Here is a strange development. Many people thought that today would be the official release of Android 12, making the nearly eight-month beta process one of the longest ever for Google’s latest operating system. Today, Google is releasing Android 12, sort of, but only in source code form. There are no day-one updates for every device, not even the Pixel phones.
Android was developed in secret (although nothing really secret when you’re in an eight-month beta) and then released as open source code once it’s ready. Usually this also includes a release for Pixel phones – one of the great perks of owning one. Today, with the release of the source code, Google’s blog post says that Pixel devices will get the update “in the coming weeks.”
Place your bet in the comments on why we’re getting this unprecedented release schedule of no day-one phone releases. Is Android 12 not ready yet? It seems pretty well done based on the latest beta from last month. It’s also done enough to release the source code, so it doesn’t look like that. Is Google holding back the release of Android 12 so that the operating system can debut on the Pixel 6? Getting marketing involved is currently the best bet we have for this odd release.
And speaking of marketing, Google also coincidentally announced an Android Dev Summit for October 27-28, hosted by former Mythbuster Kari Byron. Here’s our next best bet date for the Android 12 Pixel release.
Android 12 is one of the biggest Android releases in recent history. An all-new “Material You” UI is coming to Android; the update brings an incredible color-changing UI to the OS, many Google apps, and any third-party apps that want to support it. In addition to the new wallpaper-based color scheme, most apps and interfaces have been redesigned with new layouts, animations, and rounded corners. There are now privacy notifications for continuous use of the camera and microphone and a new privacy dashboard. New devices running Android 12 (read: the Pixel 6) will be the first to deliver Google’s “Generic Kernel Image,” which should bring Android closer to Linux than ever before, with fewer forks (and less time) between Linux and the Android kernel. There’s an incremental file system for apps you can download and, of course, new emojis.
If Android 12 ever gets a device release, we should be on our heels for another mid-cycle release, Android 12.1. Android 12.1 has already been leaked and may be released before the end of the year. Google also ships a ton of app redesigns through the Play Store, and will likely continue to do so for the next few months.