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A first look: Android 11’s new menu could be the easiest way to control your Smart Home

In recent times, we’ve heard rumours that the power button menu on phones running Android 11 will be revamped into a whole new control centre. At the time, XDA Developers claimed that the new control centre will have easy access to IoT devices within your home—which speaks volumes about the potential of Smart Homes as a whole.

Now, we’re getting our best look so far at what Android 11’s new power button menu could look like, thanks to some purported screenshots shared by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter. Before we go any further, here’s how your Android device could look like when Android 11 is finally given an official release:

As you can see, there is now a carousel of debit/credit cards below the standard power buttons, where you can have easy access to your virtual cards. This is in line with the current trend in the market of virtual cards, such as the Samsung Money Card, the Apple Card, and the Huawei Card. What’s a little more interesting is the arrangement of the tile-like buttons right below the cards: Quick Controls.

The Quick Controls essentially give you an easy way to control your Smart Home’s IoT devices, and integration with the Google Home app is all but certain here (I mean, Android is from Google after all). It isn’t yet clear if cross compatibility with other Smart Home platforms will be available, but regardless—I’m a fan of this idea.

Rahman even suggests that live camera feeds will be displayed in Quick Controls, although it probably won’t be a realtime feed—or it will refresh “very very slowly”. This is an educated guess based on the “Dog cam” tile at the bottom-right corner of the screenshot above.

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Just like regular Android menus and shortcuts, you should be able to arrange and prioritise certain devices and settings, as evidenced by another screenshot:

Previously, controlling your Smart Home devices proved to be a rather cumbersome process. You’d need to manually open the Google Home app on your mobile device, and tweak settings from there; personally, I’ve used Google Assistant as an easy way to control IoT devices at home. The revamped Quick Controls menu is probably going to be significantly more convenient than that, with the menu set to be available by simply long-pressing the power button.

For now, we don’t have a confirmed date for the launch of Android 11 (and yes, I miss the candy-inspired names too). Google I/O was canceled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, so we’ll just have to wait and see.