Android 12 Developer Preview 2 released with one hand mode, Game dashboard, new widget picker, and more

Google has just released a second developer preview for the upcoming Android 12 release for its Pixel 3 and above phones, one month after the first developer preview of the OS.

The Developer Previews (DP) of the Android operating system can be considered as released in the early stages of their development, which means that they are not stable at all and are not recommended being installed on the main user's device, and because they are intended for developers, this means that they may not carry many changes or new features at the level of the user interface, Any feature in it does not necessarily mean that it will be available in the final version of the system, as Google may test it for some time and then delete it either because it is not ready yet and needs further development, or for some that only Google knows alone.

This Android 12 DP brings minor new changes to many elements in the user interface, such as a new widget picker for the default Pixel player, which now displays widgets folded by default for easy viewing, unlike previously, as Google used to organize them into extended categories for side-scrolling, grouped alphabetically by the app then by the widget name. In the application switching (or multitasking) menu, the app icon has been moved to the top so that it no longer covers the application width, the currently selected app has the same vertical height as the other left and right cached previews, and the view from the app is now slightly smaller than before.

After being hidden in the previous DP1 release, Google finally made one-handed mode officially available for all Pixel device users, with a page to turn it on or off in Settings. One hand mode is not a new thing in the Android world, as many OEMs have been providing this feature in their phones for years now in their custom skins, but it is good to see Google introduce this feature to Pixel users as well, as well as to many other devices that will come with Android 12, Which does not contain this mode yet.

The one-handed mode in Android 12 is more similar to Apple's reachability, just swipe down near the bottom of the screen, and the entire UI will drop to bring up those hard-to-reach buttons into range. You can swipe up with one hand to exit this mode (home gesture), or you can wait for the timeout to expire. You can swipe with one hand to exit this mode (home gesture), or you can wait for the timeout to expire. By default, this is set to 8 seconds, but you can choose other durations, including no timeout.

Another previously spotted hidden feature of Android 12 appeared in DP2 which is the notification swipe feature, found under Settings → System → Gestures, and it allows scrolling down on the gestures' area to pull down the notification shade.

In Android 12, Google is also a revamped search bar to replace Google's search bar. This search bar may only be limited to showing local search results without web results, which will speed up the search for local files in the device. Search results using this new bar will include apps, app shortcuts, app slices, contacts, settings, widgets, and Play Store listings.

Android 12 gains also a face-based auto-rotation feature with this DP, so instead of relying solely on the gyroscope to know the orientation of the phone (landscape or portrait), it is expected that the front camera will also be used to judge the direction of the face and thus rotate the content on the screen according to the direction of carrying the phone.

Continuing the hidden features in this developer preview, Google is also working on a Game Dashboard for Android 12 which adds useful controls and information for gamers such as frames per second counter, easy access to screenshot and recording options, the "Do Not Disturb" toggle switch, and a shortcut to broadcast YouTube to allow users to broadcast their gameplay directly to YouTube.

Android 12 pattern unlock has new lines that are thicker and more colorful to tinted to match your configured style's accent color, and as well a nice new animation. The accessibility menu gained a cleaner interface, tablet multitasking was improved, and the Pixel 5 got the feature to double-tap on the back to perform custom actions such as taking a screenshot, pausing or playing music, or opening the Google Assistant. The media player now picks up distinct color cues from the system instead of trying to match the album artwork, and the lock screen gets a few UI improvements as well.

On the other hand, this second developer preview dropped a lot of the new features that were present in the first DP, such as the background settings which acquired a light blue appearance, and the notification shade also reverted to the standard white after the shade was a bit bluer in the first preview, and to make things worse, Google has made the dark mode feature in the system lighter, making it almost meaningless.

Images source: Android Police

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