Android 11 was announced almost a year ago in the form of a Developer Preview and, after also passing through a public Beta phase, it was officially released in September 2020.
The first devices to receive it were Google’s Pixels, and many more have followed in recent months. Although Android 11 is far from being the most popular version of the OS in the world, the time has already come to talk about Android 12.
In recent weeks, there have been several rumors about the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 12. In addition to the leaked information, there are others that can be deduced with sufficient confidence based on what has happened in the past years for previous versions of the ‘OS.
So here’s everything we know about Android 12, which should see the light in the coming weeks!
Android 12: code name
Although Google has abandoned the practice of officially giving new versions of Android the name of a dessert since the tenth iteration of the operating system, this does not mean that the engineers and programmers within the company have not continued with this nice tradition.
The Mountain View company has not yet officially confirmed what Xda Developers discovered, however it seems that Android 12 is codenamed Snow Cone.
Just as happened for Android 11 Red Velvet Cake, name confirmed only by an easter egg placed on the official AR statue created for the announcement of the final version, the sweet from which the twelfth version of Android takes its name would have been discovered in the source code. , recognizable by the prefix “sc“.
What new features excluded from Android 11 will there be in Android 12?
As often happens in the development of such complex software, some of the functions that were provided for a version are then excluded at the last minute because they are not complete or not properly finished. This has happened several times in the history of Android and, very often, these features finally come into the hands of the general public at the next release of the operating system.
In Android 11, for example, there should have been a useful gesture (in the code identified as “Columbus”) that allowed users to double tap on the rear body of the phone to activate various functions, such as:
- Activate Google Assistant
- Take screenshots
- Play / Pause in multimedia playback
- Open the notification area
- Show the recent apps screen
This feature would serve to replace Active Edge, which allowed you to “squeeze” the sides of the smartphone to call Google Assistant on Pixel smartphones, a function not present on the recent Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
Android 12: thing changes?
Since this is what is called a Major Upgrade, a substantial update, there will be many new features in Android 12. Google has not yet uttered a word about it however, thanks to the usual leaks surrounding the launch of a hardware or software product, we already have could peek at what Google has in store for us.
New user interface (UI)
A first look at what should be the new graphic interface of Android 12 was offered to us by the always attentive colleagues of the Xda Developers portal.
The first images finished on the net are not real Android 12 screenshots, however they are mockups made by Google to be included in a document dedicated to OEMs.
In the screenshots, quite important changes are visible regarding the home screen, the Camera app and the notification area. A general change to the system user interface and its colors is also visible, probably the result of an improvement in the theme system.
The company would like to review the layout of the lockscreen and the always on display as well as take care of the UI of the patterned lock screen and the Quick Toggles. There will be a lot to talk about when Android 12 is official!
These changes in the design language would have been called by the American company with the name of Material Design NEXT even if the source doubts this is the final name that will be used.
Automatic rotation based on face recognition
At the moment there are two possible ways to manage the rotation of the user interface shown on the display to adapt to the orientation of the smartphone: automatic rotation, based on the smartphone sensors, or blocking of the interface, which can still be rotated if necessary with a small button that is shown when the device is rotated.
With Android 12, a smarter version of this feature could be added, which would be based on the use of the camera. The smartphone would check if someone is looking at the device and would check the orientation of the head with respect to it and then rotate it if necessary.
As Google 9to5 recalls, for obvious privacy reasons this camera-based control will take place entirely on the device and will not save or send images to any remote server.
Google would be working on a new “GameManager serice” for Android 12. GameManager is described by Xda Developers as a “service to manage game-related features”. For example, the service can “manage game mode and [make] data persist” after reboot.
No further details are available regarding the function but it is suspected that it is an API dedicated to games to activate a basic “game mode” on devices. This “game mode” could handle some basic settings like auto brightness and rotation, DND mode and more.
Google would also be working on a Bluetooth API that will allow games to detect the battery level of wireless controllers connected to the smartphone. This will allow the game to notify you when your controller is about to shut down, giving you time to find a save point and then reload the controller.
“Reduce brightness” button
Also from Xda Developers, an inexhaustible source of information, we learned that Google is developing a new feature called Reduce Brightness. This feature, originally called “Reduce Bright Colors” during development, is intended as an accessibility feature to help those with low vision that can be activated from the quick setting buttons.
With the increasing size of screens, it is increasingly difficult to control every aspect of modern smartphones with one hand. That’s why Google would be implementing a new function dedicated to just this that should find its place in Settings> System> Gesture> One-handed mode.
It is not yet known how this feature will work, however we do not believe it is dissimilar to the implementations of the various OEMs in their custom skins.
App Pairs and split-screen changes
According to 9to5Google, the company is working on this renewed split-screen mode, to offer a better and more intuitive multitasking experience to Android users.
Instead of opening an app, and then activating split-screen mode for that app via the recent apps menu, users will be able to group two apps into “activities” and then quickly launch these pairs or switch between a pair of app and a single app.
Android 12 will also allow users to easily “pair” two apps directly from the recent apps view. When using a pair of this type, the divider between the two apps will also have a bonus function: by dragging the divider both apps will be resized as usual but, when you double tap on it, the two active apps will swap positions quickly.
When will Android 12 be available?
Usually the Developer Preview program for the next version of Android started around March. But last year, for Android 11, the first build of the operating system was released by Google in February. We can therefore expect a launch in the coming weeks or even the next few days.
As for the final version, Android 11 was presented to the public in September 2020, while Android 10 arrived at the end of August 2019. To see Android 12 announced in a final version, we will have to wait a long time. .
Will my smartphone receive Android 12?
As per tradition, the first smartphones to receive the next version of Android will be Google’s Pixels, specifically Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
OnePlus smartphones, a company very fast with the update of its latest smartphones, and Samsung, which has promised faster updates for a longer period, will probably follow.
Of course, Android One smartphones, such as those from Nokia, will receive Android 12, as well as virtually all the top-of-the-range devices announced in the last two or even three years. Many mid-range and low-end smartphones could also receive the update, however to be sure we will have to wait for the statements of the respective manufacturers.
Excluded from the list are almost certainly all smartphones that have come on the market with Android 9 pre-installed, as they have very theoretically exceeded the maximum support period guaranteed by most OEMs.