Android 12 First Developer Preview Rolled Out by Google

Google has just rolled out the first developer preview for Android 12, and it introduces several new features (Android 11). It is important to note that it is a developer’s preview, but it is not meant to be downloaded by the consumer. It won’t be a product update for a non-geek like you; it will arrive later this year.

The Android 12 Developer Preview 1 features

Android 12 has provided three new features in the Android App Store- Trust and Safety, User Experience Tools, and App Compatibility.

A) Trust and security

Modern cookie policies in WebView

The Android 12, ‘Trust and Safety’, includes ‘modern SameSite cookie behaviours in WebView’, which means users will be able to have more control over how cookies are used across different websites.

Reverse-engineered Netlink MAC

To encourage developers to switch to privacy-protecting resettable identifiers, Google has adopted a multi-release effort, so that the restriction to MAC has been applied to all apps, regardless of the targetSDK level, which was not the case with Android 11.

Safer Exporting of Materials

Google is making it safer for users to export app components by changing the default handling of the Android ‘exported’ attribute. It requests that developers inspect their components more closely so that there are no installation errors.

Safer Handling of Intent

In Android 12, Google has asked all apps to clearly declare a “parameter mutability” in the manifest. Each application should show ‘FLAG MUTABLE’ or ‘FLAG IMMUTABLE’.

B) User-Interface Tools

Bump-Free Media Encoding

With Android 12, the camera apps which do not support capturing in HEVC format, the platform will convert them into H.264/AVC format which is more widely accepted and compatible. However, the further time this takes will depend on the video quality and the hardware of the device. Google recommends that developers support the H.265/HEVC codec, and if they don’t, they must disclose the omission and update their app to support the codec.

AVIF Image Support

To improve the compression quality, Google is introducing support for AV1 Image File Format in the Android 12. The AVIF format is a container format for sequences and images with the AV1 codec.

Foreground Service Optimisation

Google intends to block foreground services for all Android 12 apps so that the user experience is optimised. Since when they are overused, it can cause the apps to crash.

Rich content insertion

Google is introducing a new API for all of the apps to allow them to accept different types of content from several sources.

Tactile-Altered Hearing Effect

This feature will allow the developers to create more engaging audio and gaming experiences for their users, making their applications more immersive.

Multi-channel sound

The audio-mixers, effects, and resamplers have been optimised for up to 24 channels for Android 12, which is 8 in Android 11, meaning that the audio quality will be vastly different between Android 11 and Android 12.

Improved Immersive Mode gesture navigation

With Android 12, users will be able to easily navigate through their smartphones with a single ‘back’ and ‘recents’ ‘swipe’. The OS will come with gesture protection, as well as accidental gesture protection.

Notification UI updates

Notifications on Android 12 will incorporate modern design, functionality, and ease of use. Google has said that the templates were altered and is working to fix them.

More and faster notifications

It is Google’s request that the activity ‘start’ be executed as soon as the user taps on the notification without any delay.

Better Blinder IPC Calls

For the Android 12, Google has reduced the system variability by optimising the workload distribution and latency which has reduced average experience by 99% of users. Google claimed that this improved time spent on Binder calls 2x overall.

C) App Uptake

Google Play System Updates: Art

Google has moved ART from a Module to a Project for improving correctness and runtime performance, and for further managing memory at a finer granular level.

Optimizing for phones, webOS devices, and tablets

Google followed with the Android 12 update permitting Android TV users to get the latest Android features on their Smart TVs.

Updated lists of non-SDK software interfaces

Google will not allow additional non-Android-SDK-based interfaces (e.g., libraries) in Android 12.

Easier testing and debugging

Through Google’s Developer Options, they are enabling developers to debug and test their apps more easily and quickly.

Platform stability milestone

Google plans to implement a stable mobile platform by August 2021.

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