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Google I/O 2021 | Android 12 Beta 1 rolls out to Pixel phones

Android 12 is (nearly) here. (Source: Google)
Android 12 is (nearly) here. (Source: Google)
Google has announced that the first non-development beta of Android 12 is available for Pixel phones, as of the new OS upgrade's introduction at I/O 2021. The OEM has also unveiled various new features now found in its own-brand phones' UI. It is now called Material You, and incorporates new privacy, performance and navigational tweaks.

Google has finally and formally introduced Android 12 at I/O 2021. Its presentation may not be such a huge surprise to those running the earlier Developer Preview betas, although this did not stop the OEM from debuting it in great detail.

The next major upgrade to Android involves a potentially significant overhaul of the OS' UI. The new Material You is designed to theme itself automatically in accordance with the color scheme detected in a user's wallpaper. It can also turn the notification shade black in order to show a battery of stacked or interlocking cards to display various updates and settings.

They may now also include controls for Google Pay and Home, which means these apps can be gotten at right from the pull-down menu. Otherwise, Android 12 Beta 1 boasts many features from the previews, Privacy Dashboard included. This is a new aggregation within Settings by which the user can toggle various security-focused options and permissions.

The new UI also features re-jigged animations and responses. Google also claims that the underlying OS has been refined so as to tax a given SoC's "big" cores by up to 15% less, and can reduce the time a CPU has to devote to core services by up to 22%. The latest Android beta is rolling out to the Pixel series, albeit only those of the 3 and 4 series as well as the 5, not forgetting the 4a (5G and 4G/LTE) and 3a.

Google has also announced that it has also released the beta to other OEMs, who range from the usual suspects such as OnePlus, OPPO, Nokia, Xiaomi and Vivo/iQOO, as well as the less predictable suspects Tecno and Sharp. Then again, its availability is now at the discretion of those individual OEMS.

It may strike some as odd that Samsung was not on that list. Then again, it has been cut in to a particularly advanced new feature of Android 12: digital car keys, to be implemented with a handful of to-be-determined manufacturers. They may be dependent on ultra-wide band (UWB) technology, which may explain why they will only work on "select" Galaxy- and Pixel-series phones to start off with.

Grab an early look at Android 12 now with a Pixel 4a 5G from Amazon


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > Android 12 Beta 1 rolls out to Pixel phones
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-05-18 (Update: 2021-05-18)