We have been testing Android 12. This is the best that the new version of Google's operating system includes.
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 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 Developer Preview 1 Android 12 has helped us to get a fairly clear idea of what we can expect from the new system update. These are your more interesting news and changes ... For now.
A facelift for the operating system
The android aesthetic It hadn't undergone any major changes since we witnessed the jump from Android 4.4 KitKat to Android 5 Lollipop and the Material Design language was introduced. Since then, all we've seen has 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 on 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 interface of the operating system.
Material NEXT will be a further step on the Material Design path, and so far we know that, among the novelties present in Android 12, we will find a Notification panel and quick settings completely renewed, with new accent colors, shapes and icons; a lock screen customizable and improved-looking; and a settings menu with an appearance that adopts its One UI format, the customization layer of Samsung mobiles.
But that's not all the new that comes to Android 12 interface. Under the code name "Monet" hides a native theme engine with which Google plans to enhance the aspect of customization in the operating system.
Said system will make use of the WallpaperColors API already present in the operating system, to generate themes automatically based on the primary colors of the wallpaper set by the user.
In this way, it will be possible to have a totally different custom theme to 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 user interface elements vary based on the colors of the wallpaper chosen by the user.
To all this we must add the changes that will reach other elements such as the lock screen or to the way Always on Display, or the renewal of some of the pre-installed applications to adapt to these design lines, with more accessible interfaces for one-handed use 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-handed mode".
This mode will allow 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 just one hand.
Here's Android 12's one-handed mode - fully working. Sadly, it's like Apple's Reachability (vertically downsizing) rather than OHM on most OEM software (both horizontal and vertical downsizing). pic.twitter.com/IznRVHTgPu- Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
That's not all: as I indicated in the previous section, some of the system applications are going to be renewed to adapt to this new format optimized for one-handed use. This is the case of the system settings application, whose new interface, although hidden, is present in Android 12 from the first preview for developers.
A more useful "share" menu
The native system menu intended to share content has been the main goal of Google throughout the latest Android updates. As of Android 11, this menu was improved with much faster loading and other improvements, but to this day it is still not perfect.
And although I fear that Android 12 is not going to cause each and every one of your problems disappear from one day to the next, we do know that the new version raises important changes designed to improve the experience when sharing any type of content.
One of them is the possibility of edit the content to share before sending it. Thus, if for example we want submit an image from the gallery, it will not be necessary to go through an image editor before; a edit button will allow you to make some changes and adjustments about the photo before sharing.
Scrolling screenshots arrive ... at last
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 to take screenshots that scroll to capture all the content of a web page or application are not present in the Developer Preview 1Yes, they will be in the not too distant future. In fact, we have already seen 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, all you have to do is use the tool Nearby Share to send the key to any other mobile, as long as you have one system version equal to or higher than Android 6.0. Fast and easy.
Widgets get a (well deserved) face lift
A curiosity about Android that not many people know is that the famous widgets They have been present in the operating system practically since its inception, and they are not a late addition as 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 on top of each other, and being 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 saw the light of day in Android 11.
Said widget gather relevant information related to conversations with “important” people, such as missed calls, last 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, so-called privacy indicators that first saw the light of day with the latest installment of Apple's mobile operating system.
These indicators will function in such a way that, when an app is accessing the microphone, camera, or is using location permission of the device, a small notice will show at the top of the screen to keep the user aware of it.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most useful features of iOS 14, which until now could be used on Android through third-party apps, but we are glad that Google has decided copy for your 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 your new formats. One of them is the possibility of launch two apps simultaneously as quickly as possible.
Android 12 will reduce the effort manufacturers need to put into implementing features like this with App Pairs, a tool integrated in the system that will give users the possibility of choose two different apps, and configure them so that, with a single touch, launch simultaneously in split screen mode.
These are, so far, the best news that Android 12 introduces –or “Android S”, or “Android 12 Snow Cone”, according to its internal name– on the platform. It is clear that we are facing one of the major operating system updates in recent years, whose changes come to revolutionize certain aspects of Android.
Now, all that remains is to wait for the months to pass and Google to comply with the update calendar until reaching the final version, which should be ready sometime 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.
Related topics: Android