In addition to giving us the first official look at Android 12, the Google I / O 2021 event also marked the launch of the first public beta of the next version of the company’s mobile operating system. We have already installed it on our Pixel 5.
If you want to download the beta version of Android 12, you must first make sure that you have a compatible device and then check our article How to download Android 12 Beta 1 for a step-by-step guide.
In Google’s own words, Android 12 focuses on “a new user interface that adapts to you, improving performance, with privacy and security at the center.”
While improvements in privacy and security are always welcome, the new user interface (called “Material You”) is by far the biggest change from Android 11, and arguably also the most substantial visual refresh to date. Android of the last generations.
After three previews For developers, this May update is the first of four betas that will arrive before the official release of Android 12 (slated for September 2021, with the Pixel 6), and that’s why it doesn’t include all of the features promised in I / O 2021.
Once downloaded and installed (on the Pixel 5 used to test beta 1 the download is 1.88GB) the first thing you’ll see is the new lock screen and the new lock screen clock.
Android 11 lock screen (left) vs Android 12 lock screen (right)
“Material You” manifests itself in a number of ways, from rounded UI elements to richer animations. If you use the Pixel’s always-on display feature, you’ll find that unless you have unread notifications, the clock is in the center.
When the device wakes up, the letter used on the watch changes from thin to thick, anticipating what one would expect from the rest of the “Material You” experience.
Google was happy to allow UI elements to take up even more screen space than in previous versions of Android, meaning that information (whether it’s icons or text) have more room to breathe, when they will not be able to display as much. different information as possible (without dragging).
Android 11 password screen (left) vs Android 12 password screen (middle) | Android 12 rounded widget (right)
Rounded corners are present in things like app gallery, some widgets, notifications, quick settings, multitasking apps, etc. Notifications of a similar type form rounded rectangular blocks, with the radius of the corners becoming larger when opening a notification from the block (or drag to ignore).
If you use a PIN code to protect your lock screen, the circular numbers on the keypad turn into squares with rounded corners when you tap them.
The new quick settings area only displays four controls by default (six were previously displayed), but offers more space for relevant information about each, which means you’ll have more information about the Wi-Fi network. or the Bluetooth device within easy reach. that you are logged in.
Android 11 Quick Settings (left) vs Android 12 Quick Settings (right)
The brightness slider is now more present, and it takes less precision to use it with your fingertip to adjust it quickly (and the same goes for the new interface volume controls).
Waiting for the assistant
While not enabled by default, press and hold the power button to activate the Google Assistant. If you activate it (from ‘Settings’), the current map displayed by Google Play, smart home devices and controls is replaced.
Make the assistant available via a button Equipment, and not just a screen or voice gesture, it will undoubtedly appeal to some users.
Settings, flashes and splash screens
The “ Settings ” menu is visually lighter, with a dark rounded search bar on a lighter gray background (the opposite of Android 11), and complemented by large icons and text (this time, without sub- titles) and more space between menu items.
When you tap on an element (not just in “ Settings ”, although the effect is clearer here), a flare animation is produced from the center of the UI element you are interacting with. , which adds to the fun style of the “Material You” pass.
Android 12 settings (left), reflections details (middle) and start screen (right)
As we explained in our Android 12 article, tapping an app opens a home screen for a few moments. Some app icons still don’t display correctly, but Google is aware of this issue.
Start screens are standard in Android 12, but developers can customize the image they want to display, the colors used with dark mode or theme settings, and even add animations.
Finally, one-handed mode
One-handed mode is one of those features that other manufacturers have included in their own versions of Android for a long time and it’s unclear why Google didn’t decide to do that as well.
One-hand mode Android 12
At first glance, when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen (once you’ve activated it), everything that appears on the screen is reduced by 45%.
Instead of reducing the entire interface (as is the case with Samsung and Motorola mobiles), Google has opted for a solution similar to the “Easy reach” of iOS, by placing the elements that are generally found at the bottom of the screen within easy reach. Username.
What hasn’t happened to Android 12 Beta 1 yet?
While the May beta is redesigning the Android experience, some key Android 12 features have yet to arrive.
Google has shown a number of new designs for widget at Google I / O 2021 and, while some widgets already include some elements such as the rounded corners of “Material You”, others like a new watch design and the widget time are still missing.
Same color themes
Called “Material Palettes,” Android 12 will use the artificial intelligence science of color management to adjust the colors of interface elements, so that they can complement any wallpaper you want.
Right now, things like lock screen buttons and quick settings are always light blue (assuming you’re using the default style), regardless of the wallpaper.
One of the most prevalent features of Android 12 was the “aftertaste”. Although the “double tap” is included, as it is called in the May beta, it is not yet active (there is a switch to activate it).
The image used to clearly display the feature is still temporary at this point, but this setting includes commands to take a screenshot, open the Google Assistant, play or pause a video, view recent apps, open notifications or open the application of your choice. .
All the others
There are other improvements in the background that are more difficult to test, as well as features like “ Approximate location ”, but we will be monitoring each new public beta to see what additional features and improvements are made in Android 12. before its official launch.
Should you download Android 12 beta 1?
If you are planning to download this first public beta of Android 12, there are several things to consider before you do so.
As Google always says with one of its beta versions, this is a firmware unfinished and includes Bugs, incomplete functions and more instabilities than a standard version of Android. So, ask yourself if you want to take these risks, especially if you are going to install the beta on your main device.
Based on our own experience, it seems stable enough for everyday tasks, with just a few interface bumps. Fundamentals such as connectivity, audio, camera, and touch functions seem to work well.
Considering what Android 12 promises, it’s probably worth waiting for at least the next beta (scheduled for June), as it will include more of this feature than Google has promised in the final version at the end of the year.
Original article published on Tech Advisor.