Google releases second Android 12 developer preview

The latest preview includes rounded corners APIs, improved picture-in-picture APIs, app overlay controls and extended security for lockscreen notification actions.

Google on Wednesday released the second developer preview for Android 12, the upcoming version of Google's mobile operating system. The early build gives developers a sense of the new features the refreshed OS will offer. This release includes updates related to security as well as user experience. 

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Google launched the first developer beta of Android 12 last month, making some under-the-hood changes to the OS aimed at both consumers and enterprise users. With Android 12, most app-facing changes will be opt-in for developers, giving them more time to ensure their apps are compatible with the new version. 

Also: Android 12: Release schedule, features, and more

"We're working to make updates faster and smoother by prioritizing app compatibility
as we roll out new platform versions," VP of Engineering Dave Burke wrote in a blog post. Now is "a good time to start your compatibility testing and identify any work you'll need to do. We recommend doing the work early, so you can release a compatible update by Android 12 Beta 1."

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The beta release should come as early as May, while the final release is slated for sometime in August or later. Developers already running the first Android 12 preview can get an over-the-air (OTA) update to today's release.

Some highlights from this release: 

App overlay controls: Currently, Android users can receive alerts for important actions on top of active apps. Since it interrupts the user, apps already must request permission to display these notifications. In Android 12, developers can control whether these overlays can be
shown over their content. 

Extended security for lock screen notification actions: Developers can now configure notification actions so that when triggered from the lock screen, they generate an authentication challenge. For example, a messaging app could require authentication before a user deletes a message or marks it as read.

Support for rounded corners: Google is introducing new APIs to let developers query for rounded corners on a device, helping an app match the aesthetics of the device. 

Picture in Picture (PIP) improvements: For people using gesture nav, Google has improved how apps transition to picture-in-picture (PIP) mode on swipe up-to-home. Among other changes, this means improved PIP window resizing for non-video content. 

Keeping companion device apps awake: For apps that manage companion devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers, Google is extending the Companion Device Manager with a new CompanionDeviceService API. This will help ensure the app is running and connected whenever an associated companion device is nearby.