Google says Android TV 12 will arrive later in the year

Mike Wheatley

Google has announced that the next version of Android TV will arrive later this year.


The company sent an unpolished version of Android TV 12 to developers late last year for them to iron out any bugs as they work to ensure their apps are compatible with its new features. Now, it has provided an update with a more in-depth explanation of how some of those new features work.

In a blog posted on Medium, Paul Lammertsma, Senior Developer Relations Engineer at Google, talked about the new refresh rate switching feature in Android 12. We already knew that Android 12 would support variable refresh rates, and in the blog post Lammertsma explained how developers can request their desired rate.

He explained that refresh rate switching will allow applications to instruct TV displays to switch between various frequencies, such as multiples of 24, 25 and 30Hz. For instance, if the video content was created at 24Hz, developers can have their apps ensure smoother playback while simultaneously allowing for fluid user interface animations by switching to 48Hz or 120Hz on supported TVs.

"Some panels support HDMI 2.1 VRR for seamless refresh rate transitions without any visual interruptions (like showing a black screen for a few seconds), and Android can inform you of these through getAlternativeRefreshRates(),” Lammertsma said.

In addition to the refresh rate switching, there is a new accessibility options menu in Android 12 for viewers to adjust the size on on-screen text, so those with poor eyesight will be able to see more clearly.


What isn’t clear is which TVs will run Android 12 when it arrives later this year. Companies such as Sony, Philips and TCL, whose TVs run Google TV or Android TV, have all confirmed their 2022 models will run either Android 10 or 11. It’s also not clear exactly when Android 12 will be released. The blog post originally stated “early this year”, however it was later edited to say “later this year”, so our best guess is sometime in the second half of 2022.

It may well be that while Android TV 12 is released this year, the first TVs to have it won’t be launched until 2023.

Other devices such as streaming sticks and set-top boxes will also get access to the new software, though Google hasn’t said when. One of the first to see Android 12, or at least the Google TV variant, could be the rumored follow up to the Google Chromecast with Google TV dongle that debuted in late 2020.