A few weeks after the release of Android 12 for all supported smartphones, the guys from XDA have come into possession of a build of Android 12.1. In case you didn’t know, Android 12.1 started talking earlier this month due to some unusual changes to the AOSP Gerrit API. In the course of the following weeks, moreover, numerous indications have revealed that Android 12.1 will prepare the ground for the arrival of the much talked about Google Pixel Fold.
Well, today we have the opportunity to discover in advance the most important features of Android 12.1 and, as we will see in the following chapters, we register an important attention of Google into the world of folding screen devices.
Extended notification panel
Android 12.1, when started on a smartphone with a rather generous display, shows a new extended layout for the notifications and quick toggle panel, as you can see in the image below. In this case the extended UI places the quick toggles in the left portion, with the notification panel in the right one.
The presence of a large display is also exploited within the Android 12.1 Settings panel, where it is possible to observe an arrangement of the book entries: on the one hand we have the main menus, while on the other the secondary items such as example to quickly change the display settings.
The better use of the larger display also manifests itself at the level of lockscreen Android 12.1, where a new book layout places the clock widget in the left portion and the list of all notifications received in the right. The interface for entering the PIN code to unlock the device also places the numeric keypad in the lower portion of the display to make it easier to enter the code with one hand.
A whole new taskbar
The possibility of using a device with an extended display inevitably changes the way in which multitasking is exploited and the use of multiple applications at the same time. In this regard, with Android 12.1 the programmers of the Mountain View giant have integrated the taskbar within the multitasking screen and more, as can be seen from the short video below.
Users can use it to quickly switch from one app to another or to drag an app icon and launch it in the right or left portion of the interface, leaving Android to automatically resize the UI. At the moment it is possible to add up to 5 applications at the taskbar level, but it is very likely that Google will introduce some additional settings to offer more customization.
New divider for split-screen apps
Within the build of Android 12.1 you can see a slight change at the level of the split-screen app divider, now more visible, in gray, and with more prominent dividers at the ends of the display. It is very likely that Google will improve the graphical rendering of this element to better blend it with the rest of the UI, but already in this state it automatically suggests the possibility of dragging the divider to the right or left to increase or decrease the UI of applications in split mode- screen.
There is also a small novelty regarding the overview interface of recent applications in Android 12.1: Google has decided to change the display system by putting newer apps in front of those not started for a while. In this case, a recently launched app will be more easily identifiable as it has a much larger preview than older apps – the latter will be arranged in a two-level grid.
New startup animation and more
With the arrival of Android 12.1 the system of dynamic themes of Android 12 will be made completely open-source, so that other OEMs (Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, OnePlus, etc.) will be able to use it freely and integrate it within the their customizations. The source that provided the build of Android 12.1 to XDA shared some screenshots to confirm that “monet”, the graphics system of Android 12, works without problems in the AOSP version.
Google also intends to extend support for Dynamic Color also at the level of the start-up animation of Android 12.1; OEMs should be able to take advantage of this new feature by adding a simple line of code to the Android startup file.
Power button and new wallpaper
With Android 12, the long press of the power key allows you to quickly access Google Assistant and, with Android 12.1, the development team has added a specific option in the Settings panel to customize how long you need to hold down the key to activate the ‘digital assistant. Users will be able to choose in time intervals ranging from 250 ms up to 750 ms, with some intermediate steps at 350, 500 or 650 ms.
Finally, Android 12.1 will come with at least one new wallpaper that you can download immediately from this link.