Google I/O 2021: Android 12

Google I/O has been live yesterday, and has revealed a lot of useful and important info, including the long-awaited Android 12, which we will discuss today.

To recap, Android 12’s first developer preview was released last 18th February. The developer preview showed numerous features which includes the redesign, performance improvements including the notifications and better app compatibility and stability.

According to Google, there have been 3 billion devices around the world that use Android, since the HTC Dream, which was the first Android phone

Android 12 Redesign: Material You

IMAGE: Google

Android 12 has been made to be as unified as possible, as other versions have no symmetrical or feel mismatched, even the fonts and colours

Google has redesigned Android 12 for stock users as well as Pixel users. By default it will come with the Material You design derived from Google’s Material Blue name. This redesign lets you change the colour palette of your choosing. Google calls this feature “Colour Extraction” Also, this version of Android provides more fluid and smoother animations, making the experience livelier and more aesthetically pleasing. In particular, the colours of the display, including widgets and the clock would adapt to your wallpaper and the AI will determine which colours complement the wallpaper best.

There also have been changes to the notification and quick settings as well. First, the notification has been redesigned to match the Material You design, second the quick settings have new features that lets you do even more, including access to Google Pay and Google Home controls. Google even claimed that you can control the entire OS with just a “swipe and a tap”.

Other redesign features include the widgets. The widgets now have a more simplistic shape and theme familiar to the Material You design. This design is actually more colourful and “pastel-ish”, going for more curved shapes than pointed ones.

Finally, in line with the colour palette, popular Google apps as well as other compatible apps now also change colour palettes. The system will contain multiple colour palettes that users can choose from based on their liking. This colour palette also works on dark mode. According to Google, they want Android 12 stable by fall (August or September), but the Beta Android 12 is now available on select devices.

The Material You theme is also coming to Chrome and Google’s web apps by the end of the year


Android 12 has three core objectives: ‘Deeply Personal’, which refers to the Material You design, ‘Private and Secure’ which focuses on better security implementation and ‘Better Together’ which is Google’s initiative for its users and developers.

Starting with the Privacy, Android 12 now features a Privacy Dashboard. This feature lets users know which apps used different types of permissions, including the last 24 hours.

In line with this, the OS now lets you know which apps are accessing your camera and microphone. A small indicator on the top left lets you know that the app is currently using these two permissions. You can temporarily turn these permissions off through the quick settings if desired.

Google also talked about the Privacy Computer Core, which lets you use AI-based algorithms including Smart Reply (which is similar to Discord’s quick reply option) and Now Playing which lets you know which music is currently playing in the background, without using or compromising the user’s data (Google did say they are “not selling users’ data”). This information is isolated and is processed on the device itself.

Google has also implemented multiple security features within many Google apps. For example, Google Photos will soon have a “locked folder” feature, which, before opening, requires authentication, either by password or through biometrics like fingerprints. This locked folder is important to photos you want confidential, such as sensitive information seen through passports, surprise events and much more.

Google’s Password Manager also has numerous improvements, ranging from quickly changing your passwords and telling you if you have been using the same password for different websites and apps and how big the risk would be. The “suggested passwords” feature lets you change your password from a random string provided by Google.

The main cores of Google’s security implementation are as follows: Private by Design, Secure by Default and You’re in Control


Google wants its Android users to seamlessly connect their phone with their Chromebook. Just like Apple’s AirDrop, when your phone is connected to Chromebook, the Chromebook functions as a secondary Android device. Thus you can see messages and notifications right there and then, as well as using your Android phone to log-in directly through your Chromebook.

If you have an Android TV or Chromecast, you can now use your phone as a remote control, which also has access to quick buttons to popular apps like Netflix and YouTube, as well as a keyboard. No, it does not require an IR port unless your TV is not Android TV.

For Android Auto users, Google has implemented a virtual car key, called, well, “Car Key”. Straightforward from the name, it acts like a virtual car key and Google has been working with several manufacturers like Honda, BMW, Ford and Toyota to make these features work. The Car Key features also has NFC enabled. One cool thing about this feature is that you can now rev-up your engine all through your phone.

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One last thing, Google Photos and Google Camera support a new photo format: AVIF. It is similar to JPEG in terms of function but provide better quality in terms of its compression. This was seen through the developer keynotes. Just observe the image above for comparison.

Wear OS

WearOS is also getting a revamped this year. Samsung has partnered with Google to help bring in this new features, so the new Galaxy Watch 4 will dump Tizen in favour of WatchOS. Don’t worry, Google said that it will integrate Tizen features on the new WearOS for better performance and compatibility.

Google and Samsung will make Tizen apps work alongside with WearOS apps and Tiles. According to Google, the merging would provide faster performance, longer battery life and better app development environment.

With Google purchasing FitBit, the company has decided to use the best of FitBit’s health features integrated much into WearOS. FitBit users using WearOS can also navigate and check their health progress and earned rewards.

In addition, WearOS now lets users use Google Pay, YouTube Music and Google Maps. In relation, the top dial serves as a multitask button, in which users can switch to its previous recent app to the current one.

Android 12 Release:

Android 12 is expected to arrive this fall, at least for the stable version. Like we said, the Android 12 Beta is available for certain devices, which are listed below:

Source: Google I/O 2021 Google Keynotes (has ended), TechRadar, TechCrunch, Tom’s Guide