Android 12 Snow Cone might add software features OEMs have offe

(Pocket-lint) – The probing into the next version of Android – thought to be called “Snow Cone”, but expected to launch as Android 12 – is underway with details leaking out about what to expect. That is revealing some familiar features that Google wants to make native.

We’ve seen this process before. Big OEMs use their Android skins to make changes to the core Google offering, adding useful features as a way of differentiating. Over the past 10 years, Samsung has been the most prolific, in many cases debuting software features that then get absorbed by Google and appear as a native Android feature a few years later.

The next on the list appears to be one-handed mode and rolling screenshot. Both of these have been on Samsung (and some of other) devices for many years. Samsung implemented the option for a smaller version of the display content when screens started to get overly large. It’s a function designed to make single handed use easier, by shrinking everything on the display towards the bottom corner.

That makes it easier to use with just a thumb, without having to stretch.

It does raise questions though. We’ve always found the system fiddly on Samsung phones. When it was first introduced, big phones were something new. But large phones are now commonplace and so much of the UI has already adapted to single-handed use – swipe down to access quick settings, shifting the settings menu down the page and leaving space at the top, and the largest of all, swipe gestures so you don’t have to tap a tiny arrow at the top of the page to go back in an app.

Does one-handed mode really have any value any more?

One thing that’s more exciting is the suggestion that we’ll get rolling screen shots. This is a really useful feature that will let you capture an entire page rather than just the visible area on the screen. Again, Samsung (and others) have offered this for some time and inclusion in Android would be a great benefit to many people.

Finally, there’s been the suggestion that there might be a screen rotation feature that can orient from the user’s face. This will mean that the screen doesn’t do a funny dance between vertical and horizontal when you’re reclining. It’s a common problem if you’re, for example, reading something while lying on your side. This could be a Pixel exclusive feature, according to leaks.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that we’ll see any of these features and it’s not uncommon for Google to test features in the preview that don’t make it into the release version of the software.

Android 12 hasn’t yet been announced, but we’d expect to see the developer preview surface soon if previous timelines continue. Android 11 dev preview was announced on 19 February 2020, followed by a public beta in June and final release in September.

Writing by Chris Hall.

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