Here’s our first real look at the new Android 12 conversation widget

Google released the first developer preview of its upcoming Android 12 update last week, and we’ve been busy tearing down new apps and system firmware to find clues about new features. While we have discovered a lot ourselves, we have to give credit to the talented XDA developers for finding some of the coolest features, such as the wallpaper-based theme system and machine learning-based backward gesture detection. Now XDA Recognized Developer Kieron Quinn AKA Quinny899 is back with another first – our first (real) look at the Android 12 conversation widget.

Our first look at Android 12 came 2 weeks ago, and it showed radical changes to the design, but also a new widget called the conversation widget. According to documentation reviewed by XDAAndroid 12 will feature conversation widgets that highlight recent messages, missed calls, or activity statuses. The widget is included in the Android SystemUI app and is currently planned to be a required feature for all Android 12 devices.

Leaked Google mockups of the new Android 12 conversation widget feature.

During our first Android 12 developer preview practice, we didn’t see a chat widget in the Pixel Launcher widget picker. However, we knew it would come based on code analysis and the presence of a new activity that asks you to “select a conversation to display in your widget”. Thanks to Quinny899’s reverse engineering efforts, 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 in development) that displays information about the latest message from the Google Messages app. Currently, the widget does not display the actual content of the message and it also does not work with other applications that you tested, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Conversation widget in Android 12 development. Credits: Quinny899 / Kieron Quinn.

A new conversation widget isn’t all Google is working on in Android 12. There is also evidence that Google is working on iOS-style widget stacks, although 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 my hopes up about a major widget overhaul in this iteration.

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