Google I/O 2021: Android 12 announced with fresh visuals, more privacy


Google just announced its next-generation mobile operating system, Android 12. The new OS will succeed Android 11 and bring a lot of new features and privacy updates. Additionally, Google has also completely revamped the visual design language throughout Android 12, making it its biggest change in the mobile operating system’s interface since Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Here’s all you need to know about Android 12, including the new design elements and new features.

Material You

Google’s new design language is called Material You, targeted at individuality so a phone’s design can adapt to its user’s preferences. With the new language, any app, even those not from Google will be able to blend its design and stay in sync with the new visuals.

Check out the short video below for a closer look.

Further, there is theming support natively for the very first time in Android history. Material You will allow users to select more than just light and dark themes. A new lockscreen, new widgets, and also new colours are coming to the platform. A new feature called Colour Extraction also allows users to choose a theme colour based on the wallpapers they set, figuring out dominant and accent colours on their own.

Dynamic lighting on the lockscreen shows a new animation that depicts how you unlock the device and more context. There will also be other fluid motions and animations across the UI. “From the moment you pick up an Android 12 device, you’ll feel how it comes alive with every tap, swipe and scroll. Your phone quickly responds to your touch with smooth motion and animations,” Google said in a blog post. “For example, when you dismiss your notifications on the lock screen, your clock will appear larger so you know when you’re all caught up,” it added.

The quick settings panel also has a major revamp with larger pill-shaped toggles. Long-pressing the power button will also now natively trigger Google Assistant. Google also claims the new design will be up to 22 per cent faster than before.

Privacy-focused design

Android 12 now has a dedicated privacy dashboard which will be a one-stop centre to check on all privacy elements and what apps are accessing what parts of your phone usage. Further, Private Compute Core enables features like Now Playing and Smart Reply, with the sensitive audio-sensing, now happening completely on-device, not over the web.

There is also a new indicator on the top left that lets you easily know when an app is accessing permissions like the camera or the microphone. How precisely you share permissions like location is also now controllable. For instance, the weather app can now only be given an approximate location instead of an accurate pinpoint.

Multi-device capabilities

With IoT devices quickly catching up and growing to all kinds of appliances and devices, Android 12 will act as a central hub for all these smart devices, and users’ cars via Android Auto and Digital Car Key that allows you to connect to your car and unlock it using the NFC on your phone.

You can try the first Android 12 beta now

Google also announced that more features will also be added to Android 12 in the future. For now, the first public beta for Android 12 will be available to a number of devices including Google Pixel phones as well as phones from brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo and more.

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