Google released Android 12 AOSP (Android Open Source Project) source code on October 4, 2021. Thus, OEMs might require porting the new OS version to support their product update with the latest security and optimization features. The new Android release includes behavior changes, additional features, and API endpoints, as well as new security and privacy controls, all of which require code changes to support the latest Android 12 release. We’ve highlighted the top changes that might affect your Android-based product so that you can better prepare for compatibility.
Security and Privacy
Data security and privacy are important to users, and Android 12 brings new transparency information to users in a Privacy Dashboard. Users will be able to see the data that applications use, and the following requests: location, microphone, and camera. This new feature challenges the OEMs to get permission to data, so they must wrap the code around access permissions.
Permissions are notoriously difficult to work with when your application uses multiple device features and must access specific data. When L4B Software ports applications to new versions of Android, we always adhere to best practices so that your project integrates seamlessly with the operating systems’ security features.
Device Properties Attestation
The way developers verify the authenticity of device properties changes in Android 12 to better detect abuse. The integrity of applications and hardware running on the device ensures that sensitive data is cryptographically protected. It compares current device hardware with a list of approved device settings.
Android 12 offers the setDevicePropertiesAttestationIncluded() method so that developers can validate the device’s brand, device running the application, manufacturer, model, and product.
For applications that run media, Android 12 offers older apps the ability to leverage the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video compression technology. This technology is an improvement from its predecessor the Advanced Video Coding (AVC). Your apps will get up to 50% better compression, which will in turn increase performance for streaming and media play. Your applications will use less bandwidth during video delivery, making media-rich applications more user-friendly.
Developers also have access to AVIF image support and easier effects such as blurs and color filters. The new RenderEffect class offers a quick and convenient way for developers to apply changes to images and an ImageDecoder API for animated image decoding.
Adding more privacy controls to user devices, Android 12 introduces a feature that notifies users when the mic or camera is being used by an application. Users can also turn off access to both the mic and camera using system-wide settings.
For developers, Android 12 offers vendor extensions that give direct access to effects such as bokeh, HDR, night mode, and others. Previously, these effects were provided in the CameraX library, but now developers can work directly with the platform to access these camera features. To take advantage of this new coding feature, L4B Software will port code to use the new integrated API to keep your application compatible with the latest Android version.
OEMs often struggle with performance on Android-based systems due to limited CPU, storage, and memory resources. Android 12 promises to help developers to create faster applications by reducing core CPU time by 22% and the use of big cores by 15%. It also optimizes foreground services and provides more responsive notifications.
Most notable is the new performance class, allowing developers to check for a device’s performance class at runtime and leverage features for optimized app speed. Also included in speed optimization are Android’s machine learning accelerators that improve performance via the Neural Network API.
Are You Prepared for Android to Linux Kernel Development Changes?
A major concern for OEMs is the latest announcement that Google’s move from the Android platform to use a mainline Linux kernel was a success. Several changes to the way OEMs code Android apps should be expected, and by 2023 and 2024 Google plans to transfer the main core of patches to the Android Common Kernel branch.
The move to the Linux kernel will require changes to your application that might require L4B Software’s managed and professional approach to Android development. L4B Software can help and support your development team to build compatible code that focuses on HMI experiences, better performance, and security and privacy of your user data.