If you’ve developed an app for your business, the chances are that it’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to help you maximise downloads, engagements, and sales. The good news is that Google, the company behind Android, offers backwards compatibility for apps, so the chances are that you won’t need to make any immediate changes when the next version of Android is released later this year. However, it’s always good to know what new features are coming to the operating system as some might be directly relevant to your business or app – we’ve rounded up the important stuff below…
Android 12 release date
We don’t have an exact date for Android 12 yet, but the update went into public beta on 9 June and it’s expected that we’ll see Google release the update to the first smartphones in September. Unlike iOS, which is available to every iPhone user at once, Google adopts an unusual update pattern, with Pixel phones getting Android 12, then the next partner devices will follow. That means those with a Pixel 3, 3 XL, Pixel 3a, 3a XL, Pixel 4, 4 XL, Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 will be amongst the first users to receive the update, alongside the following devices: Asus Zenfone 8, OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, Oppo Find X3 Pro, Realme GT Sharp, Tecno Camon 17, TCL 20, TCL 20 Pro 5G, Vivo iQOO 7 Legend, Xiaomi Mi 11, Mi 11 Ultra, Mi 11i and Mi 11X Pro ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G. Other phones will receive the update later.
Updates to notifications
As an app developer or business owner with an app, you’ll know just how important it is to use app notifications to boost awareness and engagement. Google has overhauled the notifications experience on Android 12, and they’re now grouped per app. Users can also easily snooze notifications from apps for a set amount of time, so it’s vital that you only send out notifications when they’re relevant and add value – spam users and they’ll snooze you.
Screenshots have been overhauled
Google has made some changes to screenshots with Android 12, and it’s worth knowing about. Users can now type text onto screenshots in different fonts and colours, and add emoji, so it could be worth introducing new interfaces and experiences that can be shared with users’ friends, family, and social media followers. Whole-app screenshots are also new, so users can share their entire screen within an app. The good news? It’s possible to disable screen capture and recording if your app includes sensitive information like card details.
Privacy becomes a key focus
Apple has made a huge effort to improve users’ privacy on iOS in recent years, and regularly compares its own operating system to Google’s in an effort to win over security-conscious users. In Android 12, Google has made a stand, too, introducing a new Privacy Dashboard where users can see which apps have accessed certain permissions like location data and camera and microphone data. Similar to iOS, when users first launch an app, they’ll be able to decide what level of access an app has, and can limit location data to approximate rather than exact. Make sure you introduce interfaces that explain how you collect and use data within your apps – you might need to convince some why certain permissions are needed.
Updates to the Android media player
If your app includes multimedia content like podcasts, videos, and music, it’s worth noting that Android 12 introduces a new media player interface. It drops down when you have content playing and allows users to pause, rewind, fast-forward, and turn up the volume on content, taking up more space on the lock screen when it’s active, too. Users can also pair a device like earbuds or a Bluetooth speaker – developers won’t need to make any changes to benefit from this media player, but you might want to refine your interfaces to make use of it.
Improved Android app shortcuts
Google has also made some tweaks to the shortcuts menu – now, when you hold down on an app icon on the home screen, there’s a larger menu with more visible commands, which makes it easier for people to use and engage with. If your app is yet to introduce shortcuts, there’s never been a better time – whether it’s a quick shortcut to their shopping cart, video page, or a QR scanner to find out more information about products or displays in person.
Paving the way for other app stores
Android has always been more open than iOS when it comes to app stores and downloading apps and content, but Android 12 takes it to the next level. Last year, Google confirmed that Android would make it easier for users to download apps from third-party app stores, without compromising the security or integrity of devices. Although the Google Play Store will still be your preferred store for maximum reach, it does open up possibilities – and perhaps even allow you to launch your own store where you can set the rules and bypass commission.
Users can hibernate your app
Finally, it’s important to note that Android 12 will allow users the ability to hibernate apps that aren’t in regular use, freeing up space and reducing their power consumption. Although this feature hasn’t yet been publicly announced by Google, it’s something worth considering and you might want to make some changes to your strategy to maximise usage and engagement and lower the chances of your app going into hibernation on users’ smartphones and tablets.
Are you looking forward to Android 12? Let us know and don’t hesitate to reach out to the development experts at Zudu if you’re looking for help improving or overhauling your app.