Google does not release new versions of Android very often so when they do there is usually a bit of excitement surrounding it. In fact, it’s been almost exactly a year between the two latest developer betas. So, what new features will Android 12 bring? And will it be worth the wait? In this Android 12 preview, we will try to give you some of the answers.
The new features of Android 12
Quicker emergency feature
First, on the list, we have a rather basic but important feature that is being improved. The emergency SOS alarm is getting a lot easier to activate. Currently, you have to hold down the power button, tap on the emergency button and then tap twice on the call 911 button. Not ideal if you want to contact the police discreetly. With Android 12 you tap the power button 5 times rapidly and the phone starts counting down until it automatically calls 911.
One-handed and Split-screen modes
There are also some cool leaks about new productivity features. You´re getting both one-handed mode and the ability to use split-screen. One-handed mode is exactly what it sounds like, it will shrink the screen and bring it down to one of the bottom corners, making it easier to navigate with only one thumb. Split-screen will allow for the use of two apps at once, which definitely seems useful on larger screens. Not having to constantly swap between what app is shown saves time and keeps frustration down.
Quality of life and visual
As with most updates, Android 12 is going to roll out a bunch of smaller changes to attempt to make our lives easier. These are some of the changes that have been announced or leaked:
- Sharing the Wi-Fi-password wirelessly with a button tap
- Swiping out of full-screen apps with a single gesture
- Scrolling screenshots (hit screenshot and scroll down to get one picture of several screens)
- Updated markup will let you put text and emojis on screenshots
- The option to reduce bright colors
- New privacy feature that warns you when an app uses the camera or microphone
- The ability to block the use of the camera and microphone on the entire device
According to these leaks we also get an updated visual design. There is a new notifications panel UI, it’s no longer transparent and has rounded corners. The widget area will also get an overhaul. It will be able to show messages, recent activity, missed calls, and other notifications. Keep in mind that like all leaks there is no guarantee that these are included until Google officially announces it.
The release schedule for Android 12
The developer beta for Android 12 has already been released on February 12th. The rest of us will have to wait for the public beta which is scheduled for May and the finished product won’t be rolled out until August at the earliest.
How will Android 12 affect the use of rugged handheld devices? Most changes likely won’t have a major impact. Things like sharing the wi-fi password with a button tap might be nice at times. The one-handed mode will probably not be very useful, if you feel like you need it chances are that you’re using the wrong device for the job.
The feature that stands out to me is the ability to run two apps on the screen at once with a split-screen. You got a checklist in your mail and another app where the data is recorded? No more swapping back and forth. In the long run, this could end up saving quite a bit of time and keep things running just a little bit smoother.