Google announces the Android 12 Developer Preview

Enlarge / This inexperienced circle (we added the background) is the Android 12 brand, we guess.

Google is launching the primary developer preview of Android 12 on Thursday. That is the start of a seven-month beta course of that ought to finish with a remaining launch someday round September. System photographs shall be out today for the Pixel line (if these hyperlinks are damaged, test again later). Assist is being minimize for the Pixel 2 this 12 months; for telephones, the preview will solely work for the Pixel 3/3a and up. There’s additionally an “Android 12 preview for Android TV” obtainable for the ADT-3 Developer Kit, which is fascinating as a result of industrial Android TV units, just like the “Google Chromecast with Google TV,” nonetheless run Android 10.

So what’s new? It is onerous to take a full audit now since we’re solely working from a weblog put up with zero photos and no documentation to learn but, however Google outlines a number of fascinating options. First, Google says it’s “refreshing notification designs to make them extra trendy, simpler to make use of, and extra practical,” which most likely applies to the earlier leaks that already hit the Web. The corporate additionally says it’s “optimizing transitions and animations throughout the system to make them extra easy,” which is one thing we’ll examine as soon as we get some precise code.

On the efficiency aspect of issues, ART, the Android RunTime engine that powers all of the non-game apps on Android, is now formally updatable by way of the Play Retailer, whereas it beforehand wanted an entire system replace to be modified. ART is now a Project Mainline module, Google’s new system for transport core system code via the Play Retailer. Google has been taking child steps towards making ART a Mainline module in earlier years—ART has been packaged as a Mainline module on Pixel phones since Android 10 however has by no means been up to date. For Android 12, Google says it will likely be transport ART updates that may “enhance runtime efficiency and correctness, handle reminiscence extra effectively, and make Kotlin operations quicker—all with out requiring a full system replace.” Android’s Binder IPC (InterProcess Communication) calls are getting an optimization move, too, which Google says ought to cut back “system variability” and “has yielded roughly a 2x efficiency enhance on Binder calls general.”

Android 12 will convey assist for one more picture format—AVIF, a picture codec based mostly on the AV1 video codec. AV1 is an open supply, royalty-free video codec constructed as a successor to VP9 that’s being quickly adopted by Netflix, YouTube, Fb, and plenty of different streaming suppliers on account of its superior efficiency and lack of royalties. AVIF is a competitor to that different bizarre new picture format, HEIC, however as a result of it is based mostly on H.265, HEIC has royalty prices. AVIF comparisons present the format usually outperforming JPEG and WEBP—which means higher picture high quality for much less bandwidth. Google’s place as a browser developer, an OS developer, and main content material deliverer via YouTube and varied web sites means it will possibly ram via format modifications by itself platforms.

On the safety and privateness aspect of issues, Android’s WebView (Internet content material embedded in apps) will embrace equivalent “SameSite” cookie behavior as Chrome, which means it can block unflagged third-party cookies. Android is doing extra work to restrict entry to machine identifiers by reducing off the Netlink MAC handle entry to all apps. There are additionally some modifications to the default dealing with of Android intents, which permit Android apps to name up options from different apps. This can be an try to cease poorly configured apps from creating security vulnerabilities, nevertheless it’s onerous to inform with out seeing the docs first.

There are various different issues talked about in Google’s blog post, nevertheless it’s onerous to make heads or tails of quite a lot of it with out entry to the documentation. By the point you are studying this, all that shall be out, and we’ll be engaged on a full hands-on. Google says it is anticipating to achieve “Platform Stability” by August 2021, which is able to give builders “a number of weeks earlier than the official launch to do your remaining testing.”

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