Android 12 at Google I/O: hints of the redesign in beta, lots of news | GeekComparison

Together with the kick-off of Google I/O, the first Android 12 Beta (Developer Preview 4) was released yesterday. In addition to the usual Pixel release, Google says OnePlus, Lenovo, Asus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, TCL, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE are all releasing compatible releases for certain models, mostly their current flagship smartphones. Android 12 had announced a major redesign at Google I/O, but much of it isn’t in beta: we’d get a color-changing UI, new widgets, and a privacy dashboard. None of that is in beta yet. You get a lot of progress in the notification shade, lock screen, and a few new animation effects, but it’s all incomplete now, as you’d expect.

Google’s sizzle reel and mockups for the next version of Material Design called “Material You” look great in canned videos and with carefully curated app mockups. But the real question is how quickly and comprehensively Google Material will implement You. If everything gets a cohesive design quickly, that’s great, but if half of Google’s apps have the new design and the other half have the old design, it’s not so great. Dark mode was introduced in Android 10 in 2019 and the whole Google ecosystem took about 1.5 years to catch up. Google Maps was the last big straggler in dark mode with a February 2021 release, and just as things settled down, it’s time to change the design again.

Google has also detailed how third-party apps can access the color extraction API that enables Android 12’s Pixel theme. This is something that will probably be cool for smaller apps made to fit Android design, but most major third-party developers can withstand the uniformity of Google’s Material Design. After the initial launch with Android 5.0, many of the subsequent Material Design iterations were about “expressing your brand” with more flexible design guidance. That means Facebook still wants to look like Facebook and want everything to be blue, while Spotify wants to look like Spotify and make everything green and black.

Google has a blog post detailing some of the new additions to Android 12. An important point is better performance. Google says it has “reduced the CPU time required for core system services by 22% so that devices will be faster and more responsive. We’ve also improved Android’s power efficiency by using large cores by the system server by 15%.” to help devices last longer before you need to charge.”

Google is also introducing a new standard called the “performance class.” The standard is kind of an advanced hardware specification for Android phones, so they can mark themselves as capable of running the latest features that Google says go beyond the basic requirements of Android. We’ve seen more targeted versions of Google’s hardware certifications before, such as “Daydream-ready” phones for VR and ARCore-compatible phones for AR. This sounds like a generic version of that idea, which could change with any version of Android.

Devices can update their OS and performance flag, or they can only change their OS if they are ineligible.
enlarge Devices can update their OS and performance flag, or they can only change their OS if they are ineligible.


Each version of Android is launched with a corresponding performance class: Android 12 comes with Android Performance class 12; Android 13 ships with performance class 13, etc., as defined in the Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). Upgrading will allow devices to move to Android 13 without qualifying for performance class 13, so Google has a way of marking new devices with new software instead of old devices with new software.

With Android 12, we get Performance Class 12, and Google says, “Initially, we’re focusing the performance class capabilities on media use cases, with requirements such as camera boot delay, codec availability, and encoding quality, as well as minimum memory size, screen resolution, and read/write performance.”

Here’s the full list:


  • Concurrent codec sessions
  • Boot codec latency
  • frame drops
  • Encoding quality


  • Solution
  • Startup and recording delays
  • Video Stabilization Support
  • HDR Image Capture


  • Memory
  • Read/write performance
  • Screen resolution
  • Screen density

Knowing where or how Performance Class will be applied is difficult. The docs say apps can query a device’s performance class and enable or disable certain features, but in the absence of some sort of sample app that cares about these system requirements, it’s hard to imagine exactly what Google expects. The obvious example of system requirements-in-action is video game graphics, but that’s not part of this specifically. We find it hard to imagine any type of app where a single number representing media playback, camera, resolution, memory and flash performance capabilities is useful. Is the answer just “Augmented Reality” again?

Google also spoke extensively about privacy yesterday. We now have official confirmation that the privacy dashboard will ship with Android 12, which will give you an overview of which apps are pinging your location permissions and when. There was also confirmation of the rumors about the privacy chip appearing in the top right corner when using your camera, microphone or location. Kill switches for the microphone and camera now also appear in the quick settings.

Google has announced another change in location permissions: now you can choose an “Accurate” or “Estimated” location permission to grant to apps. This is the way apps ask for location permissions behind the scenes, but previously it was all just placed under the “location” popup for users.

Finally, Google made the announcement that it is now up to 3 billion active devices. That’s a lot of people waiting for Android 12.

Listing image by Google

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