Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Google had been planning to unveil new features coming in Android 11 on June 3rd, but it has decided to delay the unveiling. In a tweet on Friday evening, Android’s developer account said that “We are excited to tell you more about Android 11, but now is not the time to celebrate.” Google says that it will “be back with more on Android 11, soon,” but did not say when that might be.
Although Google doesn’t explicitly say why, the reason is very clear. The announcement comes as many American cities are filled with protests, looting, and fires. The response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota has extended well beyond the conflict in Minneapolis. The Bay area where Google and most of its employees are based has seen major conflicts in both San Jose and Oakland the evening when Google made the call its event. It’s a brutal night here in the Bay area.
We are excited to tell you more about Android 11, but now is not the time to celebrate. We are postponing the June 3rd event and beta release. We’ll be back with more on Android 11, soon.
— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) May 30, 2020
As our sister site Vox.com explains:
Protests against the use of excessive force by law enforcement have surfaced around the country, including in Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, Louisville, and Columbus, following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was arrested on suspicion of forgery and pinned to the ground by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was later pronounced dead at a regional hospital.
The incident follows a series of deaths of unarmed black individuals this year, including 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Kentucky, home in March, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in an Atlanta, Georgia, neighborhood before being shot by two white men in February.
The uprisings and the government’s response to them have become incredibly serious in the past few days. Not only have feds flown an unarmed Predator drone over Minneapolis, the President’s tweet about looting led to Twitter putting it behind a warning about “glorifying violence.” That kicked off a chain of events ending with an executive order that, if it had a chance of surviving court challenges, would fundamentally change the nature of the entire internet.
On a practical level, Google surely realized few people would be in the mood to get excited about new features in Android. On a human level, delaying the launch was simply the right thing to do.