A little over a month after the second beta of Android 12 was released, Google released the third beta version of the new operating system, the stable version of which is expected to be released at the end of the summer. In addition to the innovations introduced, some of which have been long overdue, the third beta is accompanied by the final version of the API, so as to allow developers to start testing the apps in view of the Platform Stability, scheduled for the next beta.
There are three fundamental innovations, accompanied by others of lesser importance which are however equally interesting. Let’s find out in detail what it is.
Present for some time on the smartphones of numerous manufacturers, the scrolling screenshot make its official appearance on the official version of Android, after a fleeting appearance in a beta of Android 11. Unlike the traditional function, which requires multiple screenshots if the screen exceeds the size of the screen, scrolling screenshots allow you to capture a single image with full screen.
Unlike the solutions implemented by other manufacturers, which combined different images, Google used View to capture the entire screen: by capturing a screenshot we will now see a “Capture more” button that displays the entire screen, allowing the user to select the portion of the screen to save.
The new feature, thanks to a View-based interface, should work with most apps. Apps that use heavily modified interfaces, or do not use a View interface, can still use the ScrollCapture API which instructs the system to capture the screen.
With Beta 4 the new function should also be usable with ListViews and WebViews, with support for the latter that may be native to Google Chrome.
A better automatic rotation
With Android 12 Beta 3 also improves the automatic screen rotation, using the front camera to recognize the user’s face and more accurately detect when the screen needs to be rotated. In this way involuntary rotations should be avoided when the user is in bed or lying on the sofa. The face images are managed on the device and will never be uploaded to the network, in respect of the user’s privacy.
At the moment the function is active only on Pixel 4 and later but the final version will allow you to take advantage of the new solution on all devices. The new automatic rotation will also enjoy optimizations to animations and screen refresh, with new gesture recognition algorithms to reduce latency by 25%.
Searches on the device
The API is also new AppSearch, whose documentation has been available for several months and whose existence had already been confirmed by some analysis of the code. AppSearch is a new search engine on the device, which allows apps to index structured data and perform searches full-text. The API supports some native features such as highly efficient indexing, multi-language support, and sorting by relevance.
It is possible to manage a local index, for apps that maintain backward compatibility with the Jetpack AppSearch library, and a central index that is managed for the entire Android 12 system. In the latter case, Android can show application data in the system interfaces unless developers withdraw consent.
Among the other innovations present in Android 12 Beta 3 we point out the Privacy Indicator API, added in WindowInsets, which allow apps to reach the limits of the privacy indicators and the relative positioning on the screen, taking into account the rotation of the screen and the language settings. This way you can avoid hiding important content or controls in immersive mode.
Network administrators can decide if users have access to toggles that disable microphone and camera access, while apps paired with Companion Device Manager can launch foreground services from the background, declaring a new permission, bringing new functions while maintaining transparency.
How to download and install Android 12 Beta 3
Android 12 Beta 3 is available for Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. You can manually download factory images or OTA files for the your Pixel. Alternatively, you can enter the beta program which will allow you to automatically download all updates, including the final release.