We probably won’t see Android 12 in finished form until September, but we already know a lot about it thanks to developer preview releases – and the third of these just launched, with a lot of new features.
Many of these are minor or aimed at helping developers more than users, but there are a few worth noting. There’s a new app launch experience here: with Android 12, when you launch an app you’ll initially see a splash screen showing the app’s icon, followed by a transition to the app itself.
Google claims that this makes for a “more consistent and delightful experience”, and adds that developers can extensively customize the splash screen if they want, so it doesn’t have to use the app’s static launcher icon – that’s just the default.
Upgrades for gaming and photography
Another change is to haptic feedback (the vibrations a phone can make in response to a tap), with new tools and effects made available to developers so they can create “rich haptic experiences”. In practice it sounds like this will mean more varied vibration patterns in games and other apps.
Another feature added here is support for pixel binning in third-party camera apps. That means if your phone has a high megapixel camera that can combine multiple (usually four) pixels into one, that functionality will be supported outside the default camera app.
Other improvements include changes to call notifications, ensuring that they’re placed at the top of the notifications shade whatever app they originate from, to make them more visible. Then there are various other tweaks that should improve battery life and performance. If you want to dig into the features in more detail, Google has a full blog post on the latest developer preview.
If you like the sounds of these features – or any of the many other Android 12 features that we’ve previously learned about – you might have a chance to try them out soon: the first public beta of Android 12 is likely to land at Google IO 2021, which runs from May 18-20.