The third Android 12 developer preview improves haptics and in-app links

The first public beta is set to roll out in May.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

It's been just over a month since Google released the second developer preview for Android 12 and today, the company is now pushing out the third version. This preview adds haptic feedback options for developers, new app launch animations and improved link management in apps, which are features we expect to arrive in the next major version of Android.

In a blog post, VP of engineering Dave Burke wrote that Android 12 will offer expanded tools "for creating informative haptic feedback for UI events, immersive and delightful effects for gaming, and attentional haptics for productivity." Specifically, game developers can now access multiple, different actuators independently in game controllers to create synchronized effects or different haptic effects across the device. Google also added the ability to create a "low tick" effect that is a very short, low frequency expression intended for repetitive use and should produce a "light crisp sensation."

As part of an overall interface refresh, Android 12 will feature new app launch animations for what Burke called "a more consistent and delightful experience." These animations apply to all apps from the point of launch, showing a splash screen with the app's icon before transitioning to the app itself. This new experience "brings standard design elements to every app launch," Burke wrote, but it's customizable by each app's developers. They can choose to use a custom icon, background color, set light or dark mode and control the timing to reveal the app. This animation experience is enabled by default for all apps.

Some other interface updates include a new call notification template for apps that handle calls, offering more flexibility over avatar images, text and button options. Google also worked to speed up machine learning processes and in this preview, Burke said "we have more than halved inference call overhead by introducing improvements such as padding, sync fences and reusable execution objects."

Another change this preview brings is in how apps open links. When you tap on a link that hasn't been verified through Android App Links or manually approved, Android 12 will open them directly in the default browser by default instead of making you pick from a chooser dialog. Users can approve specific apps with a new Setting called "Open by default" that will display websites from links in apps you've authorized.

Burke also laid out the timeline for Android 12's public rollout. Google is targeting to reach platform stability in August with a final release slated for some time after that. A beta release is scheduled to arrive in May, which is when the public (including members of the press or readers like you) can more easily download the software to test. With Google's I/O developer conference kicking off on May 18th, it's likely we'll learn more about major features coming to Android 12 very soon.