This year’s release of Android 12 is evidence that the phone operating system has advanced significantly in recent years. Android, which began as a little upstart to compete with Apple’s iOS at the birth of the new smartphone era, has since matured into a powerful platform in its own right.
However, with Android 12, Google has pushed one of the operating system’s fundamental ideas to its logical conclusion. Android has been all about personalization and making the phone seem like it belongs to you since the very launch of the platform. When compared to Apple’s unified vision for iOS, which has just lately incorporated some more personalisation tools in iOS 14 and iOS 15, this is a refreshing change.
Android 12 review: Taking personalization to an entirely new level
The most notable feature of Android 12 is Material You, a design language that adapts to the user’s preferences. The trick is that the system now picks out complementary colours depending on your wallpaper and themes itself with them, rather than the other way around. Your Quick Settings, the Settings menu, Gboard, Messages, and a slew of other applications are all being changed at the moment.
More emphasis on privacy
Since the beginning of the decade, privacy has been increasingly important, and Android hasn’t always had the best image in this respect. Android is a far cry from being a private operating system, as seen by the number of applications that monitor you all the time and the vast quantity of data that Google gathers from each device.
Notifications are better than ever now
Notifications are one of Android’s most powerful features. For the most part, Android manages them considerably better than anything Apple has ever done, due to the OS’s clever grouping and actionable things that are immediately accessible. Even better, notifications don’t simply vanish from your lock screen when you unlock your phone – something that drives people absolutely mad on an iPhone when it happens.
Game Dashboard, universal device search, and more
Google has finally gotten the message that people want to play games on their phones, thanks to Android 12. Stock Android includes a specialised game mode that you may use. It’s called Game Dashboard, and it comes with a number of useful features, such as a framerate counter, a YouTube Live streaming shortcut, optimization for certain games, and shortcuts for taking screenshots or capturing screen video. When you’re playing a game, you’ll see a little arrow that will allow you to access these settings. Even though I’d want to see integrations with Twitch and Discord, at the very least, Game Dashboard provides some good features right out of the gate.
Android 12 is a significant release that includes a completely redesigned interface and a strong emphasis on privacy. Google went to great lengths to make the new version more appealing to a wider range of users, particularly with the Material You theming system. While the rounded look might be a little over the top in certain places, I believe Android is in a strong visual position.