The year 2021 should see Android 12 begin to arrive on smartphones. The new version is still shrouded in mystery, and while we’re waiting to discover it, here are the new features we’d like to see Google adopt.
The next version of Android, which should logically be named Android 12, is slowly but surely starting to reveal itself thanks to some first indiscretions. While waiting for the first Developer Preview, expected in the next few weeks, we’ve concocted a little wish list for you. Here are all the new features that the Frandroid editorial team would like to see coming in Android 12. Be careful, it’s not about predicting what’s going to happen, but really about thinking about what we’d like to see become a standard for Android.
Some of our wishes may be inspired by manufacturer interfaces, ColorOS, MIUI or One UI for example, while others may come from Apple and iOS. In any case, if they were adopted by Google, it would mean that all application developers could rely on them and it would therefore strengthen their interest, beyond one brand or another.
A TRUE ONE-HANDED NAVIGATION MODE
We start this selection with a function that we appreciate a lot on iPhone: the one-handed mode. With a simple finger movement, it is possible to force the iPhone to use only one half of the screen. This kind of function is also found on some Android smartphones, at Huawei for example, but Google does not integrate it natively to Android.
With the increase in size of Android smartphones, often larger than the iPhone, and what’s more with the sometimes very long screens of modern smartphones, it would be really interesting to see this accessibility feature in Android 12.
A MORE ADVANCED SYNCHRONIZATION WITH WINDOWS 10
Google legitimately wants to highlight its own ecosystem and therefore multiplies the connections between Android and Chrome OS. For its part, Samsung has shown that it is possible to do very powerful things by shaking hands with Microsoft. Today, Galaxy smartphones can fully synchronize with Windows 10, and in particular display their applications directly on a Windows PC.
Corridor noise from Microsoft’s side points to the possibility of installing Android applications directly on future versions of Windows 10. Maybe Google could go the other half of the way, and work with Microsoft to better integrate Android into the Windows 10 ecosystem.
A PC OR TV MODE FOR ANDROID SMARTPHONES
For lack of a better integration with our PCs running Windows 10, we could imagine seeing our smartphones find new uses on other screens. We are thinking here of a “PC mode” like what Samsung can offer in particular. Simply connect your smartphone to a keyboard, a mouse and a screen to see an interface similar to that of a PC, with windows for each application. The generalization of USB-C, which allows data, power and video to be transmitted, is the ideal way to make this very accessible.
In the same vein, one could imagine a TV mode by connecting one’s smartphone through an HDMI port on a TV set, and find oneself facing an interface similar to that of Google TV. With applications like Netflix or Google Stadia, this kind of novelty would make sense.
If you have a smartphone of a major brand, you probably already have this function on your smartphone. Therefore, it may be surprising to see it listed here as a potential new feature, but it is a feature missing from the basic version of Android. We are talking here about the possibility to create screenshots with scrolling, for example to capture the entire image of an article rather than a simple excerpt.
This is quite handy when you take a lot of screenshots, and is therefore often found on smartphones. On Pixel, on the other hand, or for interfaces without this native feature, you still have to go through a third-party application to get it.
GAMING AND STADIA MODE
Mobile gaming continues to grow in popularity and ambition with games such as Genshin Impact, not to mention the unmistakable Call of Duty Mobile and Fortnite. Manufacturers are releasing dedicated smartphones for this purpose, and Qualcomm even offers updates for graphics drivers on the Play Store.
We’d like to see Google directly address this market by offering a native game mode on Android. Manufacturers sometimes already offer it: it allows to cut down on notifications and maximize performance when playing a greedy game.
In the same vein, we wonder if Google could put more emphasis on its Stadia cloud gaming service. On this point, the firm may be afraid of getting more in the way of anti-trust investigations against it.
PRIVACY AND ALTERNATIVES TO GOOGLE
This is perhaps the least likely of the wishes expressed in this article, and yet it still has a chance to come true. Google could take advantage of Android 12 to integrate features that allow for better privacy protection and control.
This is what Apple has chosen to do with iOS, which has a business model opposite to Google’s, much to Facebook’s chagrin. It’s hard to imagine Google going that far, since the giant’s business model is based on data acquisition, but the firm might want to go there on its own rather than wait until it is forced to do so by anti-trust or pro-consumer decisions.
In the same vein, and still against the backdrop of legal battles over Google’s position and services on the tech market, the firm will open Android 12 to alternatives to the Google Play Store. This is already official, but the firm could go further and put forward more alternatives to its services.
AND MANY OTHERS
Of course, there are many other new features that are expected, some of which have already been leaked for Android 12: improved multitasking, a much more advanced customization and theme system like what MIUI can offer, or the ability to automatically uninstall applications that you never use to free up space.
Let’s leave it to Google to surprise us with its next version. Hopefully the brand will be as ambitious as possible.