Unless Google has decided to change plans, Android 12 preview should be just a few weeks away. Last year, the company decided to advance the arrival of Android 11 Developer Preview 1 to mid-February, and there is no reason to think that this year the same will not happen.
In fact, as of today we have already been able know a good part of the news that will arrive with Android 12, both through clues and leaks, and through official documentation published in advance by the company.
For that reason, while we wait for Google to launch the new version of its operating system officially, we wanted to review all the news and changes we can expect with the next big update of Google's mobile operating system.
Biggest layout change in years thanks to a new theme engine
Several weeks ago, we received a tip that Android 12 would introduce a new theme engine aimed at customizing the user interface by choosing colors, shapes, icons and other elements.
This clue was confirmed shortly after, when an internal Google document was leaked, letting us see – apparently official – models of Android 12 in which we could see for the first time how these new customization options would work, capable of completely changing the aesthetics of the system and applications.
In these captures, we could see how the various elements of the operating system interface such as menus, notification cards or icons, had happened to take a colour , which from what we know, would be automatically extracted from the wallpaper set by the user, using the API WallpaperColors.
Based on the leaked changes, and to help us imagine what the operating system might look like with different looks using this theme engine, the designer Radek Błędowski has created some mockups showing what the Android 12 interface might look like using different color palettes generated through the wallpaper set:
Concepts by ME of android 12 based on leaked concept but with other wallpapers pic.twitter.com/sV4BkVDiEw
– Radek Błędowski (@RKBDI) February 9, 2021
These novelties should be added other aesthetic changes related to the settings application, now with an interface somewhat reminiscent of One UI, Samsung's customization layer by reducing the area occupied by content and increasing the amount of Empty space, with the aim of facilitating the use of the system with one hand.
Finally, we see how the quick settings and notifications panel it has been redesigned with new shapes and less transparency.
With Android 11, Google decided bet on the concept of “Conversations” by entering a section in the notification panel dedicated to show only those notices related to chats with other people. I even know dedicated its own section to this section in the Android technical documentation.
In the new version, Google seems to want to go even further through a new type of conversations widgets, which will allow users to customize the home screen of their devices through widgets showing recent calls or messages of a specific person or group.
Apparently, such widgets would be able to combine the information from various apps to display them in the same widget. In terms of design, it seems likely that users will be able to choose the shape of each of the widgets before adding them to the home screen.
More and better privacy
Within the -renewed- Android 12 settings menu, we would find a improved privacy section, which would now give us the option of completely disable some of the device's components, such as cameras or microphone. In this way, we would ensure that no app has access to them in certain situations.
On top of that, the leaked mockups indicate that Android 12 would adopt one of the most useful functions of iOS 14 related to privacy, such as Prompts that indicate if an app is using the microphone or camera. In the case of Google's operating system, in addition, it will be notified if location is being obtained.
In Android 12, these indicators would appear in the status bar , and tapping on them would show a pop-up window where are listed applications that are using any of the mentioned components.
Share Wi-Fi keys through Nearby Share
With Android 12, Google plans add Nearby Share, the function to share information between Android or ChromeOS devices, the ability to share Wi-Fi keys.
In this way, a Easiest and fastest way to share WiFi keys with other Android users, by eliminating the need to scan the QR code or dictate the password.
Vitamin multitasking with “App Pairs”
Although it is not something new, and some manufacturers have already included similar functions in their respective layers of customization, everything indicates that Android 12 will include a new multitasking-related utility called App Pairs.
This function, as its name indicates, would allow create notification pairs which, when executed, would directly in split screen mode, grouping both apps in the same window.
Although the Split-screen multitasking is nothing new in Android, yes it is the possibility of launch two apps simultaneously with a single tap. A function that undoubtedly makes much more sense on devices with a double screen or folding screen, and that was already present on the Microsoft Surface Duo.
Save space with app hibernation
Just as iOS uninstalls applications that have not been used for some time, but keeps its icon on the home screen to access them when necessaryAndroid 12 will include a similar feature aimed at saving space and resources.
It is about the possibility of hibernating applications that are not used, optimizing the space used by eliminating part of the resources when said apps are not used, but giving the user the possibility of access them when necessary.
“Columbus” is back, one of the most useful functions of iOS 14
Google began working on the arrival of a “back touches” feature on devices to perform different actions before the arrival of Android 11. However, Apple was ahead of the by introducing this feature in iOS 14.
Finally, this tool never saw the light on Android. But Google has continued to work on it, and the latest rumors suggest that it will arrive with Android 12, although it will only be available on Pixel devices.
With it, it will be possible to carry out tasks such as run the Google Assistant, take screenshots, pause or resume multimedia playback, open the recent apps menu or display the notification panel, with a double tap on the back of the device.
Easier to use third-party app stores
After the “Fortnite soap opera” that ended with the fashion game eliminated from both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, Google itself announced a flexibility in application distribution measures, opening the operating system to third-party application stores such as the Epic Games Store. This was confirmed by the company itself:
“We will make changes to Android 12 to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices and to be careful not to compromise the security measures that Android has in place.
These are just some of the new features of Android 12 that we already knowEither because of leaks, or because Google itself has been anticipating some of the changes in the next installment of its operating system.
That, however, does not mean that all these news will be present in the first available version of Android 12. Most likely, all of them will be introduced into the system as their respective preliminary versions are released and , until finally the totality of them are present in the final version of Android 12, whose arrival should occur sometime next summer.