Google releases Android 12 Developer Preview 2 for Pixel phones
Written by Oluwafemi Akinlagun on March 17, 2021
The next release of Android 12 is here with Developer Preview 2 (DP2) rolling out to Pixel phones today. It follows the DP1.1 patch released at the start of this month, and offers a number of new features for developers to use in their apps. Like the first release, DP2 is still within the “priority window” for developers to test and submit feedback on upcoming Android 12 APIs. Google is especially looking for “critical issues or requests.”
On the “trust and safety” tentpole, Android apps can require device unlocks before letting users take action on lock screen notifications. For example, chat apps can request authentication before a message is deleted. Meanwhile, developers can stop overlays from appearing in their sensitive apps and workflows (i.e. transactions).
When exiting a media app where video is playing, Android 12 DP2 will immediately switch to Picture-in-Picture mode instead of first waiting for the up-to-home animation to complete. Google says “this makes the transition smoother and improves perceived performance.” PiP windows can now also be temporarily hidden/”stashed” by dragging to the left/right screen edge. A single tap will just display controls instead of also expanding, while double-tap toggles between current and maximum PIP size, instead of entering fullscreen. The window can also be resized with pinch-to-zoom.
Android 12 introduces a CompanionDeviceService API designed to improve apps that manage devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers. When a wearable is in close proximity to your phone, the companion app will be awoken:
The system keeps the service bound whenever the device is nearby, and notifies the service when the device goes in and out of range or is turned off, to let the app clean up state as needed.
Other changes in Android 12 DP2 include more accurate bandwidth estimation APIs and making it easier to apply graphics effects (blurs, color filters, etc) to Views.
There’s an Android Beta Feedback application on Pixel phones that users can access from the app drawer or via Quick Settings to file bugs in the Google issue tracker. The Android Beta community is available on Reddit.
At launch, Android 12 Developer Preview system images are available for the Pixel 3 (XL), Pixel 3a (XL), Pixel 4 (XL), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5, as well as in the Android Emulator.Android 12 DP2 (SPP2.210219.008) remains officially “for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use.” It’s available via manual download and flashing today, with the public-facing Android Beta coming later