Review of Android 12

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It does not matter what you plan to use your phone for, making phone calls, using Whatsapp or taking advantage of Ripper casino bonuses, in terms of phone operating systems, there are two major choices, Android and iPhones.  My personal favorite is Android, so I am going to take a look at what is coming down the pike with Android 12 and Android 13.

Basics about the Android Operating System Releases

  • Android 13 – Api 33 – Launched with Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Asus ZenFone 8, Lenovo P12 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro, Vivo X80 Pro, Realme GT2 Pro, Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro, Xiaomi Pad 5, Redmi K50 Pro, Sharp AQUOS sense6, Tecno Camon 19 Pro, ZTE Axon 40 Ultra
  • Android 12L – Released March 7, 2022 – Api 32Improvements specific for foldable phones, tablets, desktop-sized screens, and Chromebooks, and modifications to the user interface to tailor it to larger screens.
  • Android 12 – Api 31 – Released October 4, 2021  (6 months ago)
  • Android 11 – Api 30 – Released September 8, 2020 (1 1/2 years ago)
  • Android 10 – Api 29 – Released September 3, 2019 (2 1/2 years ago)

Once you start to go below Android 10, you are starting to get into “old” technology.  It might still be a good phone, and it might still work with what you want it to work with.  But you may not be able to download apps from GooglePlay directly and you may have to download apps from a third-party site that hosts old versions of your desired apps.

Android 10

There are more new features than what I am listing below.  I am just listing the features that caught my eye.  For a complete list, you would have to look at the Android Release notes.

  • New permissions are required to access location in the background and to access photo, video, and audio files.
  • Easier to port professional audio apps using MIDI to the Android platform using the AMidi NDK API.
  • Camera framework privacy improvements
  • Emergency numbers and emergency calling – In an emergency, devices with support for IRadio HAL v1.4 can initiate an emergency call using emergency numbers retrieved from a source such as a SIM card, the network signal, or the Android database. Numbers can be categorized based on emergency service categories such as police, fire, and ambulance.
  • Group calling APIs
  • Remote SMS using bluetooth.
  • eSIMs
  • Support for 5G non-standalone (NSA).  5G NSA is a solution for 5G networks where the network is supported by an existing 4G infrastructure. On Android 10, devices can display a 5G icon on the status bar when a device connects to a 5G network.
  • Wi-Fi Direct, also known as Wi-Fi P2P, allows supporting devices to discover and connect to one another directly using the Wi-Fi Direct protocol without internet or cellular network access.  So local devices can talk to each other through Wi-Fi without having to connect to an outside internet.
  • Background (idle) access to camera, microphone and sensors disabled for more privacy protection with the side effect of disabling antitheft software.
  • Dynamic depth format for photos, which allows changing background blur after taking a photo.

Android 11

  • API Quotas, this is needed if API calls cost money, and you want to limit how much you are spending.
  • Android Automotive – Android Automotive is an operating system and platform running directly on the in-vehicle hardware.
  • Camera concurrent streaming
  • Camera zoom features
  • Android virtual devices
  • Emergency calls can be done while still on another call.  The current call is put on hold until the emergency call is ended.
  • During an emergency, incoming calls are automatically rejected and are displayed as missed calls.
  • During an active emergency, outgoing non-emergency calls cannot be placed.
  • Active emergency calls can’t to held or swapped.
  • The emergency database can be updated through OTA updates.  The database contains a list of emergency phone numbers with corresponding countries and service categories.

Question about emergency calls:  Supposed, hypothetically, you are doing an emergency call about a missing child.  Then when you are on the emergency call, the child tries to call your phone.  Is there any way to do an exception for X phone number to be allowed to go through?  I don’t see anything in the documentation about this, but I could see that situation, and with a minor child, the child being able to get their call through is a high priority.

Question about the emergency database:  What about non-emergency numbers for the police, fire, etc.  A person should not call 9-1-1 when a non-emergency call is the right choice (need to talk to the police, but not an emergency).  Easy access to that number would be good.  Also, what about community outreach for the local police, fire, etc.  Who is “Officer Friendly” for the community?  What is that person’s phone number, email, WhatsApp, Facebook contact, Twitter, etc.  Is there a community chat group or support group about local community stuff (local politics, education, parks, what’s happening in the community)?  These are not exactly “emergencies”, but on the other hand, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

  • Small cell support – Provide support for closed subscriber groups (CSGs).  This is useful for mobile network operators (MNOs) that manage small cells through closed subscriber groups.
  • Connectivity Diagnostics API – The Connectivity Diagnostics API allows apps that own or manage networks, such as carrier apps, VPN apps, and Wi-Fi suggestion apps, to receive diagnostic network connectivity information from the framework.
  • Open Mobile API changes – Parsing rules for carrier privileges.  Filter device capabilities.  (not sure what all of this means in terms of “end-user experience”.)
  • Work profile improvements – Used for system administrators who have to manage a bunch of phones or tablets for a company or organization.
  • Support for 5G cell information,
  • Adds support for third-party gaming controllers including Nintendo Switch Pro controller and Steam controller.

Android 12

  • Improvements specific for foldable phones, tablets, desktop-sized screens, and Chromebooks, and modifications to the user interface to tailor it to larger screens.
  • Rust language support
  • Custom font fallback
  • 5G network slicing
  • Location time zone detection.
  • Phone action buttons for answering, declining, and hanging up.
  • Allow disabling completely 2G.  In Europe, 3G was converted to 5G, but 2G was left on for emergency “stuff” that is still connected to the 2G network and has not been updated.
  • More automotive features – the changes in this area are so huge it could be a whole article in itself, because Automotive Android was only first released in Android 11.
  • Blocking untrusted touch events.
  • Windows blurs
  • Window magnification
  • Bluetooth permission – Related to scanning for nearby Bluetooth devices; Advertise to nearby Bluetooth devices; Connect to nearby Bluetooth devices;

Question Bluetooth permissions:  Do these settings allow me to turn off other people trying to connect or send items to my phone, for example, recently a group of people sent images of a plane crash to other flyers on the same plane.  Do these settings prevent that from happening?

  • Indicator when a third-party app uses the camera or microphone.  In Android 11, third-party apps were not allowed to gain access to cameras or microphones (except through the main phone apps).  This caused problems for some third-party apps where the user intended a third-party app to gain access to the phone or microphone.  So these settings fix an issue that was created in Android 11, when Android 11 tried to close a security issue.
  • Approximate location instead of exact location sent to apps.
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