Android released the third beta update for Android 12 with a load of new features like scrolling screenshots, privacy indicator APIs and better auto-rotate along with final Android 12 APIs and the official SDK.
The update, announced on Wednesday, will be available to Pixel devices and several other devices manufactured by Android’s device-maker partners like Sharp and TCL. You can enrol here for the Android Beta Program to get over-the-air updates if you haven’t already.
Android 12 Beta 3: 7 new features
Here’s a roundup of all the new features in the Beta 3 update.
Starting from Beta 3, every time users take screenshots of scrollable content; they’ll see a ‘capture more’ button that’ll take full-length screenshots allowing users to crop the screenshot to their liking later.
The feature should work out-of-the-box for most apps, especially ones using the standard view-based UI. If your app uses a customised UI instead, you can implement the new ScrollCapture API to support scrolling screenshots. Support for scrolling ListViews, web content and general improvements will be provided in the Beta 4 update.
Android is now launching AppSearch, a high-performance on-device search engine using which apps can index structured data and search it with full-text search capabilities built-in. Native features such as highly efficient indexing and retrieval, multi-language support, and relevancy ranking are also available.
AppSearch comes in two flavours — a local index for individual apps that’s backwards compatible through the AppSearch Jetpack library and a central index for the entire system. Using the central index, apps can display their data on the System UI surface unless the developer opts out. Developers can choose to share their app’s data with other apps, too, allowing them to search inter-app data.
Improvement for privacy indicator APIs
Beta 2 included support for privacy indicators in the status bar. However, these indicators can at times obstruct controls or content depending upon an app’s view. Beta 3 adds new privacy indicator APIs to WindowInsets allowing developers to control the size and placement of these indicators considering their app’s orientation.
Camera and mic toggles for enterprises
Beta 2 also included toggles for the camera and mic, using which users could turn off all access for any apps. These controls are now accessible to enterprise admins on fully managed devices.
CDM-paired apps get new permissions for starting foreground services
Apps paired with the Companion Device Manager can now declare new normal permission to launch foreground services from the background. This lets companion apps carry out core functionality while being transparent to the system.
Starting from Beta 3, Android’s auto-rotate now uses your face’s orientation through the front camera to recognise when to rotate the screen. The new feature is housed inside the Private Compute Core, and hence the images captured for detecting the rotation are neither stored nor leave the device.
The screen-rotation animation and redrawing have also been optimised, and an ML-driven gesture-detection algorithm has been implemented to reduce rotation latency by about 25%.
New Game Mode APIs
Using the new Game Mode APIs, developers can modify their game’s performance based on the player’s performance profile. This means a game can be optimised for longer battery life or maximum performance based on the phone’s performance profile. The API will be a part of the game dashboard, which will be available on select devices later this year.
This builds upon previous features such as play as you download, which was released in previous betas and allowed games to load assets in the background as the game downloads allowing players to jump into gameplay quicker.
Final APIs and SDK
Along with the Beta 3 update, Android has also released its final Android 12 APIs and the official API Level 31 SDK. The plan is to reach full platform stability by the Beta 3 update when all app-facing system behaviours, non-SDK interface restrictions and API surfaces are finalised.
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