Compared to iOS 14 or 15, Android 12 is mainly a cosmetic revise. Its design and user interface feel fresh and dynamic but it won’t change the way we use Android on our smartphones on a regular basis. In short, everything we like and adore about Android (like the particular app drawer and widgets) are still there, it’s exactly that everything now looks different. There are also a couple of new features that many of us have been waiting for. So , let’s take a glance at what’s new.
I received the particular Android 12 update upon my Google Pixel 4a, which is (sadly) the most recently launched Pixel smartphone you can officially buy in India. Because it’s a Pixel, the software program update was instantly obtainable after the Pixel 6 release. It’s about 1 . 69GB in size, which isn’t too big even for a mid-range mobile phone.
After setting up the update, what immediately got my attention was your lock screen. There’s a large, bold digital clock in the top-left corner and a fancy animation even when you press the unlock/power button to wake the device or put it in order to sleep. Notifications now come in a more compact format that will resembles cards. However , this particular card-like layout means that there is certainly even less text to read unless you expand a notification.
Once unlocked, there’s the home screen, that has received a major chunk of this UI overhaul. A long-press lets you access the Picture and style menu as well as the new Widgets menu.
The Wallpaper and design menu is where you can access Android 12’s new theming engine. You can either choose basic colours or allow system generate a colour palette and theme depending on your wallpaper’s colours. Gleam toggle for Themed symbols, which will change the appearance of system app icons (Phone, Contacts, Play Store, Photos, etc . ) to match the particular wallpaper and the theme.
The Widgets menus is where you will find all your Google android widgets including new customisable ones from Google’s providers (Keep, Calendar, etc . ), a new Conversations widget that will lets you pin an active or even a recent conversation, and the normal Android widgets from third-party apps. The Conversation widget is a nice way to bring a conversation from a particular app onto the home screen, and it will keep updating each time there is a new message. We tried this with WhatsApp and Slack, and they worked surprisingly well. Tapping at the widget will open the respective app and consider you to the conversation, but you can’t chat in the golf widget itself.
While the way incoming notifications are displayed offers mostly remained the same, the layout of the Quick Configurations toggles has changed drastically. Some might call this an epic waste of area, but the new and great buttons are easier to touch on, and it all looks good keeping the Material You design philosophy in your mind.
A feature that lots of people have been asking for, and it has finally made it to Android, is Notifications History. The button for this appears at the very bottom of the notifications tray, and tapping on it opens a separate section which neatly classifies all your notifications under Recently dismissed and Last 24 hours (which generally clubs all the notifications obtained on the device by any kind of app). The catch here is that History will only demonstrate compacted notifications as seen in the tray, and going on any of them will not take you to that particular occasion or message in the application that generated it, but will only open the app’s notifications menu.
The search bar inside the app drawer has obtained quite powerful. You can not just search for apps, but also individuals and conversations within applications. Tapping on a message result directly takes you to the talk window in that particular application. The results of these searches are usually entirely dependent on how lately you conversed with your contacts.
Tapping on Privacy in Settings today shows all privacy-related handles in one place. There’s a Privacy Dashboard that lets you rapidly glance through detailed information of which apps have been opening your camera, microphone, area and more over the past 24 hours. You can even revoke camera access, microphone access, and more for each application with one tap simply by swiping across a toggle. Opening the Camera or Recorder app will now show a theme-matched icon at the very top right corner of the screen (followed by a dot) telling you that the cameras or microphones are being used.
There’s a new Games Dash that contains some gaming-related functions. When enabled, it essentially displays a floating golf widget that lets you take a screenshot, record gameplay, toggle DND, and keep an eye on frames per second when playing games. There’s also a choice to live stream your gameplay to your YouTube account.
The Power Button menus from Android 11, along with access to connected IoT gadgets and payments options, is no more. Long-pressing the power/unlock button now simply starts a pop-up with the Crisis, Lockdown, Power off, and Restart buttons.
I quickly got frustrated by the fact that the Settings shortcut in the notifications color is now accessible only right after an additional swipe (the expanded toggle view). You will have to create a Settings icon on your house screen if you access it often. The Settings app seems a bit different, with menu items now spaced out there as per the Material A person design, but it mostly remains the same in terms of functionality.
I also noticed a couple of bugs within a few hrs of using Android 12. For one, the theming motor needs a complete phone restart to take effect in all Google’s apps (like Photos, Calendar and more), as some applications might be stuck on the old theme until then. Exactly the same goes for some home display screen widgets that don’t recharge after changing to a new theme.
Software performance is not noticeably faster than Android 11 around the Pixel 4a. Battery life is an area of concern after huge software updates, and so much I am a bit surprised it seems to be better than before. So , Android 12 (at least on the Pixel 4a) appears to be a stable update.
What remains to be seen is how much of the interface changes that are evident on Pixel devices will land up on smartphones made by other manufacturers for example Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi, which all emphasise the advantages of their own custom UIs. At the moment, the Monet theme engine seems solely reserved with regard to Pixel devices, but this might change with future versions of Android 12 simply because reported by XDA .
The same goes for the personal privacy features, which I hope other Android manufacturers will include, exactly like Digital Wellbeing is now available on all Android smartphones. Also, I’m not too sure how many third-party app programmers will update their existing widgets (several of which don’t have been updated for years). New Material You-themed icons are currently only available from Google-branded apps.
You will find a lot to like about Android 12 and you will find enough reason to upgrade to it, provided you have a -pixel device. Those who are using Android-powered smartphones from other manufacturers will need to wait and see when Google android 12 will arrive and what it will end up looking like when merged with their respective custom made skins. For now, Oppo’s ColorOS 12, Realme’s Realme URINARY INCONTINENCE 3. 0, Samsung’s OneUI 4. 0, and OnePlus’ OxygenOS have showcased their particular custom implementations of Google android 12, and none of them seem anything like the Pixel experience. One also needs to keep in mind that these are beta versions, so there’s always scope for changes till the final versions are made accessible.
For now, Android 12 is only available on Pixel smartphones, from the Pixel three or more till the new Pixel 6 Pro. For Android users in India, this revise, for now, is limited to the -pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, and the Pixel 4a ( Review ) which was launched in India last year. There are no verified dates when it will can be bought on devices made by additional smartphone manufacturers.