Android 12 with a refurbished design

With Android 12, a new look will arrive after a long time. Apart from small adjustments, the Android operating system looks almost exactly the same this year as it did when Material Design was introduced in 2014. For some, it looks a bit outdated. That should change with the release of Android 12. As part of the Google I / O 2021, Sameer Samat (VP Android and Google Play) spoke of the biggest visual overhaul in years.

The core component is the new design concept called “Material You”. The concept: colors are no longer fixed, but should change dynamically within certain limits – for example to the colors of the background image or the time of day. Google calls this “Mode for Mood”. In the presentation on the Google I / O, light pastel colors dominated, as known from Google hardware, such as the new Google TV sticks. Material You is set to debut in Android on Pixel Phones in the fall, and the design guideline will later also land on Chrome OS and Wear OS.

The new “Material You” design no longer knows any fixed colors and adapts itself automatically.

In addition to color adjustments, there will be changes in Android 12, especially on the lockscreen and in the notification bar. The quicksetting buttons grow to milky, colored tiles and are reminiscent of iOS. Buttons for Google Pay and for controlling smart home components should also be found here.

Dynamic light is used on the lockscreen: When activated, the screen lights up from below or from the position of the power button over the entire surface – depending on how the user initiated the activation. A nice gimmick that brings back memories of the shutdown animation of Android 4 (KitKat). With the new animations, the system should feel more fluid and save the battery on top of that. Google claims to have reduced the system’s processor load noticeably.

(Source: Google)

Under the hood, Android 12 is supposed to improve security and privacy. Among other things, the app authorizations can be accessed more quickly. In addition, the system becomes more transparent: when an app accesses the camera or microphone, this will in future be indicated by an icon in the status bar.

So that the system doesn’t come across as brightly colored, Android combines 12 matching colors into palettes.

(Image: Google)

The interaction with other Google systems and products should also improve Android 12. Photos taken on the phone can be transferred to Chromebooks with just a few taps using a notification in the Chrome OS system tray. Aside from its own ecosystem, Google claims to be working with car manufacturers in order to be able to use Android smartphones as digital car keys via NFC and Ultrawide Broadband (UWB) in the future. The first partner is apparently BMW.

For pixel smartphones and other devices from other manufacturers, the Beta 1 from Android 12 for download. The finished system is planned for autumn.

More from c't magazine

More from c't magazine


To home page