Google’s latest Android OS version, Android 12 is now live for developers. The stable rollout of the new Android version is expected in September, though the company is yet to confirm this development. The Android 12 Developer Preview 1 is available to download on Google Pixel smartphones and developers can also look at the new features and changes by using the Android Emulator. As a part of the developer’s update, Google is testing new UI layout, notification system, and privacy for an enhanced user experience.
The software giant, in a blog post, revealed that the Android 12 Android Developer Previews (Previews 1,2, and 3) would last till mid-April, following which the beta programmes (Beta 1, Beta 2, Beta 3, and Beta 4) will begin. After testing various Android 12 testers, the stable rollout will commence. The developer preview version of Android 12 can be downloaded on devices including the Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and the Google Pixel 5. Other OEMs will start testing the tweaked version of Android 12 according to their own roadmap. Notably, Google ditched the dessert-themed names with Android 10. However, the company continues the dessert-themed names in its internal codebase. The Android 10 was internally known as Quince Tart, while the Android 11 was Red Velvet Cake. As per XDA Developers, the Android 12 is internally known as Snow Cone.
In terms of features, Google has mentioned that the company is working on optimising transitions and animations across the system to make the experience even smoother. Apps will optimise their notifications with custom content views that will be based on a standard template. Further, Android 12 will also bring more responsive notifications, and Google says that users will notice the changes in the first developer preview that are likely to be further polished in later updates.
Meanwhile, a separate XDA Developers’ report notes that the Android 12 Developer Preview 1 brings a blue colour tint to the UI that is in contrast to the white background since Android 5 Lollipop. The blue-ish tint is also visible when the dark mode is enabled. Both Notifications panel and lock screen now has a translucent layer in the background. The animation for the pattern unlock also appears to be slightly bouncier, the publication notes. The Quick Settings drop-down menu now has a light blue colour background instead of grey-finish to match with the overall theme. The arrangement of the quick settings-icons like DND and Battery Saver toggles have also been rearranged to the top spot column.
Furthermore, the Accessibility section in the Settings menu is getting a facelift. The Android 12 Developer Preview 1 brings other features like One-Handed Usability to enable easy controlling of the smartphone with one hand. Google is also testing the scrolling or rolling screenshots feature that was spotted in Android 11 Developer Preview last year (did not make it to the final cut). The report also notes that the Android 12 gets a new button to snooze unimportant notifications. There’s a new ability to redirect haptic feedback data from the smartphone to a gamepad or a gaming controller to improve the gaming experience.
In terms of privacy, Google is preparing to add warnings to turn on microphone and camera usage, even in system apps Camera and Recorder. The feature is currently in an experimental phase and disabled by default. It was earlier rumoured that the Android 12 will indicate users when apps are accessing the mic or camera – similar to how Apple indicate users with different colours on iOS 14. Users must note that since all the features mentioned above are still in the testing phase, it is likely some of them might not rollout with the final version of Android 12, meant for end users.
Twitter Fleets Gets Twemoji Stickers, Some Android Users Can Now Access Twitter Spaces Audio-Chatroom
Twitter’s version of Snapchat Stories, called Fleets is now getting a new update that brings Twemoji Stickers tray. The latest feature enables users to add emojis or stickers to Fleets for a better visual appeal. Until now, the Fleets feature on the Twitter Android or iOS app only allowed users to add text over photos or videos. Users could still add emojis if the keyboard had in-built emoji options; however, the latest feature gives access to more 3D-enhanced stickers directly. Moreover, Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse-inspired audio-chat room is reportedly rolling out to select Android customers.
The Twemoji option for Twitter Fleets is now rolling out to users in Japan and will likely reach other markets in the coming months. The Twemoji button sits next to the text button, as per a photo shared by Twitter. Additionally, the Twemoji currently appears to be limited to iOS users while availability details for Android client remain unclear. Though the feature does not seem to be substantial, it is likely that Twitter would soon add more options like AR filters – similar to what Facebook offers with Stories on Instagram. Notably, the micro-blogging company acquired Chroma Labs last year, the team behind Chroma Stories. The app basically allowed users to add a range of colourful frames and filters to their Stories content.
Today we released Stickers in Fleets for iOS users in Japan 🇯🇵 This release comes with sticker search and a custom set of Twemojis to help people express more when they Fleet.楽しむ! https://t.co/wnB2TiOyQz
— Sam Haveson (@samhaves) February 26, 2021
In another Twitter-related news, some Android users are now getting an early preview of Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse-inspired voice-based conversation room right on the platform. According to Android Police, Android users who have access cannot start Spaces chatroom yet but can join others and react with emojis. The company is expected to roll out the stable version in March, though the availability may vary according to regions. Twitter Spaces has been available to select iOS users since early February. Twitter Product Designer Maya Patterson had previously explained that the Spaces feature is meant to create a safe space for intimate conversations in public. It will essentially allow users to join or start a voice-based chatroom where they can discuss any topic. Admins will have control over who can speak or join.
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