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(Pocket-lint) - Google is expected to release the next version of Android shortly - or at least, the beta version of it - and an early leak has given us a glimpse at what Android 12 could look like. 

Prior to launch, Google shares details with partners on what the new software will include and these images purpotedly come from one of the early slides shared. 

The images were shared by XDA Developers who, while unable to confirm the software does definitely look like this, were able to confirm with their sources that the slide the images came from is real, and these pictures were on it. 

The new software includes a number of new visual changes. One of them is a new design for the notification shade that drops down from the top of the screen.

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Elements like the number of quick settings toggles (reduced to four from six) and the time, date and battery icons have changed. Conversation priority in notifications - one of Android 11's biggest features - remains, while the shape of the notification has changed to feature much more rounded, plus the background is completely opaque. It's not transparent at all. 

XDA DevelopersAndroid 12 interface and device list leaks early photo 7

A bigger change is perhaps the utilisation of widgets. Similar to iOS 14, it looks like Android 12 is going to make widgets even more useful than they were already. 

The screenshots show conversations and message widget bubbles which look quite different in style to the current capabilities of widgets in Android 11. For one, they're really small, and seem to show recent updates/missed conversations. 

Exact details on what these widgets enable are limited, but we get the sense that a focus is definitely on keeping in touch with friends, and not just having more weather and calendar information on the screen. 

In addition, there's a suggestion from XDA that Android 12 will put a warning indicator in your status bar when an app is accessing the camera or microphone, similar to the green and orange dots on iPhone

Other privacy revamps include the ability to disable the camera and microphone as well as toggling off location access. 

Google released the first developer preview of Android 11 around this time last year, so it's likely that we could be seeing the new software in the flesh very shortly. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 9 February 2021.