Google postpones beta version launch of Android 11 amid social unrest in the US

The company was expected to release the first beta version of the upcoming operating system on June 3

FILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Federal and state regulators in the U.S. are preparing to file antitrust lawsuits alleging Google has abused its dominance of online search and advertising to stifle competition and and boost its profits, according to a report published Friday, May 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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Google is postponing the release of the beta, or test, version of its Android 11 operating system amid civil unrest in the US, triggered by the death of an African-American man in police custody.

The search engine giant did not specify the surge in protests as a reason for delaying the launch, but said in a statement on Twitter that “we are excited to tell you more about Android 11, but now is not the time to celebrate”.

“We are postponing the June 3 event and beta release. We'll be back with more on Android 11, soon,” the Alphabet-owned company tweeted.

Google did not respond to The National's request for further comments.

The company's move to delay the release of the beta version comes as protests break out in several US cities after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, during an arrest in Minneapolis on Monday.

The victim was handcuffed and died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The tragedy was filmed and later shared online, sparking wide-spread protests.

The company based in California, one of the states hit hard by violent protests, was first scheduled to launch the beta version of its mobile operating system at Google I/O - its biggest event of the year - on May 12. However,  the three-day event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Google moved the launch to an online event on June 3.

The Android team said it is “collaborating remotely and prioritising the well-being of our families, friends and colleagues”.

The company has already released the fourth version of the developer preview of Android 11 earlier this month. Though not very different from the third version that was launched last month, it gave developers more time to get their apps tested and improve performance.

Developer preview has revealed many new features in Android 11 such as native screen recording, motion sense gestures and notification history functionality.

Android is one of the most widely-used operating systems, with about 2.5 billion active devices worldwide. In the second quarter of 2018, nearly 88 per cent of all smartphones sold used the Android operating system, according to market researcher Statista.

Google is expected to release three beta versions of Android 11 – one each in June, July and August –  before the final release in the third quarter of this year.

The company has not announced the final date of release, but it is expected before the #MadebyGoogle event where the company usually unveils the next Pixel device in October every year.

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