We have been testing Android 12 for more than a month. This is the best that the new version of Google’s operating system includes.
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It’s been about a month since Google released the first developer version of Android 12 , the next big update to the operating system.
Throughout this last month, we have been testing Android 12 and the news that it introduces to 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 has helped us to get a fairly clear idea of what we can expect from the new system update. These are its most interesting news and changes … For now.
A facelift for the operating system
The aesthetics of Android had not undergone any 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 that have 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, by introducing what is known as “Material NEXT” , an almost total renovation of the visual style of the elements that shape the system interface. operational.
Material NEXT will be one more step on the Material Design path , and so far we know that, among the novelties present in Android 12, we will find a completely renewed notification and quick settings panel , with new accent colors, shapes and icons; a customizable and improved-looking lock screen ; and menu settings with a look that takes its format One UI, the layer of personalization of Samsung phones .
But that’s not all that is new to the Android 12 interface . Under the codename “Monet” hides a native theme engine with which Google plans to enhance the aspect of personalization in the operating system.
Said system will make use of the WallpaperColors API already present in the operating system, to automatically generate themes based on the primary colors of the wallpaper set by the user .
One of the custom themes of Android 12, in pictures.
In this way, it will be possible to have a totally different personalized theme from the rest of Android users, depending on the wallpaper that is being used. In the screenshots below these lines, you can see how the colors of certain elements of the user interface vary based on the colors of the wallpaper chosen by the user.
To all this must be added the changes that are going 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 adapt to these design lines, with interfaces that are more accessible to use. one-handed and cleaner designs.
An operating system more suitable for mobile phones with a large screen
Mobile phones are getting bigger and bigger. It is a fact. And until now, the cleaner versions of Android – those that are not customized with software such as MIUI, One UI or OxygenOS – were not ready to be used by users with one hand 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-hand mode”.
This mode will allow to reduce the “usable” part of the screen to the lower half of the panel , so that it is possible to reach any corner of the screen using only one hand.
That’s not all: as I already indicated in the previous section, some of the system applications are going to be renewed to adapt to this new format optimized for use with one hand . This is the case of the system settings application, whose new interface, although hidden, has been present in Android 12 since the first preview for developers.
A more useful “share” menu
The system’s native menu for sharing content has been Google’s main focus throughout the latest Android updates. Starting with Android 11, this menu was improved with a much faster load and other improvements, but to this day it is still not perfect.
And although I fear that Android 12 is not going to make each and every one of its problems disappear from one day to the next, we do know that the new version raises important changes aimed at improving the experience when sharing any type of content. .
One of them is the ability to edit the content to share before sending it . Thus, if for example we want to send an image from the gallery , it will not be necessary to go through an image editor first ; An edit button will allow you to make some changes and adjustments to the photo before sharing it.
Scrolling screenshots are here … at last
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 although they have been slow, they are finally here … more or less .
Because although the option of taking screenshots that scroll to capture all the content of a web page or application are not present in Developer Preview 1 , they will be in the not too distant future. In fact, 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 looking under the router to share the Wi-Fi password . When your mobile is updated to Android 12 , it will be enough to use the Nearby Share tool to send the key to any other mobile, as long as it has a version of the system equal to or greater than Android 6.0 . Fast and easy.
Share Wi-Fi on Android 12 with Nearby Share.
Widgets get a (deserved) face lift
A curiosity about Android that not many people know is that the famous widgets have been present in the operating system practically since its inception, and they are not a late addition as it happens with the iOS widgets .
But it is precisely in iOS where Google has been inspired when developing the new version of the Android 12 widgets, which will introduce the possibility of having “stackable widgets” that will occupy less space on the home screen by being one on top of the other. , and be able to move between them by sliding your finger.
In turn, Google has worked on implementing a conversations widget , intended to broaden the focus in this section by joining the conversations section of the notification panel and the chat bubbles that were released in Android 11.
This widget will gather relevant information related to conversations with “important” people, such as missed calls, latest messages or activity statuses , obtained from different 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 that first saw the light with the latest installment of Apple’s mobile operating system will also be introduced. .
These indicators will work in such a way that, when an application is accessing the microphone, the camera or is using the device’s location permission , a small notice will be displayed at the top of the screen to keep the user aware of it.
Android 12 would include privacy notices in the status bar.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most useful functions of iOS 14 , which until now could be used on Android through third-party apps , but we are glad that Google has decided to copy for its platform.
App Pairs: launch two apps at the same time easily
With the rise of folding mobiles, manufacturers have been forced to devise ways to take advantage of their new formats . One of them is the possibility of launching two simultaneous apps as quickly as possible.
Comparison between the split screen of Android 11 (left) and the “Apps Pairs” of Android 12 (right)
Android 12 will reduce the effort that manufacturers need to carry out when implementing functions like this with App Pairs , a tool integrated in the system that will give users the possibility to choose two different apps , and configure them so that, with one touch, they launch 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 most important updates of the operating system in recent years , whose changes have revolutionized certain aspects of Android.
Now, it only remains to wait for the months to pass and Google to fulfill the update calendar until the final version is reached , which should be ready at some point next summer. In the meantime, we will continue to test all the news that the next beta versions that are yet to come will introduce.