Android 12: Check Out Google’s Biggest Visual Change [Hands-on]

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Android 12: Google introduced Android 12 last week at Google I / O, an annual event offered to developers. Of course, many new features have been announced, but today we will talk about the specifics of Android.

First of all, it is worth remembering that this is really just a preview for the audience. We chatted with the folks at Google and said that most of the functions would be released from the second beta.

So, unfortunately we will have to wait a bit and check what is now available on Android 12. In addition to how Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi and others have influenced the biggest design change of Android in recent years.

Design

Android 12 should not be released publicly until mid-August. Until then, we can wait for more additions or removals of resources. Regarding compatibility with devices, it is good to keep an eye out here that we are always publishing the lists of devices that can receive the update.

In February, when Google released the Android 12 preview to developers, they made it very clear that “privacy is at the heart of everything we do.” Now, they focus more on usability and how it can get to the user.

For example: it was mentioned that a new API would allow the use of images, videos, audios and more between apps. That is, it will be possible to drag media from one location to another, such as a Chrome image directly to a contact on WhatsApp. But, not in this beta.

What we saw in this beta were major visual changes. I’ve been using the update since last week and, well, it’s Android. Everything is practically in the same place, but things are different.

Now we have a variety of new animations. It has new animation when scrolling pages to the beginning or end (bounce); screen lock and unlock; to clear notifications and huge clock on lock screen; when we enter or leave multitasking; to indicate loading; to open or close apps, and even to click a button.

Another very interesting change will allow Android to adapt its color palette according to the user’s wallpaper, which will be optional. Just change the wallpaper and the system changes colors everywhere.

What we’ve seen in this beta is that other areas of the system have been revamped. The notification center and quick actions, for example, look completely different. Now, notifications are more grouped, which makes more sense, and the settings appear on large buttons, rather than small icons.

Google also had to make another move to organize this new interface. If the user wants to use the power button for Google Assistant, the smart home menu and panel shortcuts like Google Pay, will now be displayed in the center itself.

In one video, Google also shows a small button on the locked screen that looks like a credit card icon. Maybe it’s a shortcut to Google Pay, like what iOS 14 has when you press the main button for Apple Pay twice.

Material You

From what you’ve seen so far, the entire interface now has rounded corners, soft colors and can be very customizable. This is the biggest visual change on Android since 2014, when they launched Material Design. This new version is called Material You.

The system also has more spaced lower buttons, with more margin and new widgets. Apple seems to have managed to “raise the bar” on iOS 14 even though it released widgets 12 years after Google. On Android 12, they have more shapes and formats, are adaptive and more interactive. But they should also only arrive at the next betas.

In the next updates, we will certainly see more visual changes in menus, buttons, configuration pages for some items, in notifications, in widgets. They also showed in the presentation some volume bars with different formats; some thicker, others even wavy.

Google also promises that the system will be smoother and lighter on different hardware. I’m using a Pixel 3, which is from 2018, and things are really fast. Nothing much different from Android 11, but smoother animations help with that impression.

Now, for me, the coolest new feature so far is to swipe notifications with a gesture in the bottom corner of the screen. That was gone with the arrival of digital readers under the screen, but it is still alive in some cell phones with traditional biometric reader.

Privacy

Privacy is at the heart of everything and in Android 12 Google allows the user not to share the exact location with apps, only the approximate one. On Android 11, the novelty in this regard was to allow access to the camera, microphone and location by an app only once.

This also means that there are buttons on the control center that prevent the use of the camera and microphone. By the way, do you know that little green ball that indicates the use of the camera or microphone on iOS 14? This will also arrive on Android 12.

But, following this focus on transparency, Google created the Privacy Dashboard. It is a privacy panel that provides information and permission settings. You’ll be able to see how many apps have used system items, how many times they’ve done this, and collect usage metrics. But for now, only the location function is available.

We always see the crowd making fun of Apple for launching new features a few years after the competition. This is a similar case. In 2014, Google introduced Material Design as the “reinvention of Android”. And I know that the perception of time for some of us may be out of alignment, but that was seven years ago.

So, good thing that things change, finally Android will have a new face. And it really looks more personal, fun. But would it have happened now if other companies were not working hard on their interfaces as well? After all, we’re already pretty used to Android – and we can still download interfaces.

Android 12 is basically Android “pure”, with everything native to the operating system, trying to be a little more cool, full of features, integrated, secure. Which is great, obviously, but if we compare it with MIUI, with One UI, the visual similarities are not few. And everything is fine.

What did you think of the news in Android 12? Let us know in the comments!

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