It’s that time of year again, and to be clear, I’m speaking about the arrival of Android’s next iteration, the Android 12. Like previous years, Google has released the first developer preview for the next Android flavor, giving developers out there to taste before it gets on the masses’ hands.
You must be having this question in your mind, that how can you taste this new Android flavor. Well, first of all, you need a Pixel smartphone. Second, it should be a Pixel 3 or above, and voila, now install the developer preview in that Pixel of yours, and get a bite of the Snow Cone before others get it.
A statutory warning before you continue, ” Developer Preview is just for testing purposes, that’s why it’s called developer preview, so don’t install it if you want to brag about it to your dumb friends, and neither Google nor us will be responsible for any damage, either to your phone or to your bragging rights among your friends.”
What’s New in Android 12 Developer Preview?
Now it’s time to talk about Android 12’s developer preview and what’s different in the newest flavor of Android. If you’re expecting some out-of-the-universe changes, then sorry, my friends, there’s nothing in store for you, atleast for now.
We all want to know that why did Joe left the Blues Clues, but no, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the blue accent in Android 12’s developer preview. Instead of having a pitch white or black background, Android 12’s backgrounds have a bluish tint throughout the System UI.
A ‘New’ Setting
Google has refreshed the Settings app once again. The search bar is now a bit smaller, leaving some space for the profile icon.
Safety & Emergency has been given space in the menu, giving you quick access to emergency information along with car crash detection, crisis alerts, wireless emergency alerts, and a new Emergency SOS feature that enables an emergency action by pressing the power button five times or more.
As XDADevelopers Mishaal Rahman mentions, the one-handed mode in the developer preview transforms Android 12’s settings menu into Samsung One UI-like layout.
Getting Better at Notifications
Google has been focusing on improving the notifications for quite a while now, and things got a little better last year, so this time it’s just about some design overhaul. Notifications look more modern than before, and quick settings panel background and notification now have a translucent background. A tiny snooze icon on the message notification’s bottom-right allows you to snooze the notification for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour two.
The quick settings panel has received some treatment; tiles now show a light blue color instead of gray when not in use. There’s no change in the icon’s design, but they have been reshuffled; DND and Battery Saver toggles are now on the first card, and Mobile Data has been pushed back to the second page, while GPS has found its way out of the quick settings panel.
Sharing Your WiFi Password is Now Easier
Android 11 eased things quite a bit when it came to sharing WiFi passwords with your friends, but Android 12 takes it up a notch, as you can now share the WiFi credentials using Android’s Nearby Share feature, saving you that little bit of hustle.
Scrolling Through Your Screenshots?
We’ve been waiting for ages for the scrolling screenshot to make its way to the stock Android, but with Android 12, things seem to go in our favor as XDA’s Mishaal Rahman has found scrolling screenshot feature, and it’s not in its best, but he managed to work things out. Also, it’s not enabled by default, so you might not find it, but the chances are that we might see this feature in future developer previews.
More Control Over Media Controls
Now you can select which media app shows up on the notification panel and which doesn’t. It can be done simply by heading over to Settings then selecting Sound and vibration, and at last, the Media option where you’ll be getting a list of all the media apps and a toggle to select if you want media controls for that app or not.
There’s some design overhaul too. The media player is now slightly bigger than the one we saw in Android 11, with bigger artwork and an icon for the device without its name.
For now, there’s not even a slight hint of privacy indicators in the Android 12. But it seems like they’ll make their way to upcoming iterations of developer preview, as shown in leaked Android 12 images. But as spotted by XDA’s Mishaal Rehman, Google will warn you before an app turns on microphone and camera usage, even in the Camera and Recorder.
These were some of the features introduced in the latest Android flavor, but there are many others, and many of them being hidden, it will take some time to explore the developer preview. So, for the time being, sit tight and wait for another preview of Android 12’s developer preview, where we’ll delve more into the first developer preview of Android 12.
What’s in Store? – Developers Edition
There are some other behind the hood changes that oriented more towards developers as name suggests, and are meant to make the development seamless for app developers.
Compatible Media Transcoding
Nowadays, most camera apps can shoot HEVC format videos, but some apps are still incompatible with the new codec. For those apps, Google has introduced a transcoder in Android 12 that transcodes the HEVC file into AVC. It’s not an instant process; it does take some time to transcode the video depending on your phone’s hardware. For example, Pixel 4 can transcode a one-minute 1080p video at 30fps in 9 seconds. One of the best things is that the process is quite easy, you need to opt-in for the compatible media transcoding, and the feature will be activated on all the devices that record videos in HEVC format.
AVIF Image Support
Google has introduced the support for AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) in Android 12. To explain AVIF in simpler terms, the image quality gets a dramatic improvement compared to a JPEG image of the same size.
Rich Content Insertion
Who doesn’t like an app full of rich content (images, videos, and other expressive content), but it’s quite a headache for developers to insert and move this content in apps. So, to ease things up, Android 12 has introduced a unified API that lets apps accept content from any source, including clipboard, keyboard, or you can even drag and drop.
Haptic-Coupled Audio Effect
Android 12 brings audio-coupled haptic feedback using your phone’s vibrator motor to create more immersive audio and gaming experiences.
Immersive Mode API Improvements for Gesture Navigation
Android 12 simplifies the gesture navigation during the immersive mode, and according to Google, it’s now much easier and more consistent. Well, it’s just now about one swipe instead of swiping twice. Accidental touches are still being handled as they were, but now exiting full-screen experiences are much simpler.
The Project Mainline has received a new module with the Android 12 update, the Android Runtime (ART) module , that directly pushes the update to the core runtime and libraries on the devices running Android 12. So with Android 12, runtime performance and correctness, manage memory can be more efficiently, and Kotlin operations can be much faster without a full system update.
Optimizations to Foreground Service
Google has added a new expedited job in JobScheduler that gets elevated process priority and runs immediately regardless of being the phone in battery saving or doze mode, which leads to less number of apps killed in the background and smoother app performance.
These are some of the developer-focused features that Google has introduced with the Android 12 Developer Preview. Still, there are many other features intended to make the experience seamless, and if you want to know more about them, you can head to Google’s Android Developers Blog.
When is it Coming Out?
It’s just been a day since Google released the first developer preview for the Android 12. There are two more developer preview releases scheduled, ending in April. Then we have four beta releases till August, by which Google will squash most of the bugs. After then only we’ll get a stable release. So you can probably hope for a September release considering Google has a prominent record with software updates.