Google today its annual developer conference, Google I/O, announced the Android 12 update. The new Android 12 update brings a stellar new-looking UI with updated design elements, iOS 14-like privacy features, and more.
Google first released the Android 12 Developer Preview back in February. Though the software came with the new number, a lot of features were ‘hidden’ in the first Android 12 developer preview. Though a bunch of iOS-like features, such as the clipboard access toast notification, were leaked later, the full feature list of Android 12 is available now. Here’s everything you need to know.
Android 12: Features
- ‘Material You’ Design
Android’s design has been similar since Android Marshmallow. It’s been tweaked here and there, but the design has been the same. With Android 12, the overall look and feel of Android have changed, and though it’s still based on Material Design, it’s something new.
Google calls the new look of Android ‘Material You’ and it, for the first time, brings theme-ing color/design customization to Android. Android 12 will let users generate custom color palettes which will remain constant throughout the UI. The color theme will reflect in all of the apps, even in the wallpaper.
- iOS Inspired Widgets, New Notification Shade
One of the new iOS-like things in the Android 12 is the new widgets section. Google has re-worked the whole widget API, and to be honest, it looks a lot closer to iPhone’s widget now. The general widgets are more iOS-like rectangles with rounded corners, plus Google has thrown in some quirky clock widgets and weather widgets to make the UI more lively.
Google has also redesigned the notification shade in Android 12. Google calls it ‘System Spaces.’ The new notification shade has no blurred home screen in the background now. The whole notification shade is inspired by Material You’s color theme, with solid background colors. Google also makes it for users to ‘Power off’ their devices right through the new System Spaces.
- Android Now Focuses More on Privacy
Google has put in more privacy features in Android 12. It comes with a new ‘Privacy Dashboard’ that quickly lets you see what apps have access to what, and you are now allowed to revoke access quickly. Moreover, Android gets iOS 14-like microphone and camera indicators. These indicators pop up whenever an app accesses these resources and lets the user block them if they find it fishy.
Android 12 also giving users granular control over how much information they share with apps. There are some new features like approximate location that lets apps get, well, an approximate location of the user. This can come in handy with online shopping apps that only need the Pincode of the users, for example.
- Support for Third-Party App Stores
Taking a dig at Apple, who’s been criticized for its App Store malpractices, Google announced a ‘promise to make third-party app stores easier to use on Android 12.’ The company is providing users ‘Choice of stores’ wherein the developers get to choose how to distribute their apps.
“This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform.”
Moreover, the company has issued a clarification on its Payments Policy stating which transactions should come under the Google Play billing system and what should not. Google’s giving developers time until 30th September 2021 to update their apps to support the Google Play billing system.
Android 12: Supported Devices
Android 12 Beta 1 is available on Google Pixel phones right now. All the Pixel from Pixel 3 to Pixel 5 are supported. The company says Android 12 Beta 1 will be available for a handful of Xiaomi and OnePlus phones in the coming days, with more phones joining in the beta from the Android 12 Beta 2 roll-out.[Via Google Blog]