Android 12 adds haptics-coupled audio, which could be extraordinary

Chris Burns - Feb 18, 2021, 1:11pm CST
Android 12 adds haptics-coupled audio, which could be extraordinary

With the launch of the Android 12 developer preview this week, we’re getting our first look at what the software will bring later this year. Android 12, also known as Android S, adds a system called HapticGenerator. This new bit of code is an audio post-processor “which generates haptic data based on the audio channels.” This could change the way you experience sound on your smartphone in the very near future.

To make use of this effect, device hardware will absolutely NEED to be able to support “audio-coupled-haptic playback. This effect will only be created on devices that support said feature, based on the simple check that occurs at initiation for the feature. Apps need to add code, devices need to have support for said code, and Android 12 needs to be on the device that’ll be attempting to make the effect work – so it’s not quite ready for prime-time yet, we’re just looking at what’s coming soon.

First mentions of this system in Android 12 code works with the phone’s Media Player and/or “AudioEffect.” This means we’re working with sounds for videos, sounds from music apps, sounds from video games, and more.

With Audio Effects, haptic feedback inherits gain control, bass boost, dynamics processing, an equalizer effect, and loudness enhancer. You’ll also get “Acoustic Echo Canceler” (AEC), present reverberation effect, and a virtualizer effect. Haptic feedback can turn audio into a far more tactile element in games once it’s ready to roll in Android S.

Google separates content that works with this effect into four parts: Game, Movie, Music, and Voice. Imagine what could be done with this feature in your next Android device – what sort of game or music would you like to experience with haptic feedback tied to sound?

To see more on this software, take a peek at the Android 12 Developer Preview release for Pixel devices this afternoon. If you have a Google Pixel from the last couple of years, you should be able to load Android 12 DP1 right this minute!


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