After a long developer preview which launched in February this year, Google has released Android 12 overnight – but only to their Android Open Source Project repository, with a release for phones slated for the ‘next few weeks’.
Announced on the Developer Blog, the push is now on in the next few weeks for developers to ensure their apps are ready for the update and ‘to give your users a smooth transition to Android 12’ saysVP Engineering for Android, Dave Burke.
The features for Android 12 have been fleshed out over the last few months during their developer preview and include a massive visual overhaul for Android called Material You, as well as improved user features, and privacy and security updates.
The visual overhaul for Android 12 is designed to make Android easier to use, with Material You bringing a new design language to make apps more personalised and beautiful.
Material You can use a custom colour palette of your choosing, or pull dominant and complementary colours from your wallpaper, applying colour settings across your homescreen, lockscreen, apps and widgets.
Widgets too are getting a refresh with more interactive controls, improved layouts and of course those dynamic colour palettes. Apps too are getting a new splash screen to standardise the look of launching apps across the ecosystem
Privacy and Security
Android security has improved over the past few years, but there’s improvements to allow more user control over what’s being shared.
Google is introducing a privacy dashboard to give users more visibility over which apps can access their location data, as well as the microphone and camera.
Users will now see indicators for when the mic and camera are in use by an app, and be able to quickly disable them using toggles in quick settings. You’ll also be able to limit location data to an approximate location rather than a precise location to limit tracking.
Google is also refining their Nearby file and image sharing feature which launched last year. Apps will no longer need to ask permission for location data to just share files with nearby devices.
It’s bit of a strange one for Google today. Generally an announcement of the latest version of Android heading to AOSP means it’s ready to download for Pixel devices that day. Instead, Google has said that it will be available for Pixel devices in ‘the next few weeks’, while other companies who participated in the Android dev preview, including Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi, will push Android 12 to their devices later this year
Google has also released the October security patch for Android 11 today, which means that Pixel owners on the Android 12 beta will need to opt out of that for the latest security patch – as we said, strange.
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro?
After announcing the existence of the phones – which will run a custom Google designed Tensor Processor – earlier this year, Google hasn’t said much about when we’ll actually be able to buy one of their latest handsets. The speculation is that Google is holding Android 12 for the launch of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro (possibly a Pixel foldable too) in the next couple of weeks.
Exactly when the launch will be, could possibly have been tipped by Telstra who are running a competition which originally tipped October 19th for the launch, but has now been changed to October 31st.
So, while we’re right on the cusp of both Android 12 and the Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro becoming available everywhere, we just need to wait a little longer.