Android 12: The Ars Technica Review

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Welcome to Android API Level 31, aka Android 12. Google’s latest OS had the weirdest rollout ever. An anticlimactic source code released in early October, but if you want to officially run Android 12 on a device, you’ll have to wait until Pixel 6 launch day, when Google shipped Android 12 to older Pixel devices as well. Had given.

In a way, it was fitting for Android 12: a Pixel-centric release meant to feel like a Google-centric OS. Android 12 rolled out to Material U, a design style that Google says will someday follow you across the company’s ecosystem. It’s a Google-centric design that probably won’t please a lot of big brands, but it looks great.


In addition to Material U, there are also a million features to cover, such as a new file system, a refreshed and more upgradable Linux kernel, and notification changes. Let’s dive

Table of Contents

  • Content You—Google’s Beautiful, Next-Generation UI
  • Notification Panel—Large Buttons, a Sweet Opening Animation, and the Return of the Panel

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    GKI—Android closer than ever to Linux

  • Play Store Kernel Update?

  • Widgets—new, beautiful, and no longer just for the home screen

  • Widgets are now Remote Content API?!

  • so many UI other changes

  • Privacy—a dashboard, permission chips and kill switch

  • Private Compute Core—Running AI Code in a Virtual Machine?

  • A Minimal Tip for the Performance Class—Something

  • Incremental file system and play-as-you-download

  • android update train never stops

  • Good

  • Bad

  • Unattractive

Content You—Google’s Beautiful, Next-Generation UI

Android Rainbow of Colors.  The colors of the clock and buttons were generated automatically from the wallpaper.
Ron Amadeo

The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up Android 12 is the new design language, which Google calls “Material You”. Google has previously resisted giving version numbers to its Material Design styles, but with some documentation it was “material design 3, “The history is clear. Google introduced the first “Material Design” in Android 5.0, which brought bold color and white card backgrounds to Android (and to the rest of Google). Google transitioned to Material Design 2 with Android 9 in 2018 And while it brought a lot of color customization to brands, Google went to an all-white theme that was almost completely devoid of color. The lack of color paved the way for a dark mode in Android 10 of 2019. did, which allowed for an easy change from all white to all dark.

For Android 12, Google is bringing back the color it removed. It’s the next generation of Material Design, and it’s color-coordinated automatically in a way no other OS has been before. Content You are not just a set of design principles; It’s also an algorithm-driven color system (codenamed “Monet”) that visualizes your home-screen wallpaper and creates a palette of colors for the entire OS’s buttons, backgrounds, and text. So choose the primary red wallpaper, and you’ll get shades of red all over Android.

Choosing the exact color is up to Google’s algorithmic magic, but in general, Android 12 picks a main color from the wallpaper and pumps out several variations by varying the brightness and saturation. So if you choose a primarily blue wallpaper, by default you get a bright blue, a deep, deeply saturated blue, a dark blue-gray, and then a background color—almost “white blue” for either lighting mode. You will get something like background or almost “black blue” for dark mode wallpaper.

Android 12 Easter Egg gives developers some paint chips to decorate.
Ron Amadeo

This year’s Easter Egg for Android 12 shows how it works, showing off a full sheet of color swatches available to apps for a given wallpaper setup. There are two neutral colors, two accent colors that match your wallpaper, and then one complementary color. All these five shades are available in a full range of lightness.

To avoid contrast issues, Google extracts colors from your wallpaper and maps them to CIELAB color space, Instead of something like RGB values ​​for red, green, and blue, CIELAB gives you an “L” for perceptual lightness (from black to white) and then, using positive or negative numbers, an “A” value from cyan. Goes into magenta and the “B” value goes from blue to yellow. By having the lightness value at the ready you Calculate a Contrast Ratio in software. So for any two combinations of colors, Google can guarantee that they will remain readable—and within defined contrast accessibility standards for low-vision users.

Algorithmic color picking feels like Android 5’s “Palette” API that Google used back in 2014. Palette will extract colors from images and apply them to the UI, and Android 12’s Monet is a ground-up reworking of that same idea. while the palette never lived Not much used up to its original promise, Android 12 sees dynamic colors being rolled out everywhere. Even in the pre-release phase, it was clear that the new system would live up to the hype.

Everything in Android 12 is tinted with your wallpaper colors. You’ll find wallpaper tones in quick settings, notification panels, settings, app icons, and more. Even many neutral-looking dark gray or white wallpapers are always in the same color family as the color scheme. It is difficult to find examples of pure white or pure black anywhere in the OS, the one exception being the background of the notification panel (this is to a good effect which we will talk about later).

Stuff you’re not just for the OS. Apps Content You can also plug in a color-changing palette, so Gmail and the Play Store can be color-coordinated with your wallpaper, too. Unlike the glacially slow rollout of Dark Mode across Google’s app ecosystem, many Google apps already support Material U. Calculator, Clock, Keyboard, Gmail, Chrome, Play Store, YouTube Music, Google Calendar, Drive, Keep, Files, and much more based on dynamic colors.


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