Google releases first Android 12 developer preview with improved gestures, better notifications, enhanced security

Google has just shared the very first developer preview of Android 12 following numerous leaks regarding the new OS. Factory images are now live for anyone who wants to begin testing a very early version of the update which, according to the company, should be released to the public after August.

The initial batch of developer preview OTGs are available for Pixel devices dating back to the Pixel 3. If you own a Pixel 3/XL, 3a/XL, 4/XL, 4a, 4a 5G, or 5, you’ll be able to test drive the software. The first proper beta of the new OS won’t arrive until May when you’ll be able to enroll in the Android Beta Program. Afterward, a few more refined betas of Android 12 will come out, with the official release candidate arriving later.

According to Google’s developer page, Android 12 should prove to be smoother than Android 11 thanks to enhanced animations and transitions through the system. Gesture navigation has been improved so that you no longer need to swipe twice to get out of an app, and one swipe will also be all you need if you want to access the notification center or go back.

The system also offers a new UI for notifications that will give apps the ability to provide more information without requiring the user to tap on them, while other areas like pop-up alerts will also see improvements.

Obtaining and sharing content will be easier thanks to Android 12’s new united API that will let apps grab content from any available source such as your clipboard, keyboard, or drag and drop. Sharing media will also see improvements thanks to automatic transcoding of HEVC (H.265) and HDR (HDR10 and HDR10+) content captured on your device to AVC (H.264), a much more widely used format. You’ll also be able to open and manipulate AVIF image files.

Google is also adding the ability to generate haptic effects based on audio. For example, if a manufacturer makes a custom ringtone for their phone, Android 12 can automatically sync vibrations with it to make it more unique. The feature could also work in a game where vibrations are felt while driving over rough terrain.

Android 12 also throws in a few new security features for developers in addition to Wi-Fi Aware enhancements.

Of course, thousands of people of will be installing these new developer previews soon (including myself) and digging into all of the new features tucked away in Android 12. Stay tuned for more feature announcements as they’re discovered.