From Cupcake to Gingerbread, all the ways Oreo to Pie, Android has come a long way over the years, with more than 12 major versions. But not a lot has changed visually since google introduced material design back in 2014, until now. With the Android 12 public beta announced at Google I/O, we are getting a massive redesign of Android, along with a bunch of fancy new tools to tailor the look and feel of the device directly to you. And you can actually try it on partner devices this time, but not just in pixels also available in Oppo, Nokia, and many more. You’ll find a full list below.
Material You is the new major update of Android 12, giving a lot of customization options to the users. And the customizability is both extensive and deep, including a really cool feature, Color Extraction. Color Extraction pulls from your wallpaper and generates a palette of primary and complementary colors for the use of the notification shade, the settings menu, or even the user interface elements like volume slider and widgets.
Third-party developers can even hook into the API to allow their app to recognize all or some of the colors. Unfortunately, color extraction is not available in the public beta, yet we are expecting, it may roll out in beta two, which will get released in June. For now, though you can actually adjust the colors manually.
They also focused on making android snappier and smoother with tons of new subtle animations, starting with the reimagined stock lock screen. If you are using the lock button the screen wakes up with effect from aside, or if you are picking up the device, it sorts of lights up starting from the bottom. And it feels pretty sleek. They also changed how the clock behaves. So if you clear all the notifications, the clock expands to make it easier to see the time, which will also signal visually that, “Hey, you are all caught up.”
Moving to the home screen, this will look pretty familiar, but with a new set of widgets, which along with icons, you can actually customize their shapes. Now the notification shade in quick settings is one of the areas of biggest retooling with quick settings options switching from smaller icons to big gold rectangles. This supposedly allows you to display more information, but also, means that you have fewer of them immediately available.
Google is also moving google pay and home controls away from the secret long power button press menu to the quick setting menu. So that means the long-pressing your power button will now open Google Assistant, similar to iOS functions to open Siri.
Now, if you accidentally clear the notifications from the notification panel, Google has also added a notification history shortcut directly in the shade. Which will save the notifications along their pop-up time.
Usability-wise, Google announced new gesture controls including a swipe down in the navigation bar, to enter the new Google one-handed mode, that’s neat. And if you don’t want that you can actually bind that action to something else. And at least for Pixel users, there is a new double-tap gesture for the fingerprint button, that you can set to do any number of things.
Performance-wise, they have actually managed to reduce the CPU time needed for the core system services by up to 22%. And this is a big deal. They have also managed to reduce the use of big or performance-oriented cores by up to 15%. That means your phone is gonna spend less time processing things in the background, which should save your battery and ensure you get the most possible FPSs in heavy games like Fortnite.
Google also managed to package up the android runtime as a Project Mainline module allowing it to be updated directly in the Play Store. This is just one more step towards making it easier for partner device makers to keep their devices up-to-date, as Google can issue lower-level system security updates without having to wait for the partners, or even worse, the mobile providers, to issue full over the air system updates.
And the last big staple of the Android 12 release is its privacy, with a slew of new tinfoil hat features that Google sure cares about. The keystone is Google’s new privacy dashboard, a nice timeline of of permission uses by the apps, which Google made a point to clarify, does include Google apps. It also includes a direct way to revoke permissions if you dont want your favorite apps tracking your every move.
Speaking of tracking, Google is adding a new type of location permissions, approximate and precise. Because, your weather app dosent really need to do turn by turn navigation.
They have also added a system-wide task indicator for when apps start using your microphone and camera, it will pop up an indicator at the top corner. As it is software-based, that means it is definitely not hackable, just like the new, dedicated, quick settings toggles for the camera and mic that override the existing permissions.
The last of the privacy updates comes up in the form of Android’s new Private Computer Core, which is basically just a separate privileged sandbox to store data to use in machine learning functions, like the personalised smart replies or now the playing feature for identifying nearby music. And the open source like the rest of the Android, so it is free to be audited by third parties.
- Android has switched from using Shadow effects to a Global stretch effect, to indicate, you have reached an end while scrolling.
- Wi-Fi sharing is just got a bit easier and instead of being limited to QR codes with Android 11, you can now use Android’s built-in Nearby Share to sort of air space drop them to another compatible Android device.
- Inside the do not disturb scheduler, you can allow the game mode, which allows you to toggle on an FPS indicator and get quick access to screen recording and live to stream to Youtube.
- Google has also put a bunch of effort into making its camera processing more equitable. Specifically, when it comes to displaying skin tones of people of color, they have made tweaks to the automatic white balance, the exposure system, and they have even reworked their AI processing so they can handle it more accurately.
- Google also launched a Digital Car Key, which allows your phone to lock, unlock and even start your car.
Updated list of smartphones supported by Android 12
- Vivo iQOO7
- ASUS Zenfone 8
- TCL 20 Pro 5G
- ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G
- Nokia X20
- Tecno Pouvoir 4
- OnePlus 9, 9 Pro
- Realme GT 5G
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, Mi 11I, Mi 11X, Mi 11X Pro
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Unspecified Sharp phone models
To read the full blog on Android 12 beta features visit: https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.google/products/android/android-12-beta/amp/