android 12 developer preview

Android 12: All You Need to Know About Google’s Next Big Update

Android is the most popular smartphone operating system that is running on billions of smartphones around the world. Even the tiniest of changes in the OS has the potential to affect millions of users. Google releases new Android updates from time to time. 

The first developer preview for the next major update, Android 12, is right around the corner. The new release is expected to bring about many improvements.  Continue reading to know everything about Android 12 so far.

Android 12 Developer Preview

Android 12 Developer Preview is all set to release on 17th February 2021. The earlier Android 11 released in Feb 2020 gave developers more time to adapt their apps to the new platform behaviors and APIs update. 

The Android 12 Developer Previews will further allow developers to begin platform migration and start the adaption process for their apps. Google is expected to detail most of the major platform changes in the previews to inform the major features in the Android ecosystem.

What’s new with Android 12? List of New Features

There is no doubt about the Android app development platform maturing over the years. This new release is expected to bring a fair few goodies to the Android users around the world.  Here are some essential unique features Google is bringing in its new Android release.

UI Refresh

Android 12 is expected to have a UI refresh extending from the homescreen all through the UX. 

This new notifications panel UI can be seen in one of the screenshots with an opaque background and more pronounced rounded corners for each notification. There seem to be four Quick Settings tiles that are bigger in size instead of the usual six. The date and time that appears on the top left of the notifications panel has been interchanged. The top right of the notifications panel shows new icons, presumably for privacy features in Android 12.

Widget Changes

In terms of changes to the widgets, there now seems to be a ‘Conversations’ widget that may show recent messages, missed calls, or activity statuses, the report states. “Conversation Widgets” might even turn out to be a mandatory feature for all Android 12 devices. There are also ‘People Shortcuts’ that provide quick information on a contact- avatar, name, notification content, and status information etc.

Privacy Setting Changes

The “Privacy” settings within Android could also see a revamp with Android 12. The new Privacy settings may contain toggles to disable the camera and mute the microphone entirely, in addition to toggling location access. You can already disable all sensors on your device using the “sensors off” Quick Setting tile, but this tile can only be shown once you enable Developer Options. 

Scrolling Screenshots

This is one of the most anticipated new features of Android 12. This feature will allow you to take a screenshot of a lengthy page without having to manually stitch together multiple screenshots. 

Expanded Theming System

The expanded theming system in Android 12 may allow users to change the system’s primary color and accent colors and also apply those colors to supported third-party applications. The OS may even offer theme suggestions based on the wallpaper, which could explain the beige tones on the leaked screenshots.

Restricted Networking Mode

Google was spotted working on a new restricted networking mode feature for Android 12, though it may not be the system-level firewall that you’re probably wishing it to be.

When this new restricted networking mode is turned on, only apps that hold the CONNECTIVITY_USE_RESTRICTED_NETWORKS permission will be allowed to use the network. Since this permission can only be granted to privileged system applications and/or applications signed by the OEM, network access will be blocked for all applications installed by the user. 

Hibernating Unused Apps

One of the commits spotted in the run-up to the Android 12 Developer Preview indicates that Google could be adding a new app hibernation feature. The app hibernation system service “manages app hibernation state, a state apps can enter that means they are not being actively used and can be optimized for storage.” This app hibernation feature will automatically clear an app’s cache files and delete its compilation artifact files. The amount of space that will be freed up by deleting these files likely won’t be a lot, especially compared to the file sizes of cached images or videos.

Decoupled Emojis

Android 12 will fix one of the more minor annoyances in Android. Whenever Unicode gets new emojis, we need to wait for an OS update to reach our phones before we can actually make them a part of our Internet lingo. Google is making it easier to receive new emojis by decoupling them from Android system updates. This means that new emojis can be added to phones by simply pushing an updated font file instead of requiring a full system update just for this change.

Ultra-Wideband API

Samsung was the first Android OEM to incorporate Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology to aid in precise indoor positioning of smart home devices and high-speed peer-to-peer data transmission. Xiaomi also planned to get onboard with UWB, and we can surely expect many other Android OEMs to also jump on board. To deal with this new technology, Google added an API to AOSP to support UWB.

Wi-Fi Password Sharing with Nearby Share

This feature let you share the generated QR code with other users using Android’s Nearby Share feature. Since Nearby Share does not require physical contact or scanning of any codes, this would make it easier to share the password across a room, if needed. The commit for the feature has been merged, so we can expect to see it make its way to Android 12.

Install Hints

 “Install Hints” is another feature that can be used to speed up the installation of important apps on new Android phones. The feature let app stores decide which compiler filter to use when bulk installing new apps so that you quickly set up your new phone. This feature is primarily intended for the app store, namely Google Play Store in this context, which will get the ability to prioritize the most-used apps from the older device and install them quicker on the new phone.

Ease-of-Use for Third-Party App Stores

Android as an OS allows users to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. But when Epic Games filed its lawsuit against Google (and Apple), the company complained that users have to grant permissions that used dissuasive language in installing apps outside of the Play Store. Further, such sideloading mechanisms lack the ability to silently install and update apps, placing third-party app stores at an inherent disadvantage against the Google Play Store.

Note: This news was previously published at XDA Developers.

Conclusion

Google has not confirmed the official release date of Android 12 yet it is expected to arrive soon. 

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About Author:
Author Rashmi Kanti is a passionate content writer & a blogger having written numerous blogs for IT domain. Being into the Blogging world for the past 5 years, she is presently contributing technology loaded articles & blogs regularly to QSS Technosoft. Rashmi has a proficient knowledge of the latest market trends in the mobile & web applications and expresses herself a big technology geek.

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