Google Announces Android 12 Beta

Posted on May 18, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Google, Android with 11 Comments

With over 3 billion Android devices now in use around the world, Google has released the first beta of Android 12 with a new user interface.

“Android 12 is one of our most ambitious releases ever,” Google vice president Dave Burke says. “We focused on a new UI that adapts to you, improving performance, with privacy and security at the core. For developers, we’re giving you more tools to build delightful experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.”

That new UI is big news, and Google describes it as the biggest design change in Android’s history.

“We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light, and motion, making Android 12 more expressive, dynamic, and personal,” Burke continues. “This work is being done in deep collaboration between our software, hardware, and Material Design teams, and we’re unifying our software and hardware ecosystems under a single design language called Material You.”

Android 12 provides deeper personalization features than ever before, with custom color palettes and redesigned widgets. It uses a feature called color extraction to automatically determines which colors are dominant in the wallpaper chosen by the user, and which ones are complementary, and it applies those colors across the entire OS, in the notification shade, the lock screen, the volume controls, new widgets and elsewhere. It also features smooth motion and animations, simpler and more efficient interactions, and performance improvements of up to 22 percent.

Android 12 widgets

Android 12 will also include new privacy and security features, including a new Privacy Dashboard that offers a single view into your permissions settings, a new indicator in the status bar so you know when an app is using your microphone or camera, and new approximate location permissions similar to those Apple created for iOS 14.

Where the Android 12 developer previews were only available on supported Pixel devices, the beta is available on a much broader range of devices from companies such as ASUS, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, TCL, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Developers can also access the beta via an Android device emulator for Android Studio.

You can learn more on the Android Developer website.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Google Announces Android 12 Beta”

  1. SvenJ

    Oh look, iPhone widgets. Can't wait for the Android widgets on my iPhone.

    • jaredthegeek

      Android has had widgets since almost v1 but now you are saying they were on the iPhone first?

      • anthonye1778

        Yeah not really understanding the logic there. Maybe he is talking about the look and feel of the widgets being more iOS-y now?

  2. yoshi

    I'm surprised by how much I like the look of this.

  3. DBSync

    Probably only 20% of those billions will ever see this release if that many.

  4. codymesh

    can't wait for this to materialize - get it? - only on one Android device and nowhere else.

  5. dcdevito

    I think this is Google’s unsubtle way of saying Android OEMs UI are terrible.

    Everything just seems so…big. It’s not bad, but I wonder if this release will alienate the enthusiasts.

    • Paul Thurrott

      At a base level, nothing changes: OEMs can put their own launcher on there, and enthusiasts can too. But this is much better than today's Android/Pixel UX.
      • anthonye1778

        Agreed. The UX seems much more inviting now, and I'm sure refinements will come in the future.

  6. rmlounsbury

    Looks good, and Android could certainly use a fresh coat of paint. The new widget style sure does feel very iOS-like in the early renders. I do like the change as I've been a fan of what Apple did with Widgets and this update looks similar.

  7. jlmerrill

    Should I try the beta yet?