Earlier today, Google released the first Android 12 Developer Preview for Pixel smartphones, and we’ve been digging into the release to find everything that’s new. One of the most anticipated changes to the next Android release is a brand new UI, and we’ve already caught glimpses of Android 12’s newfound one-handed friendliness. Now, we’ve managed to enable a new UI for the Always on Display, lockscreen, and notifications, further confirming that Google has plans to radically change Android’s UI this year.
Note: This user interface changes shown in this article are a work-in-progress. The new UI is not live in Android 12 Developer Preview 1 — Google intentionally disabled the new UI in the Preview. As we’ll explain below, it is likely that several elements of the UI will change before the Stable release.
Last week, we obtained images that we believed to be design mockups of Android 12, showcasing the new OS’s rumored theming system. One of the images that we shared showed off a brand new UI for the notifications panel. The mockup showed a light beige-colored opaque background, rounded corners on the notifications, privacy indicators for the camera and microphone, and swapped positioning of the date and time.
On Monday of this week, we published an article with exclusive information on Google’s efforts to redesign Android in Android 12. That article detailed the many changes coming to the Always on Display, lockscreen, lock pattern view, and more. After analyzing Android 12 Developer Preview 1, I can confirm that all of these changes are in development, but we haven’t been able to enable all of them just yet. However, we’re ready to share a sneak peek at some of the ways that Google is tweaking the Always on Display, lockscreen, and notifications.
Android 12 DP1’s current lockscreen and notification UI
As we explained previously, Google is experimenting with the design and layout of the lockscreen in Android 12. Some of the possible changes include putting the digital clock front-and-center in the middle. The hours are now above the minutes, and the font is enormous. Meanwhile, the At A Glance widget has been moved to the top left corner. When a notification comes in, the clock shrinks and moves to the top right of the lockscreen. On the Always on Display, notification icons are displayed in the top left underneath the At A Glance widget rather than in the center. Personally, I’m not a fan of this new design in its current iteration, though I recognize that it’s still a WIP and is subject to many changes. It’s possible this design will look a bit better once Google enables lockscreen clock customization, but we haven’t managed to get any other clock types to show up in this view.
Android 12’s in-development lockscreen and AOD interface
We also haven’t been able to get the Device Controls feature to show up on the lockscreen, though we’ve confirmed that Google is working on integrating the feature more tightly into the lockscreen. We also don’t see any radical changes to the lock pattern view, though we did spot a subtle tweak to the animation during our hands-on.
Next up, here’s a sneak peek at some of the notifications panel changes that could be coming in Android 12. Instead of the mostly transparent background of the current UI, Google is instead testing an opaque background that matches your day/night theme. The background color may match your wallpaper once Android 12’s rumored theming system goes live. If so, that would explain the light beige background shown off in the design mockups we posted. In any case, we’ve confirmed that Google is working on a wallpaper-based theming system under the code-name “monet”, but we haven’t managed to activate it yet.
Apart from the opaque background, we’ve also spotted the thicker brightness bar that we previously mentioned. Stock Android’s current brightness bar is a thin bar, while the new design is more of a thick pill. The Quick Settings tiles haven’t changed, though the labels have disappeared from this iteration. We know that Google is working on another design that places the labels on the sides, but we weren’t able to get that working yet.
Android 12’s in-development notifications panel interface
One thing we’ll note is that some of Google’s in-development changes broke notifications when we enabled them. It seems that Google is working on a new notification pipeline and also a two-column notification UI, the latter of which we previously revealed. We weren’t able to get the new notification pipeline or layout working with the other UI changes, but we’ll keep trying in this and future Previews.
We’ll continue to dig into the first Android 12 Developer Preview to see what we can find. I’ll be posting many of the changes I find on Twitter in this running thread on all the changes I found so far. We’ll also have more detailed writeups on all my findings published on XDA in case you aren’t a fan of Twitter’s layout.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.
Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down – Chilliwack Progress – Chilliwack Progress
Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) became the fourth most active airport in Canada during the pandemic – and its total traffic was down from 2019.
December ended what was described as a “devastating year” for air travel, according to a Statistics Canada report (Feb. 25) on the total air movements at the 90 airports under NAV Canada.
Statistics Canada defines air movements as any “take-off, landing, or simulated approach by an aircraft as defined by NAV Canada.” The numbers show Canada’s major international airports are seeing comparable runway activity as smaller airports.
|Total aircraft movements at top 10 Canadian airports, 2020. Statistics Canada report.|
Vancouver International Airport, for instance, had the third most traffic with 156,540 total aircraft movements in 2020 (down 53 per cent from 2019), while YXX had 137,265 (down just 17 per cent).
Month-over-month since May, Abbotsford Airport has consistently been in the top five for aircraft movements, even reaching number two for July and August when their traffic surpassed 2019’s numbers.
Other international airports are seeing similar declines. Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport – Canada’s busiest airport historically – experienced the largest drop at 62 per cent, having over 280,000 fewer take-offs and landings in 2020.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, other international take-offs and landings nosedived to levels not seen in 20 years,” the report says.
Across the country, international flights were down 58 per cent for the year, flights to the U.S. fell by 68 per cent, while domestic movements declined 36 per cent, according to the report.
|Year-over-year change in aircraft movements, by sector. Graph from Statistics Canada.|
More restrictions were announced by the federal government on Jan. 29, 2021 to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the new variants. Airlines have since suspended all flights to and from Mexico and other Caribbean countries until April 30.
As of February, all international flights are being funnelled through four Canadian airports, and passengers have to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure, and must quarantine for three days at a government approved hotel.
Microsoft .NET Conf: Focus on Windows – InfoQ.com
Earlier this week, the first edition of the .NET Conf: Focus series for 2021 took place, featuring Windows desktop development topics. The event targeted developers of all stripes, covering both existing functionalities on .NET 5 and upcoming projects such as .NET MAUI and Project Reunion. The focus conferences are free, one-day live-streamed events featuring speakers from the community and .NET product teams.
The focus series is a branch of the original .NET Conf, an annual event organized by the .NET community and Microsoft that showcases the latest developments for the .NET platform. Each focus event targets a specific .NET-related technology, providing a series of in-depth, hands-on sessions aimed at .NET developers.
.NET Conf: Windows was different from the other past events in the series because it was focused on a single operating system (OS) – which may seem strange considering the ongoing unification plan towards a cross-platform, multi-OS .NET framework. However, the focus was justified, considering the importance of upcoming projects such as .NET MAUI and the ongoing efforts related to ARM64 development.
The conference started with an overview of the latest developments related to .NET and desktop development. In this context, Scott Hunter, director of program management at Microsoft, talked about existing .NET 5 features related to desktop app development, such as self-contained single executable files and ClickOnce deployment. He also talked about the latest performance improvements and features in Windows Forms and WPF, assisted with live demonstrations by Olia Gavrysh and Dmitry Lyalin, both at Microsoft.
The following session, presented by Cathy Sullivan (program manager at Microsoft), featured the preview release of the .NET Upgrade Assistant, an automated tool to assist developers in upgrading existing .NET applications to .NET 5. While not being a complete upgrade tool (developers will still have to complete the upgrade manually), its GitHub repository includes a link to a free e-book on porting ASP.NET apps to .NET Core that covers multiple migration scenarios.
The remainder of the sessions were short (approx. 30 minutes), covering topics mentioned in the keynote (such as WPF and Windows forms – including the recent support for ARM64 released with .NET 6 Preview 1), app deployment with ClickOnce, and specific coverage of WebView2, Microsoft’s new embedded web browser control used by Windows Forms. Other interesting sessions included demonstrations on building real-time desktop apps with Azure SignalR services (presented by Sam Basu) and accessing WinRT and Win32 APIs with .NET 5 (presented by Mike Battista and Angela Zhang, both at Microsoft).
The last three sessions focused on features and projects expected to ship with .NET 6 later this year. Daniel Roth, program manager at Microsoft, talked about building hybrid applications with Blazor. Hybrid applications are native apps that use web technologies for the UI, and support for cross-platform hybrid apps is an important feature of both .NET 6 and .NET MAUI.
Zarya Faraj and Miguel Ramos explained the concepts behind Project Reunion, which provides a unified development platform that can be used for all apps (Win32, Packaged, and UWP) targeting all the Windows 10 versions. The event was closed with a presentation by Maddy Leger and David Ortinau (both at Microsoft) on the future of native applications development in .NET 6 – which focused on .NET MAUI.
A relevant takeaway from the conference is how the recent efforts on developing native device applications targeting multiple platforms are revolving around .NET MAUI. However, it is important to notice that .NET MAUI does not represent a universal .NET client application development model, merging both native and web applications. This is an important distinction, especially in light of the many cross-references and mentions of Blazor Desktop, another highly anticipated feature in .NET 6. Richard Lander, program manager for the .NET team at Microsoft, recently approached this topic in multiple comments and posts:
I think folks may be missing the narrative on Blazor desktop. It is intended as a compelling choice for cross-platform client apps that enable using web assets. […] Blazor Desktop and MAUI are intended to be separate. Blazor Desktop will be hosted via a MAUI webview. MAUI will provide the desktop or mobile application container. MAUI will enable using native controls if that is needed/desired.
The next focus events are still undefined. The complete recording of this event is already available on YouTube. Recordings of all .NET Conf and .NET Conf: Focus events are available in curated playlists on MSDN Channel 9.
Pokémon turns 25 – Eurogamer.net
I choose you!
Pokémon is 25 years old today, 27th February 2021.
27th February 1996 saw the release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green in Japan for the Game Boy.
25 years later, Pokémon is one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises.
Designer Satoshi Tajiri has said he was inspired to create the Pokémon saga after collecting insects as a boy.
Pocket Monsters Red and Green was a huge hit in Japan. Pokémon Red and Blue, as it was known on these shores, wouldn’t launch in Europe until 5th October 1999.
Since then, Pokémon has established an empire, with scores of video games, TV shows and films. Pokémon’s link to Nintendo has endured, with the core series of games all launching on the company’s platforms.
And Pokémon shows no sign of slowing down. Amid the enduring popularity of mobile hit Pokémon Go, a flood of new games are coming soon.
New Pokémon Snap is due out on Nintendo Switch in April 2021.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl launch in late 2021, and see a retro-styled return to Sinnoh.
And an open-world Sinnoh game called Pokémon Legends Arceus and set in a feudal version of the region then follows in early 2022.
Shorter term, tomorrow, 28th February, a live Pokémon concert starring Post Malone will also take place.
So, here’s to you, Pokémon! I choose you!
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