Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare People


Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare People

After months of testing, Android 14 became reality. The operating system was finally released this week in its final version, with all the features promised by Google during the presentation in May.

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  • Canaltech had the opportunity to test the version over the past few months and track how Android has evolved from the first beta to its definitive release. Get to know everything about the operating system and its trajectory over the months.

    Material You bump into others

    The biggest highlight of Android 14 is visual. Google bet heavily on a new visual identity called Material You, which reformulates some of the system’s aesthetic concepts and brings personalization as a central concept. Hence the “You” in the name.

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    Thanks to this new idea, for example, a user can choose a preferred color, or allow let the system decide automatically from the background. This hue will be seen throughout the system and even in some applications that are adapted.

    You can see how the scale based on the phone’s background repeats itself in the interface and in apps (Image: Screenshot/Renato Santino/Canaltech)

    There is nothing to complain about Google’s initiative. The system is elegant, pleasing to the eye, with fluid transitions, tailored apps. The problem, like many things in life, is others.

    Google is only responsible for a small part of the Android experience. Much of the use of cell phones is using applications from other companies, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, TikTok, Twitter… And all this customization effort is basically imperceptible if other developers don’t join the Material You idea together.

    A very simple example: one of the features of the new look is to adapt icons based on the chosen color. The system informs you that this is still a beta function, but the fact is that, in its current format, it only makes sense to a user who exclusively uses Google apps. NO other app is adapted from any other company, which creates an incongruous and unpleasant experience.

    Icon standardization off and on; Other than Google’s own apps, none is adapted (Image: Screen Capture/Renato Santino/Canaltech)

    And it is questionable whether other developers will have enough incentive to change this in the future. For now, Material You is exclusive to the Pixel line, which is far from being the most popular on the market. There is, therefore, little motivation to ensure compatibility.

    This is also true of the widgets touted as a novelty brought about by Apple’s advancement. Google has revamped the look of some of them, highlighting the clock and weather forecast, but so many other apps have not adopted the same identity and it is quite possible that they never do.

    Left Behind

    Over the months of testing, it was interesting to see how Google abandoned some of the ideas that it had at the beginning. The first beta had a particle effect when using the navigation bar that was mitigated in later updates and eliminated in the final version; the reason was that many users thought the animation looked like a bug.

    Likewise, the settings menu, which was extremely colorful, became more sober, and the volume slider, strangely thick , became finer and more delicate.

    Mixed feelings

    One of the biggest impacts felt when using Android 11 was in the operating system’s quick tweaks, which now has huge rectangular buttons instead of several small circles.

    Google’s choice was simple: less is more. Larger buttons give access to fewer shortcuts, but make it easier to find and press the ones that really matter — and you’d be surprised how many of them are irrelevant.

    Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare PeopleReview Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare PeopleQuick adjustment buttons became huge and more accessible (Image: Screen Capture/Renato Santino/Canaltech)

    However, a change compared to Android 12 has proven itself especially uncomfortable. With the update, Google killed the power menu with smart home controls without a clear justification.

    The feature had made it extremely practical to control plugged in light bulbs and other devices linked to your Google account . However, the company opted for a more conventional menu, with just off, reset and screenshot buttons, in addition to the lock and emergency call.

    The option is probably intended to make it more easily accessible the most urgent mobile controls, especially for the public that is not so familiar with the technology, but ends up affecting the share of users who were already invested in the connected home. The same actions require a lot more touches to be performed.

    Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare People
    Controls of objects connected in the house became more difficult to access (Image: Screen Capture/Renato Santino/Canaltech)

    The impression is that Google has thought of a series of features to make their cell phones closer to a lesser audience. close to technology. It’s a valid decision, but it’s a pity that there isn’t an option to return as it was before to whoever you prefer.

    Privacy in the center, but it is enough?

    Google hit the privacy key as one of Android’s key points 12, and some of these features have drawn a lot of attention over the past few months I’ve used the operating system . Perhaps what has become the most part of my life is the microphone and camera usage indicator, which appears at the top right of the screen whenever an app threatens to access these phone functions.

    It’s a very simple interface element and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it will appear in harmless moments, when you take a picture or record a story for Instagram. However, it is there to detect misuse: when an app is monitoring the user without permission. From there, you can identify the problematic app and remove it.

    The solution is so simple and so important that the right question is: why didn’t Google implement this before?

    Also noticeable alerts that a certain app is accessing the system clipboard to see the text copied by the user. Again, it’s a simple feature, which will basically always point to harmless behavior when you’re copying and pasting something, but critical for detecting a malicious app, sifting through content it shouldn’t have access to.

    The system brings other important tools, but which, frankly, should be used by few people. The Privacy Panel conveniently summarizes which apps are using the permissions they have access to on your mobile to collect sensitive data such as location, camera and microphone.

    Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare People
    Privacy Panel summarizes device information well, but it may be difficult to access (Image: Screenshot/Renato Santino/Canaltech)

    In a check, I found an app accessing my physical activity information without any clear justification for it, which I didn’t even remember that I had given access to such information. It was the opportunity to revoke that permission. Unfortunately, the feature is buried in the system settings window, where I believe few people will go.

    Another new feature in terms of privacy is the ability to share an approximate location for apps that request this information. In my experience, however, several apps have refused this type of use, which is worrying.

    Other cool features

    Not all new Android features 11 are eye-catching at first glance, but several of them bring more quality of life and are extremely welcome.

    One of them is the ability to take scrollable prints, which expand the image beyond what the screen is capable of showing. It is an important tool for those who are used to capturing chat windows, for example, not needing to do four or five prints in a row and then get confused about the correct order, and everything here works very well.

    Scrollable screenshots make it very easy to capture the content on the display (Image : Screen Capture/Renato Santino/Canaltech)Review Android 12 | smart and customizable — the problem is others – The Clare People

    The feature was already widely used in several Android devices, but always as a tool implemented directly by the manufacturer. Now, it becomes native to the operating system, as a uniform experience between devices.

    Another novelty is the one-hand mode, which tries to adapt the phone to a reality in which the screens they are getting bigger and, to top it off, long. The system is able to lower the top of the interface to make the icons at the top of the panel more accessible for times when it is not convenient to hold the device with both hands.

    In my experience, I have had few opportunities to use it in a realistic setting. Most of the time it was triggered, it was by accident, which might be a UX flaw on Google’s part, but the content at the top of the screen actually becomes more accessible.

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