At Google I/O 2021, the company previewed the next version of Android. Simply dubbed Android 12, it uses a new “Material You” design language for a more playful-looking user interface. On top of that, it promises lower power consumption too.
The aesthetics of Android 12 really is the main focus of the new update, which are guided by the aforementioned Material You principles. Take the phone’s wallpaper: in Android 12, Google will use “colour extraction” to determine a particular wallpaper’s most dominant colours.
These colours are then applied to the entire user interface of the operating system, including the lock screen, notification shade, and even widgets. Google also made a neat change to the lock screen: once you’ve dismissed all notifications on the lock screen, the clock will be enlarged – a nice visual cue to let you know you have no notifications.
A number of animations and elements of the user interface have been overhauled in Android 12 as well. The notification shade looks quite a bit more modern now with bigger buttons, and you can expect smoother, more eye-catching animations as well in the new version of Android.
According to Google, Android 12 will be more power-efficient too. Thanks to some under-the-hood improvements, CPU time for core system services are reduced by up to 22%, and the use of big cores (the more powerful, battery-draining core of a processor) are minimised up to 15%.
It will be easier to find out which apps are accessing your data in Android 12 as well. The new Privacy Dashboard gives you a singe view of your permissions settings, including what data is being accessed, how often, and by which apps. You can easily revoke app permissions from this page as well.
Another feature that I personally quite like is a new indicator at the top right of the status bar, which appears when apps are accessing the microphone or camera. You can easily disable access to these hardware in the Quick Settings page too.
These are just some of the changes that are coming to Android 12, which will (obviously) be available on the company’s range of Pixel phones first. It’s worth noting that most of these changes may not be implemented by other smartphone makers, especially if they have their own personalised version of Android already.
Nonetheless, Android 12 is definitely a major visual overhaul, and it’ll be interesting to see if other phone makers will follow suit in Google’s new design language.