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Android 12 will bring a popular PS5 feature to Android phones

Sony Xperia 1 II
(Image credit: TechRadar)

A new feature of Android 12 has been unveiled, and it may be the most useful one yet, as it could change the way you play mobile games. 

Google recently hosted a mobile game developer conference, and one keynote was about a new Google Play feature called 'play as you download'. This lets you play a game while you're still downloading it, so you won't have to wait for a title to fully install before you try it out.

You can watch the full video below, which is about the new feature and a few other Android 12 tweaks for games.

While most mobile games are pretty small file-size-wise, letting you play soon after you buy or hit download, some of the best games can take a little while to download, because they have loads more assets. Also, if you're downloading multiple apps at once, the new feature could let you play one game before the others have installed.

This is actually a feature we've already seen on PS4 and PS5 consoles - it lets you play a game as soon as you've pressed 'download', without waiting for the title to install.

Feature this

On the Sony consoles, the feature works as a certain portion of the game will be downloaded and installed first, and you can play this as the rest downloads. It could work this way for Android phones too.

This feature sounds pretty useful for some players. If you've got a poor internet connection and often have to wait long periods of time for a game to download, or love super-complex mobile games that would take ages to download even on the best connection, this could help you.

The other mentioned Android 12 feature is a swipe-up gaming menu that lets you optimize game performance - most phone companies already have a feature like this, to make gaming that little bit better, but Pixel phones don't.

Not all games will support these new Android 12 features - developers will need to opt in - but we imagine most of the big titles will start using the technique. Android 12 will likely start rolling out towards the end of the year, so if your smartphone is eligible, you could start instant-playing games this year or next.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more. Outside of work he's an award-winning filmmaker, trained mixologist, expert baker, keen runner and okayish gamer.