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Android 12 released along with Material You redesign


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We've been seeing it for months in preview, but Android 12 is finally rolling out to Pixel devices, with others coming soon (presumably).


It's coming with the biggest redesign Android has seen since Material Design launched in 2014. The new design language is called "Material You" and the idea Google is selling is that the phone will adapt to you.



In practice, this means that when you change your wallpaper your widgets, menus, and (optionally) app icons will all adjust to the new colors of your background. Widgets will even change color based on where you put them on your screen and the background colors behind them.


I updated my Pixel 4XL to Android 12, and so far I have to say I'm not impressed, and at least part of that is based on how I use my phone.


I basically never change my wallpaper, either on the lock screen or home screen. I use a black and white image that isn't particularly exciting, for precisely that reason. I find a busy background image distracting. So my phone won't be constantly adapting to my changes, but it still should adapt to my bland color scheme, right? Well, it seems that while Google is happy to let buttons and widgets choose their own colors, they don't seem to trust you with that same power.


The system will let you choose between color pallets pulled from your wallpaper, or from 4 "basic colors" (that I believe the phone also chooses for you) but you can't select your own. Here are the options it gives me:


 Not a compelling amount of customization.


Aside from that, much of the UI has been overhauled, and there are some new privacy features that are worth looking into. But the look of the OS feels disjointed and not particularly exciting to me. It's a lot of large, colored, rounded buttons. Material Design felt like an exciting new look for phones, and it quickly took over on the web and in apps. Material You doesn't seem to have the same reach, and boils down to a more bubbly top layer of the device.


Color me unimpressed.

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