Android 12 will change the way we play with our smartphones: here’s why

Among the many new features of Android 12, Google has just announced some that will improve the user experience for those who often play games on their smartphones

A feature similar to PlayStation's Control Center or Xbox and Windows' Game Bar that regular gamers will certainly be more than accustomed to was missing on Android, and Google has announced it for Android 12 in recent hours during the Google for Games Developer Summit 2021, it will be called Game Dashboard.

Different Android smartphone manufacturers have already included the Android 12 Game Dashboard in their customizations of the green robot, in order to provide the user with a set of useful commands before and during games. At the Google for Games Developer Summit 2021 the big G described it as an "overlay that provides quick access to key functions during games," and judging from what we've seen on Android 12 beta releases the Game Dashboard is structured like the power on/off menu found on Android with a set of on-screen virtual buttons near the right profile of the device.

The Android 12 Game Dashboard

According to what Google announced and showed during the event in some images, the Android 12 Game Dashboard will consist of at least four commands that can appear in overlay: capture screenshot, start recording a video, view frame rate and enable do not disturb mode.

These will be complemented by others at the bottom of the Game Dashboard, larger buttons - some would say tiles - that can be customized. Google showed off a few of them during the announcement: start a YouTube live stream, show stats and achievements of the running game, and others that let you change energy profiles, such as one that prioritizes battery consumption and one that instead asks for the most from the hardware to maximize game performance.

Google added that the Game Dashboard will be available on select Android 12 products by the end of the year, and has already announced collaboration with Samsung on the Game Mode API.

Play as You Download, play while you download

Another important new feature for gamers that will come with Android 12 is Play as You Download. The purpose of the novelty is intuitive: to allow the user to start playing as soon as possible, even while the title is being downloaded. Google said that in this way the initial levels or the first game scenarios will be available immediately, and you'll start playing "at least twice as fast as before".

This is especially true for example when you choose a game of several hundred megabytes or, worse, a few gigabytes maybe to be downloaded with a not too fast connection: so the little lightning bolt that Google will put next to the "Install" item once the feature is available will suggest that by downloading that game you can open it before the installation process is finished. In the example shown by Google, Touchgrind BMX is reported ready to be played the moment the download has about reached 20% of the total.