At the Google I/O 2021 conference for developers, Google spared some air-time to talk about the key focuses and features coming to Android 12.
A large part of Android 12 is all about aesthetics - but in a more personalised way. A new feature is colour extraction, where Android 12 phone users can personalise the user interface's (UI) colour palette and widgets via their chosen wallpaper.
Colour extraction picks out dominant colours to automatically complement the phone's overall reskin and look.
This level of personalisation isn't just superficial - it cuts across the entire operating system (OS), including the shades for your notifications, the look of the lock screen, your volume controls, your widgets, and a ton of little details.
Another added perk is a redesign to Android 12 animations. Not much is shared, but Google promised that animations are more responsive and reflected in the design.
For example, dismissing notifications enlarges the clock on he lock screen, so users intuitively understand that they've caught up on all notifications.
Under-the-hood improvements include 22 per cent reduced central processing unit (CPU) time and a 15 per cent reduction in system server load; all these translate to a faster operating system.
Even the quick settings and notifications pull-down menu got an upgrade - with priority given to glance-values, so all these shortcuts feel more accessible and controllable at a swipe or tap. Google Pay and home controls join the pull-down menu as well.
Finally, long-pressing the phone's Power button throws up Google Assistant, so you can ask the voice assistant to help out in a pinch.
Privacy and security
Google plonked in a new privacy dashboard that tells the user what type of data was used and when, by which app. The dashboard also gives users a shortcut to revoking permissions for apps.
Google also added a little indicator to the top-right of the status bar to let users know which apps are currently using the microphone and/or camera, similar to how Apple's iOS for iPhones also throws up a little light at the top to let users know what's in use.
Two new toggles in the quick settings pull-down menu also allow users to remove app access to these sensors quickly.
Another added privacy feature is the flexibility for users to offer approximate instead of precise location, which helps protect user privacy for apps that do not require pinpoint locale accuracy (like weather apps or dating apps, etc.).
Finally, Android 12 has private compute core, which keeps all audio and language processing strictly on-device.
That means that songs under now playing, or smart reply messages personalised to your style are not available anywhere outside of your smartphone. At the same time, the user gets to enjoy the perks of a highly personalised device.
Of course, Android 12 is far more than a handful of personalisation and privacy features, but that's all we know for now.
Google said that Android 12 would be ready from fall 2021 onwards , with the Android 12 beta currently available to select Android devices, including smartphone brands like Xiaomi, ZTE, and Google's very own Pixel phones.
This article was first published in Hardware Zone.