Android 12 "Snow Cone" might change how stock Android works

It seems that the next version of Android will be its biggest one yet. An earlier leak showed how Android 12 will make some rather substantial changes to the notification panel and Quick Settings tiles but that was apparently just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of that iceberg is slowly but surely getting exposed, painting a picture of a next-gen Android that could be changing how people use the platform, especially the stock version of Android, practically catching up with what other manufacturers have already been doing for years.

The previously reported Android 12 leak hinted at some big changes to the overall look and feel of the system. This will apparently be what Google is internally calling "Material NEXT", the next version of its design language that permeates even its non-Android products. Expect some of these to be controversial, XDA points out, with the Quick Settings tiles getting a new layout that might ruffle some feathers just as Android 11's changes did last year.

Beyond appearances, though, Android 12 will reportedly be getting some multitasking and accessibility features that are honestly long overdue. One-Handed Mode, which shrinks the screen to a corner for easier reachability, has long been a request and a feature from other OEMs like Samsung and Huawei. Being able to pinch to resize a Picture-in-Picture window is also late but appreciated. Curiously, one "original" feature is the ability to stash that PiP floating window to the side.

Some changes in Android 12, however, might be reserved for Pixel phones only or at first. 9to5Google discovered an auto-rotate feature that is based on the orientation of your phone and your head. This should solve the problem of trying to use a Pixel phone while lying in bed, not that you should anyway, at least according to some productivity and health experts.

One inessential but still interesting nugget about Android 12 is something no one will probably see. Although Google has ditched the dessert names for public releases, it still hasn't given up on those treats internally. Following Android 11 R's "Red Velvet Cake", Android 12 S is apparently being called "Snow Cone", an almost timely codename given the weather in some parts of the US right now.