Every year, the Unicode Consortium releases new sets of emoji, adding ever more options to our already big selection of smileys. Unfortunately, Android stores emoji on the system partition, along with fonts, so a full system update is required to get the latest and greatest on your phone — particularly a nuisance if your phone's manufacturer isn't known to provide fast OTAs. That might be about to change with Android 12. Some commits have been merged that would make emoji and fonts updateable without a new OS release.
Touchscreen presses and gestures make up the vast majority of our interactions with smartphones these days, but sometimes it's nice to be able to perform an action without looking, as we could by squeezing the Active Edge to summon the Google Assistant on older Pixels. A similar feature that enabled double-tapping on the back of the phone was in the works for Android 11 but didn't make it into the final version. Thankfully, it seems like it will make a comeback in Android 12.
Long gone are the days when smartphones were tiny and cramped, and multitasking on them was a distant dream. With the adoption of larger displays and more flexible software, smartphones make it easier than ever before to do more at once. Split-screen, a native Android feature, already lets you work with two apps at the same time. Now Google is reportedly working on a way to make it even easier to multitask, with a new App Pairs feature for launching two apps simultaneously.
The few of you who use physical controllers to game with your Android devices might have noticed that haptic feedback is kind of terrible at the moment. At the moment, Android doesn't have proper rumble support for external controllers, meaning that games either have no rumble or very primitive rumble. According to some commits spotted recently, that's about to change.
Asking for the Wi-Fi password always feels a little awkward, but Google has been working on ways to make the process easier. Android 10 allowed users to share network details via QR codes, and now it looks like Nearby Share could simplify things even further in an upcoming version of Android — possibly even this year's Android 12 release.
Epic Games opened a can of worms last month when it added its own payment solution to Fortnite in a violation of Google Play's guidelines for developers. The move has brought discussions on app store policies to the forefront, and now Google is taking the opportunity to highlight Android's open nature — and announce a big change for alternative app stores coming in Android 12.
Motorola has expanded the software promise for its latest Edge+ flagship phone. In a statement provided to Droid Life, the company has committed to providing "at least two Android OS upgrades" for the $1,000 phone. (You might have expected that to be a given when you drop a grand, but welcome to Motorola.) Given that it ships with Android 10, that means Motorola has now committed to updating the Edge+ to Android 12 someday.