Here’s our first real look at Android 12’s new Conversation widget
Google released the first developer preview of its upcoming Android 12 update last week, and we’ve been busy tearing down the new system apps and firmware to find clues about new features. While we’ve found a lot ourselves, we have to give credits to talented developers on XDA for finding some of the more exciting features, such as the wallpaper-based theming system and machine learning-based back gesture detection. Now, Kieron Quinn, AKA XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899, is back again with another scoop: our first (real) look at Android 12’s Conversation widget.
Our first look at Android 12 came 2 weeks ago, and it showcased radical changes to the design but also a new widget called the Conversation widget. According to documentation reviewed by XDA, Android 12 will introduce Conversation widgets that highlight recent messages, missed calls, or activity statuses. The widget is contained within Android’s SystemUI application and is currently planned to be a mandatory feature for all Android 12 devices.
Leaked Google mockups of Android 12’s new Conversation widget feature.
During our hands-on of the first Android 12 Developer Preview, we didn’t see a Conversation widget in the Pixel Launcher’s widget picker. However, we knew it was coming based on code analysis and the presence of a new Activity that asks you to “select one conversation to show in your widget.” Thanks to the reverse engineering efforts of Quinny899, we can not only confirm that this feature is present in the first Developer Preview but that it actually works. Quinny899 was able to add a Conversation widget (currently called “People Space” while it’s in development) that shows some information about the last message from the Google Messages app. The widget does not currently show the actual content of the message, and it also does not work with other apps he tried, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Android 12’s in-development Conversations widget. Credits: Quinny899/Kieron Quinn.
A new Conversation widget isn’t all that Google is working on in Android 12. There’s also evidence that Google is working on iOS-esque widget stacks, though the implementation is far from complete. We’ll continue to dig into the first Developer Preview to see what we can find, but for now, I wouldn’t get your hopes up about a major widget overhaul this iteration.