Nearly a year after Google announced the first developer preview of Android 11, the company today released the first developer preview of Android 12. Google slightly delayed the roll-out of Android 11 as a team and the company’s partners adjusted to work during one. Epidemic, but it does not seem to have stopped it from having Android 12 on schedule. As you would expect from an early developer preview, most of the changes here are under the hood and there are no over-the-air updates yet for non-developers who want to give it a spin.
Among the highlights of the release so far – and it’s important to note that Google wants to add more user-facing changes and UI updates to the preview cycle – which allows media in high-quality formats like AV1 image format, fast and The ability to transcode is more sensitive information and a new feature for developers that now makes toggling individual changes to the platform so that they can more easily test the compatibility of their apps. Google also promises that, like Android 11, it will add a platform stability milestone for Android 12 to give developers advance notice when final app-facing changes occur in the operating system’s development cycle. Last year, the team hit that milestone in July, when it released its second beta.
“With each version, we’re working to make the OS smarter, easier to use, and at the core with improved performance, privacy, and security,” writes Dave Burke, Google Director of Engineering. “in Android 12 We are also working to give you new tools to create a great experience for users. Starting with things like compatible media transcoding, which helps your app work with the latest video formats if you don’t already support them, and copy / paste rich content into your apps, such as pictures and Video. We are also adding privacy protection, refreshing the UI, and optimizing performance to keep our apps responsive. “
Apparently, Android 12 has dozens of developer-facing updates. Let’s look at some detail.
For WebView in Android 12, Google will now implement the same cookie behavior in the same Chrome, for example. Last year, the company slowed the roll-out of this change, making it harder for advertisers to track your activity across sites, in Chrome, simply because it was breaking multiple sites. Now, with this feature fully implemented in Chrome, the Android team clearly feels that WebView may also implement the same privacy tools that other apps use to display web content. .
As for encoding capabilities, Burke notes that, “with the prevalence of HEVC hardware encoders on mobile devices, camera apps are increasingly capturing in HEVC format, providing significant improvements in quality and compression over older codecs.” He notes that most apps must support HEVC, but for those who cannot, Android 12 now provides a service to transcode a file to AVC.
In addition, Android 12 now also supports the AV1 image file format as a container for images and GIF-like image views. “Like other modern image formats, AVIF takes advantage of intra-frame encoded content from video compression,” Burke explains. “It improves image quality for similar file sizes compared to older file formats, such as JPEG.”
With every Android release, Google also continues to tamper with the notification system. This time, the team “promises a refreshed design to make them more modern, easier to use and more functional.” Burke describes the ability of optimized transitions and animations and apps to decorate notifications with custom content. Google now also asks that developers implement a system that takes users instantly from a notification to an app, without an intermediary broadcast receiver or service, before something is recommended.
Android 12 will now offer improved support for multi-channel audio with 24 channels (a boon for music and other audio apps, no doubt), spatial audio, MPEG-H support and hepatic-coupled audio effects based on audio Vibration and frequency (a boon for the game, no doubt). There have also been improvements in navigation and several other optimizations and minor changes to the operating system.
Google has also continued to roll out its project mainline, which allows a growing number of core Android OSs to be updated via the Google Play system – and therefore bypass the slow update cycle of most hardware manufacturers. With Android 12, it is rolling out the Android runtime module to the mainline, which will then let Google update the core runtime and libraries on devices. “We can improve runtime performance and accuracy, manage memory more efficiently, and speed up Kotlin’s operations – all without the need for a complete system update,” Burke says. “We have also expanded the functionality of existing modules – for example, we are providing our seamless transcoding facility inside an updateable module.”
You can find a more detailed list of all the changes of Android 12 here.
Developers who want to get started with bringing their apps to Android 12 can do so today by flashing the device image onto a Pixel device. For now, Android 12 supports Pixel 3/3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, Pixel 4/4 XL, Pixel 4a / 4a 5G and Pixel 5. You can also use the system image in Android Emulator in Google’s Android Studio.