Android 12 is getting a new look as announced during the Google I/O. The announcement includes more details on Wear OS, watches, and Pixel phones.
Android 12 Update
Google I/O is virtual this year and is for free until May 20, according to CNET. Due to the pandemic, the company skipped the Google I/O in 2020, so they have a lot to catch up on this year.
At the conference, Google showed off a new look for Android 12, which is the latest version of Android. It features bigger buttons, a bigger homescreen clock, the size of which changes depending on how many notifications appear, and muted pastel colors.
Android 12 also goes big with personalization as users will be able to change the color palette, and when a wallpaper is selected, the system will determine which colors are dominant; then they can add shades to volume controls, widgets, and other tools to complete the whole look.
Google stated that Android 12 will now allow devices to be more responsive with a longer battery life, as the new software will put less strain on processors.
Furthermore, Google also rolled out a series of productivity updates, including an option to hold the power button to use Google Assistant to make a phone call, or even ask for an article to be read out loud, CNN reports.
Focus on Privacy
With Google's rival, Apple, pushing for better privacy features on its products, Google used the I/O event to talk up its own privacy efforts.
According to First Post, the new software provides users with more transparency about the personal data accessed by different apps and ways to control it.
A new Privacy Dashboard offers a look into permissions' settings and lets users revoke those permissions from the dashboard. It also has a new indicator tool that will automatically turn on when an app is accessing a camera or microphone.
Google is also adding a feature that uses Google Assistant to warn users when their passwords have been compromised and help them change passwords.
Meanwhile, a new tool called Locked Folder in Google Photos allows users to add photos to a passcode-protected space, and they won't show up as users scroll through photos or other apps on their phones.
The feature will launch on Google Pixel smartphone first and then on other Android devices throughout the year.
Moreover, Google unveiled new productivity tools to make working from home more seamless.
The most notable is Smart Canvas, which allows services like Google Docs and Sheets to be more flexible and connected with the assistance of @-mentions, checklists, pageless formats and emoji reactions.
Wearables and AR
Google is resurrecting WearOS, its wearable platform for smartwatches, with the help of Samsung and the Tizen software platform.
In 2019, Google announced plans to acquire wearable fitness tracker company Fitbit for $2.1 billion, but there have been no additional news about it since.
Now, Google is showing off its vision for the future of wearables, with deep Fitbit integration for tracking workouts and movement.
Google is also bringing more augmented reality tools to phones. With AR View through Google Maps, users can hover over restaurants, landmarks, and get indoor directions, starting later this year.
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Written by Sophie Webster