As we near the launch of the next major Android release, Android 12, we also get to witness the new features in advance as Google releases new developer previews of the upcoming Android version.
The company recently announced a new Developer Preview build for eligible Pixel devices. Android 12 Developer Preview 2, like the first Developer Preview, is still intended for use only by the developers. You can download and install the new developer preview on Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5. You can flash your Pixel phone using a compatible system image. If you’ve already installed the first preview build on your Pixel device, you’ll receive the update over-the-air automatically.
The list of changes mentioned in the blog post emphasizes on new APIs and platform behavior changes that developers will have to adapt to.
The Android 12 DP 2 features some new visual changes to the overall UI which include an updated dark theme. DP2 has a lighter shade of grey instead of a complete grey colour scheme that was introduced in the previous developer preview version.
There’s a new one-handed mode which one can access by heading over to the Gestures in the Settings menu and can be used by swiping down towards the screen. You can also enable settings to turn the One-handed mode off when switching between apps or set a specific period of time to exit the mode after that particular set time.
A new UI change which Google has introduced is the background blur when a floating window appears on screen. Google will now let developers add this blue effect to the background when they want a dialog box to appear.
There are also tweaks to the lockscreen interface with thicker fonts, a rounded and a bubble-shaped Emergency call button, new lock and unlock animations, and also an enhanced “monet” theming system that allows the device to match the accent as well as the background shades to a selected wallpaper.
Another new feature is the face-based auto-rotation system that uses the front-facing camera of your device to understand when to rotate the screen — depending on your facial position. You will have to enable this feature to make it work.
There’s a new gaming dashboard that allows users to start a live stream of the game directly on YouTube. The dashboard also includes controls to enable screen recording, FPS counter, and toggle Do Not Disturb mode.
One can now also reduce brightness of elements displayed on the green, such as the text on your device when using the dark mode by enabling the new ‘Turn screen darker’ option. The feature is available through the Accessibility settings under the Text and display section. There’s a new widget section, media player interface enhancements, as well as additional padding on the homescreen folders.
The PiP stashing feature has now also been introduced that allows one to stash a PiP window by dragging it to the left or right edge or unstash it by either tapping its visible part or dragging it out. The pinch-to-zoom gesture allows easy resizing of the PiP window. There are also updates to the tap behaviour on the PiP mode, with single-tapping to display controls and double-tapping to toggle the PiP window size.
There are more improvements to the Companion Device Manager, improved bandwidth estimation, a new smart forwarding calls feature, and extended security for lockscreen notification actions.