Android 12 Developer Preview 1 released: Check out compatibility and new features

Android 12 Developer Preview 1 released: Check out compatibility and new features

Google has released the first developer preview of Android 12 – the next version of Android that will be released later this year as the successor to Android 11. The new release comes five months after the arrival of the public release of Android 11, which took place in September. As with previous developer previews, Android 12 Developer Preview 1 is for developers preparing their apps for the next big Android update. It is initially available for download on Google Pixel phones. However, developers can also see their new features and changes in Android 11 through the Android Emulator available in Android Studio.

Android 12 Developer Preview Compatibility

Google announced via a blog post that Android 12 Developer Preview 1 can be installed on Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. System images for all these models have been provided for download. Alternatively, the first developer preview of Android 12 can be installed on a system via the Android Emulator in Android Studio. Developers working on Android TV apps can also get the first developer preview of Android 12 via the ADT-3 device.

Before proceeding with manually downloading any of the system images, it’s important to note that Android 12 Developer Preview 1 is specifically intended for developers and not end consumers. You may therefore encounter some bugs or issues after installing the developer preview.

Android 12 release timeline

In addition to announcing the new developer preview, Google has shared the Android 12 release schedule to detail the milestones reaching the new update. You can check out the timeline below.

  • Android 12 Developer Preview 1: February
  • Android 12 Developer Preview 2: March
  • Android 12 Developer Preview 3: April
  • Android 12 Beta 1: May
  • Android 12 Beta 2, 3: June-July
  • Android 12 Beta 4: August

In addition to the aforementioned timeline, Google said that Android 12 will reach the ‘Platform Stability’ stage through the Beta 4 stage in August. This means that from that point on, there will be no further changes for developers.

New features of Android 12

The first developer preview of Android 12 brings UI-level changes to notifications. Google also mentioned in its blog post that it was also working on optimizing transitions and animations system-wide to make them look smoother. Apps targeting Android 12 will also be able to include notifications with custom content views based on a default template.

“This template ensures that custom notifications have the same decoration as other notifications in all states, such as the notification icon and expanding features (in the collapsed state) and the notification icon, app name, and collapsing feature (in the expanding state),” Google detailed.

In addition to updates focused on custom notifications, Android 12 is in development to bring more responsive notifications. You’ll notice the changes in the first developer preview that are likely to be improved in later updates.

Android 12 Developer Preview 1 also brings supported media transcoding to support the HEVC format for video capture. Google also provided platform support for AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) using AV1. This is said to dramatically improve the image for the same file size when compared to older image formats like JPEG.

The first developer preview of Android 11 also includes foreground service optimizations through accelerated JobScheduler work and a new version of the Jetpack WorkManager library. There is also a new unified API to allow inserting rich content and accepting rich content from sources including clipboard, keyboard and even drag and drop gestures.

Apps designed for Android 12 will also be able to offer haptic feedback coupled with audio via the phone’s vibrator. That means you’ll get more immersive audio experiences on the next-gen Android update.

Additionally, Google has streamlined the immersive mode to smooth out gesture navigation and make it more consistent. Android 12 also comes with an Android Runtime Module (ART) to allow Google to push new software updates to the core runtime and libraries available on devices. This will allow for a more consistent experience for installed apps.

Android 12 will also address optimizations for tablets, foldables, and TVs. Some of these optimizations can be noticed from the first preview.

The first developer preview of Android 12 also includes modern SameSite cookie behaviors in WebView, strict Netlink MC, and safer component export to prevent apps from inadvertently exporting activities, services, and receivers. There will also be other hidden privacy and security changes that Google has detailed on a dedicated web page.

In addition to the changes mentioned by Google, Android Police reported a list of new features that includes a one-handed mode, emergency SOS button, scrolling screenshots, and better notification snooze. The first preview of Android 12 also includes an improved screenshot editor and an updated Nearby Sharing feature with the ability to share Wi-Fi passwords.

Google mainly provided the essential resources for development purposes. Even so, we can expect some UI-level changes and improvements in future beta and developer preview versions of Android 12.

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