The OS is also getting support for scrolling screenshots.
Android 12’s public release is scheduled for the second half of Q3. Before that, Google has released the third beta of the OS with the final set of APIs and features to developers and public beta testers. Among other things, the latest Android 12 beta gives us a peek into how Google will make auto-rotation smarter.
The “better, faster auto-rotate” in Android 12 uses the front-facing camera to analyze your position and determine if the orientation of the display needs to be changed or not.
Auto-Rotate in Android 12 Will Use the Front Camera
Android smartphones typically use the accelerometer to determine the phone’s position and switch to landscape or portrait mode accordingly.
While this works in most cases, the solution fails terribly when you’re lying on a bed and using the phone. The accelerometer will determine that your phone is in a horizontal position and switch to landscape mode, even though it should ideally stay in portrait mode leading to a frustrating user experience.
This is exactly what Google is trying to fix with its smarter auto-rotate implementation in Android 12. As Dave Burke, the VP of engineering for Android at Google, explains in a post on the Android Developers blog, the front-facing camera on your phone will determine the orientation of your face and then decide if the display orientation needs to be changed or not.
Android OEMs like Samsung already use the front camera to keep the display on when you are looking at it. Google is now using the same approach to deliver a better user experience when using auto-rotate.
The entire processing for this feature happens in Android 12’s Private Compute Core, so the photos are never sent to any server or stored on the device. Apart from this, the Private Compute Core is also used by Google to power the Live Caption and Smart Reply features in Android 12.
To ensure that all this processing does not delay the actual auto-rotation, Google has “optimized the animation and redrawing and added an ML-driven gesture-detection algorithm” All these improvements will reduce the auto-rotate latency by 25 percent.
Samsung actually debuted a similar feature in the Galaxy S3 back in 2012 called Smart Rotation. However, the feature did not work as intended, so it’s not surprising that the company ultimately ditched it for good.
Google has also added scrolling screenshots support in the third Android 12 beta. This will allow you to capture long screenshots for scrollable content by tapping the Capture more button. The feature is already present in almost all non-Pixel Android smartphones, so Google is just catching up to the competition here.
Google recently also unveiled another new Android 12 feature that will allow you to play large games without downloading them fully first.
The final release of Android 12 will be first available for compatible Google Pixel devices in Q3. It will then eventually make its way to Android devices from other OEMs.
From a new look to new privacy controls, here are all the major features that Google is introducing in Android 12.
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