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Android 12 finally launched! It’s all about the design!

by Sai Vardhan

Android 12 finally launched! It’s all about the design!

May 20, 2021

Google has unveiled the latest build of their OS version. This update has been one of the much-awaited events for both Google and consumers around the globe. Yes! Google has launched the latest Android 12 into the public beta platform for Pixel and other OEMs, all set to bring visual changes like never before.

Android 12  has given rise to a significant overhaul to the entire UI, with its latest design based system called “Material You”, which allows the software to focus more on customization, according to you. This update brings a lot of material changes like more rounded edges, big and bubbly buttons. A wallpaper based theming system, dynamic widgets, smoother animations, and more. The adaption of system colors certainly brings out the minimalist and modern lookout of previous versions’ usual iterations.

Android’s prior version has seen many designs iterations over the past decade but didn’t bring out the best. This version excludes design and playful changes, and also specific things have been added apart from the developer preview. It feels the same, but the design is what matters at the end, and it’s being adapted throughout the system-level apps and features.

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Android 12 will be the twelfth major release and 19th version of Android.

A Deeper look inside Android 12

As we understood, this design overhaul brings a minimalist design change, which includes lots of color customization options, more redesigned widgets, advanced privacy features for better security and more small details to notice.

Material You, Better Widgets and Redefined Design

Android 12 is one enactment of a new design system that Google is introducing called Material You. This new version is mainly a set of principles for creating interfaces that go beyond, and Google says it has been applied across all of its products, from the web to apps to hardware to Android.

So Material You is all about you. Okay, let’s get down to it; it provides many customisation options that make the phone as you like, and one of the crowning features of this overhaul is that when you change your wallpaper, it automatically adapts the minimalist color of wallpaper all over the UI. You will also have the option to customize the color as your want. This version will automatically pull out prominent and interrelated colors from your wallpaper and apply those colors to buttons and sliders and, above all, the interface.

This whole thing applies to the lock screens as well. This year lock screen has also embarked on a massive set of changes; the clock is now bigger and centered. If you have any visible notifications, they will become slightly smaller and reach the top end corner. The lock screen also picks up the accent color established on the custom wallpaper theming system. As a part of the lock screen, we need to talk about the AOD, which also brings a massive clock on the top left corner.

Widgets have been a hot topic since the IOS latest version, and now Android has also embarked upon that mission, and they successfully achieved it. This year Android 12 version widgets have been developed system-wide, and like everything else, the widgets have also got a significant redesign on Google apps which are now big and bubbly. The widgets can be customized accordingly to a playful design that changes the whole perspective of Android users across the globe. One creative characteristic of the new widgets is that when you move them around on your wallpaper, it also changes their background color to feel closer to the image. Only Google apps support this widgets overhaul, and Google says they have very high hopes that Android developers will adopt this new widget system.

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Android 12 we've refreshed app widgets to make them more useful, beautiful, and discoverable.

Bubbled Bigger Buttons

You might have already got an idea from the photos, and the most striking difference in Android 12 is all of the design aspects are big, bubbly, and much smoother. It makes the entire UI more apparent and perhaps more accessible. Yeah, it means now you will see the menu more like sorted items rather than buttons.

This tradeoff for buttons is worth it cause in the new version, the layout of buttons like brightness and volume sliders is easier to adjust now, and the entire system provides one-handed usage. As for the animations, they are more observable than before and undoubtedly easy going on the eyes.

For instance, When you unlock or plug in your smartphone for charging, waves of shadow like animation and light play across the screen. All the apps and other system elements have slide and out faded effects and specific bump-out animations. Google had also adopted the scroll over effect, which puts out a bump effect when you reach any end of the page. Google also specifies that these new animations won’t slow down the system cause they have carefully optimized the entire effects according to the core.

Tweaking the System

It wouldn’t be Google if they haven’t touched or made tweaks to the notification, power menu or the believed Google assistant.

It’s three-way luck this time around with Android 12; specific changes have been made, like quick settings have giant buttons with a more aesthetic look when expanded. As explained, everything is big and bubbly. Lots of conversations, emails etc., can be categorized into groups notifications which are put concurrently into a giant bubble.

Users might feel snubbed on the idea of a power menu because this year, all major power menu features like wallet or card support option, power off option have been added into the quick settings as tiles. Holding the power button down now brings up Google Assistant. It is almost certain that the new wallpaper based theming has also pertained to the assistant interaction box, and it also has specific improvements.

New Privacy Options

Google has undoubtedly added a few new tricks and privacy things in the latest version, focusing on three key aspects location(GPS), camera, and microphone.

The camera and mic will now have a bit green indication on the screen’s upper-right, which will indicate when a particular app or system is accessing them. This is the most exciting add-on cause of two optional toggles in Quick Settings, which enable the user to turn them off at a system-level entirely.

When an app attempts to utilize one of them, Android will pop up a prompt questioning whether they want to turn it back on or not, and If you choose not to, the entire thing will either be black or silent.

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The Privacy dashboard will be available to try in Beta 2.

Location Access

For the location, Google added a new set of options, and one of the best is what kind of access needs to be granted for the app. There is also a dedicated feature that allows you to provide either approximate or precise location and limited access opportunities. Inaccurate, in theory, is pretty simple; it will let the app know the approximate nearby location rather than the pinpoint location.

Google is also developing a new Privacy Dashboard page embedded into the settings page and will precisely focus on location, mic, and camera permissions.

Android Private Computer Core isn't a Chip

Another new privacy feature has been added, which due to its name, causes people to think it’s a chip, but rather it’s a feature that is like the Sandbox feature that helps Android 12 in the AI’s performance. A ton of machine learning processes are going to be handled inside the APCC. It is not exactly included in the OS, but it still functions inside the phone from the server-side. The only way to communicate with the processes inside is via specific APIs.The operations that run inside the APCC comprise Android’s feature for ambient observing playing music. The APCC also scripts the smart chips for auto-reply suggestions.

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Android 12 delightful experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.

No App Tracking

It is not the primary concern inside a commoner’s brain regarding location, camera, mic, and machine learning. Still, the most pressing concern is about the app tracking policy for ad purposes. However, Google is planning on blocking third-party cookies in Chrome and thinking of restoring them with anonymous technology and speaking about app tracking in Android. There have been rumors that Google is assuming some systems similar to Apple’s, but there aren’t any announcements about it.

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Android 12: Stop apps from accessing your data.

It's All about the Ecosystem

There is also a lot that is changing in the Android ecosystem. And since being a platform company that is also deep in the advertising space, they are thinking from different standpoints to improve the ecosystem in Android. They are starting to collaborate with various developers to improve the existing system, says Google.

As a part of the ecosystem, Google is allowing users to unlock their Chromebooks with their phone. Later this year, Chrome OS devices will be eligible to instantly access recent photos in an Android phone’s photo archive over Wi-Fi directly instead of waiting for them to sync up to the Google Photos cloud.

Additional Features

Google has already declared many features in developer betas ahead, most of which has under-the-hood characteristics. Still, some system-level changes came live with the beta version. The improved and additional features include enhanced accessibility settings for visually impaired people, enhanced scrolling screenshots, more prominent conversation widgets for favorite people and enhanced assistance for third-party app stores. Many more neat minor additions like a built-in remote will work with Chrome-cast and Android TV platform, car unlocking via NFC.

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Android 12 has hit its next major milestone.

Follow Up

The Pixel phone has the advantage over other OEMs cause they run on the Vanilla Android version, which guarantees the updates promptly. However, Google says they made some strides in the past few years and expanded the tempo of updates up to 30 per cent. However, there is some growth in the updates’ speed compared to the last two years.

That’s Android 12. It may not be the massive changes in features, but it certainly is the most substantial visual overhaul ever seen, and Android particularly was long due for this. As explained, Pixel will be the first to get the Android 12 update compared to other manufacturers, and the public beta is already being rolled out to users around the globe. So if you have a Pixel as a secondary device, feel free to rock the latest version at your risk.

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