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Android 12 makes its first unofficial appearance

Welcome to the new look and feel of Android 12. (Image: XDA Developers)
Welcome to the new look and feel of Android 12. (Image: XDA Developers)
An early build of Google’s next iteration of Android appears to have leaked from documentation targeted at developers. The screenshots show a considerably overhauled UI along with the introduction of what could be a new approach to widgets and an added emphasis on privacy and security.

While there are still millions of phones in the wild still waiting for an update to Android 11, Google is preparing for the release of early Android 12 betas to developers. With the first Android 12 beta expected to roll out by the end of the month ahead of an official release later this year, a Google Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) has surfaced revealing early revisions to the UI. Early opinion on the blogosphere is divided about the new look, but when it comes to change, it often takes people a little while to adjust. 

As you can see from the photos extracted from the leaked document, the most striking change is that Google has dropped the transparency effect for an opaque light beige background across the system UI -- although it could be that the system is picking up on the color tone set by the wallpaper and could change accordingly. It is also important to remember that this is stock implementation of Android which will only make its way to Google’s own devices and OEM’s participating in Google’s Android One program. Samsung and other OEM’s tend to only keep the underpinnings of the OS in favor of their own custom look and feel.

Other key changes to the UI include the extensive use of radiuses on corners, although the application of the curves seems somewhat inconsistent. If there is a rationale for this variation, it isn’t immediately obvious. Following Apple’s largely successful implementation of Widgets in iOS 14, Google could be planning to take widgets on Android to the next level with a new Conversations widget apparent in this first build. A new camera privacy indicator is also apparent in one screenshot, which lets users know which apps are using the camera and when -- this is much like the green light users often see on web cams when active to alert users that the camera is in use. Before we’d even seen this feature, we’d already heard that user privacy will be a strong focus of Android 12.

Undoubtedly, we will only learn more about what changes Google is expected to bring to Android when the first beta is released to developers at the end of the month. You will, of course, need a Google Pixel phone to get in on the fun.

Buy the Google Pixel 5 from Amazon.

(Image: XDA Developers)
(Image: XDA Developers)
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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2021-02- 9 (Update: 2021-02- 9)