Google has released the third developer preview of Android 12. Innovations can be found primarily in the area of user experience. In addition to a customizable home screen for apps, there is a new template for notification of incoming calls and the option to set a default browser for web links.
As the name indicates, the developer previews are not initially aimed at end users, but rather at developers who are preparing their apps for the upcoming version. According to the roadmap for Android 12, the first beta will appear in May, which will invite a wider audience to test it. A version with platform stability is planned for August.
Calls, calls and alarms
Android 12 brings a new animation when starting apps. A standard splash screen shows the associated icon and the transition to the app itself. In addition to the standard design elements, the release includes an API for designing the start screen. The interface SplashScreen allows you to customize the icon, the background color, the animation and the timing when transitioning to the actual application.
In addition, the upcoming version of the mobile operating system has new notifications for incoming and ongoing calls. The new call notifications should be more recognizable and consistent with other notifications. Anyone who develops apps that enable incoming calls, such as video calls in chat applications, will find it in class Notification.CallStyle a template for designing notifications. These are more visible than other notifications. Details and examples of the template can be found in the description of the new features in Android 12.
Android knows different ways of handling alarm signals in terms of time. For most applications, less precise alarm clocks are useful, as exact alarms put more stress on the battery. This is also the reason why apps for the latter will have to obtain permission from end users in the future. At SCHEDULE_EXACT_ALARM it is a normal permission that is valid after the user has given their nod or until explicitly revoked. The also new API call canScheduleExactAlarms() asks whether the app is allowed to use exact alarm signals.
Feeling and photographing
The haptic feedback is given a broader spectrum in Android 12. Among other uses PRIMITIVE_LOW_TICK a low frequency for short effects. The individual control of individual vibration modules for devices with several modules is aimed primarily at game development. The release also brings the new abstract class VibratorManager with which effects for individual modules can be controlled.
Some functions that were previously to be found in the separate CameraX library are now found in the operating system itself. In this way, device-specific effects of the respective camera can be used. The new API to access the functions of camera2 probably offers the same effects as CameraX, so that no major adjustments are required for apps. A another new API aims at cameras with a very high resolution beyond the image sizes that android.scaler.streamConfigurationMap provides.
For links that are not verified via Android App Links, a standard browser can now also be set in order to bypass the respective query in the selection dialog. In addition, Android 12 brings the new intent ACTION_APP_OPEN_BY_DEFAULT_SETTINGS With.
Tests on the way to release
Google advises developers to test their apps for compatibility with the upcoming release with a view to the upcoming beta. The APIs for the SDK Software Development Kit (SDK) and the Native Development Kit (NDK) will be finalized with the Platform Stability Release in August. By then, all apps that are supposed to run on Android 12 should have been thoroughly tested.
For tests during development, the functions that affect the compatibility with Android 12 can be activated or deactivated individually. A more precise roadmap for developers can be found in the overview of Android 12.
Further innovations such as the performance improvements for machine learning applications, extended debugging for crashes in interaction with the NDK and more flexible backup configurations can be added to the Refer to the Android development blog. Google recently announced that it would switch off the RenderScript API in Android 12 and recommend the use of Vulkan instead.
Further innovations in Android 12 can be found in the messages from heise developer to developer preview 1 and the second developer preview.
Pre-made device system images are available for the Google smartphones Pixel 3/3 XL, Pixel 3a / 3a XL, Pixel 4/4 XL, Pixel 4a / 4a 5G and Pixel 5. The upcoming release can also be tested in the Android emulator. Installation details can be found in the information on current Android version.