It's been about a month since Google released the first developer version of Android 12, the next big OS update.
Over the past month, we have tested Android 12 and the news that it introduces on the platform, even knowing that everything that Google has given us for now is a preview of what is to come and that many of the things that will be in the final installment of Android 12 have not even been announced.
In any case, the Android 12 Developer Preview 1 helped us get a pretty clear idea of what we can expect from the new system update. These are the news and the most interesting news ... At the moment.
Android 12 su un Google Pixel 4 XL.
A facelift for the operating system
THE Android aesthetics it hadn't undergone substantial changes since we witnessed the leap from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5 Lollipop and the Material Design language was introduced. Since then, all we've seen have been iterations of the same design which served to modernize the aesthetics of the platform. But that is about to change.
Everything seems to indicate that Android 12 will mark a before and after in the platform in terms of design, introducing what is known as «Material NEXT», an almost total renewal of the visual style of the elements that shape the system interface ..
Material NEXT will be a further step in the path of Material Design, and so far we know that, among the new features in Android 12, we will find a completely renewed notification panel and quick settings, with new colors, shapes and accent icons; a block screen customizable and improved appearance; And the menu settings with a look that takes its One UI format, the level of customization of Samsung phones.
But that's not all that is new in the Android 12 interface. Under the codename "Monet" hides a native themed engine with which Google intends to improve the aspect of personalization in the operating system.
This system will make use of the WallpaperColors API already present in the operating system, for automatically generate themes based on the primary colors of the background set by the user.
One of the Android 12 custom themes, in pictures.
In this way it will be possible to have a totally different custom theme from the rest of the Android users, depending on the wallpaper you are using. In the screenshots below these lines, you can see how the colors of some UI elements vary in based on the background colors chosen by the user.
To all this must be added the changes that are about to reach other elements such as the lock screen or the Always on Display mode, or the renewal of some of the pre-installed applications to fit these design lines, with More accessible interfaces for one-handed use and cleaner designs.
An operating system more suited to mobile phones with a large screen
Cell phones are getting bigger and bigger. It is a fact. And until now, the cleaner versions of Android - the ones that aren't customized with software like MIUI, One UI, or OxygenOS - weren't ready for one-handed users without too much trouble.
With Android 12, Google plans to put an end to this problem with a feature that many manufacturers had adopted for years, but was not yet present in AOSP: the "one-handed mode".
This mode will allow you to reduce the “usable” part of the screen to the lower half of the panel, so that you can reach any corner of the screen with one hand.
Here's Android 12's one-handed mode - fully functional. Sadly, it's like Apple's reachability (vertical scaling) rather than OHM on most OEM software (both horizontal and vertical scaling). pic.twitter.com/IznRVHTgPu
- Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) 18 Feb 2021
That's not all: as I mentioned in the previous section, some system applications will be renewed for adapt to this new format optimized for one-handed use. This is the case of the system settings application, whose new interface, albeit hidden, has been present in Android 12 since first preview for developers.
A more useful "share" menu
Il system native menu for content sharing has been Google's main focus during the latest Android updates. As of Android 11, this menu has been improved with much faster loading and other improvements, but to this day it is still not perfect.
And although I fear that Android 12 won't do disappear all his problems overnight, we know the new version introduces important changes aimed at improving the experience when sharing any type of content.
One of them is the possibility of edit the content to be shared before sending it. So if for example we want send an image from the gallery, you won't need to go through an image editor first; A edit button will allow you to make some changes and adjustments to the photo before sharing it.
Scroll screenshots are coming… finally
Scrolling screenshots arrive in Android 12.
Google had long promised us that extended screenshots would sooner or later become a native feature of the platform. And even though they've been slow, I'm finally here ... more or less.
Because although the option to take screenshots that scroll to capture all the content of a web page or application is not present in Developer Preview 1, it will be in the not too distant future. Indeed, we have already been able to see how they will be implemented and how they will work.
Sharing WiFi passwords is easier than ever
Forget about look under the router to share the Wi-Fi password. When your mobile is updated to Android 12, just use the tool Sharing nearby to send the key to any other mobile phone, as long as it has one system version equal to or higher than Android 6.0. Quick and easy.
Share Wi-Fi on Android 12 with Nearby Sharing.
Widgets get a (well deserved) facelift
A curiosity about Android that not many people know about is that i famosi widget have been in the operating system pretty much since its inception, and are not a late addition as is the case with iOS widgets.
But it is precisely in iOS that Google was inspired in the development of the new version of the widgets of Android 12, which will introduce the possibility of having "stackable widgets" that will take up less space on the home screen by standing on top of each other., and be able to switch between them by sliding your finger.
In turn, Google worked on implementing a conversations widget, intended to broaden the focus in this section by combining the conversation section of the notification panel and the chat bubbles that were released in Android 11.
This widget will collect relevant information relating to conversations with "important" people, such as missed calls, latest messages or activity states, obtained from various sources and applications.
Privacy indicators to know if apps are spying on you
Stackable widgets are not the only aspect in which Google has been inspired by Apple and iOS 14. With Android 12, the so-called privacy indicators which first saw the light with the latest installment of Apple's mobile operating system. .
These indicators will work in such a way that when an application is accessing the microphone, camera or is using location permission of the device, will be displayed un small notice at the top of the screen to inform the user.
Android 12 would include privacy warnings in the status bar.
Without a doubt, this is one of the more useful features of iOS 14, which until now could be used on Android via third-party apps, but we are happy that Google has decided to copy for its platform.
App Pairs: Easily launch two apps at the same time
With the advent of foldable cell phones, manufacturers have been forced to devising ways to take advantage of their new formats. One of these is the possibility of launch two simultaneous apps on as quickly as possible.
Comparison between the split screen of Android 11 (left) and the "App Pairs" of Android 12 (right)
Android 12 will reduce the effort manufacturers have to put in when implementing features like this with App Pairs, a tool integrated into the system that will give users the ability to choose two different apps and configure them so that, with a single touch, they can start simultaneously in split screen mode.
These are, so far, the best news that Android 12 - or "Android S", or "Android 12 Snow Cone", according to its internal name, introduces on the platform. It is clear that we are facing one of the major operating system updates in recent years, whose changes have revolutionized some aspects of Android.
Now, all that remains is to wait for the months to pass and for Google to complete the calendar of updates until reaching the final version, which should be ready at some point next summer. In the meantime, we will continue to test all the changes that the next beta versions that are yet to arrive will introduce.