Google is gearing up to release the developer preview of the upcoming Android 12.
What new features can be expected from the new update?

Over the years Android has evolved a lot with Google introducing a new version every year adding new features and enhancing the security of the system. Google recently introduced us to Android 11 in September of 2020 which brought with a lot of new features and improvements to the Android ecosystem and streamlining it further.

While the Developer Preview of Android 12 is soon to be released by Google sometime this month, let us look at some of the features that are expected from the new update:

Theming support

Customization has been one of the major reasons for a user to prefer Android over iOS, but as far as theming options go, stock android is pretty limited. While Google did introduce a dark mode with android 10 to reduce eye strain and slightly better battery life on phones with OLED screens, that is about as far as theming goes for stock android.

This could, however, change with the upcoming Android 12 as according to a report by 9to5Google, Google is working on a new theming system that would allow users to customize the look of their UI by changing accent colours and even app colours. This functionality seems to be similar to what Substratum theme engine offers for customization of your device and apps. While substratum being a third-party app requires root privileges to modify the look of the UI and the apps, native support for such theming could allow users to customize without the need for rooting their devices.

According to the report, the System would be able to change UI colours seamlessly based on the colour of your wallpaper or the time of the day.

App Pairs

App pairs seem to be basically the split-screen feature we have been seeing on android for years now. While the current implementation is quite basic the new feature could make the system more intuitive and easier to use. The new system would now treat the two apps open as one task that would allow for better performance and usability.

App Hibernation

This feature could be especially useful for phones with less amount of storage. This feature would delete the cache of an app that has not been used for a long time to free up storage and resources.

Return of the ‘Columbus’ gesture

Pixel devices enjoyed this feature where you can double-tap on the back of your device to trigger an action like taking a screenshot or call the assistant. This feature was however removed in the android 11 update for some reason and now with Android 12, we could see it returning.

Under The Hood Changes

These are the changes that wouldn't be immediately apparent to an average user but would enhance the core functionalities of the OS.

Greater network access control

Apps can sometimes consume data or send data to external servers without the user knowing. Android 12 is rumoured to have greater network access control where a user can restrict network access to certain apps is they want.

WI-FI sharing could also be coming to the OS with users being able to share Wi-Fi passwords using the nearby share feature or using QR codes

Improved Support for third-party app stores

Android has always been open to the idea of multiple app stores on a device with the likes of amazon Appstore orAptoide being some popular alternatives for the google play store. With the next version of android, google seems to be giving more support to alternative app stores than before with better integration

Improved support for gaming devices

With game streaming on its way to becoming the next big thing in the gaming industry, the company is reportedly working on improved support for gaming devices like game controllers to make the experience for the user that much better. This means that we could see better support for modern controllers like the PS5 controller with advanced haptics.

Android Runtime as Project Mainline module

Android runtime (ART) is used for converting the operating system’s bytecode to machine language to be understood by the CPU and execute it. Project Mainline allows for parts of the OS called“Modules” to be updated via the google play store which allows for faster and more frequent delivery of updates to certain crucial parts of the OS without having to wait for a big update.

Making ART a Mainline module could be huge for the android ecosystem and allow for performance improvements that were previously not possible simply due to the structure of the OS.

While the above features as of now are just rumours, we would like to see most of them make their way to the final release of Android 12. We will soon know more about the new features of the OS as Google is expected to drop the Developer Preview of Android 12 sometime this month. Keep an eye out and follow us for more updates


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