. It could show up at the company’s September 30 event and might be one of the first devices to use the Android 11-based platform. If so, it might be your best bet if you insist on the latest software.