XDA is in tears today, releasing a ton of details that are known about the upcoming Android 12 release. Among other things, a general update of the user interface for Android 12 is planned, which seems overdue in view of the changes in Android 11 that were voted back last year. Aside from the new theme tweaks already discussed, we can look forward to some lock screen changes (including adjustments to the always-on display of the pixel), notifications, and adjustments to the quick settings panel, an unknown “letterboxing” feature for framing apps in a window, dynamic splash screens, and more, including an abstract “Material NEXT” aesthetic that goes beyond current Material Theme designs.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures of these functions – we’re assuming XDA has a document or code in their hands that verbally indicates the changes – but we were told roughly what to expect.

Android 11 lock screen and keyguard for context.

With tweaks related to the lock screen, it seems that Google will remove the center-facing version we have now and align the clock and smart space (the bit that shows the weather and other things on the ambient display) at the top of the screen. The information about the owner is not moved in the Keyguard, but at the bottom of the screen (see: Screen for entering PIN / password). The text “Now Playing on Pixels” is also somehow adjusted – although we did not understand the details based on the description provided. However, these details are part of the Google version of Android 12 for Pixel and may not appear on other devices.

Customization options for the lock screen clock already recognized in Android 10.

The pattern lock screen is also rumored to be getting a revamped user interface, although the details are not discussed. The chic new power menu smart home control that debuted in Android 11 can also appear on the lock screen or key protector in some way. The long-awaited lock screen clock customization options may also show up in Android 12 that was being worked on since Android 10 and somehow appeared in one Android 11 developer preview.

These images could show a “silk” theme for Google devices.

In addition to the general theme customizations that come with Android 12, XDA assumes that the images we’ve seen may represent a theme called “Silk”. This could be a Google-flavored topic that devices like Pixels and Android / Google TVs may also see jump into the action. A tweak to the Android Runtime Resource Overlay Among these changes may also be what this entire thematic system enables.

According to reports, Google is calling these visual changes to Android 12’s notification interface the “Path to Material NEXT”. Although they may never be publicly listed by that name, it implies some sort of successor to the current Material Design elements popularly (but imprecisely) called Material Design 2.0. If the images we’ve seen so far are anything to look at, it could mean more drastic changes are planned to accommodate this new style in the future.

When it comes to specific changes to the notification shade, a thicker brightness slider as well as space-reducing cuts in the edges, padding and divider height may also be used. A two-column notification shadow may also be planned, and Quick Settings can move labels to the sides of their tiles in a stripped-down two-column layout. Hopefully that’s no worse than The Nerf quick settings are already available on Android 11.

The notification shadow of Android 11 and quick settings.

An interesting-sounding “letterbox” function is also planned. Although we don’t have pictures for what to expect, it describes an app being placed in a frame or window with adjustable rounded colors and a configurable background color. I don’t know if that’s the case Discs on steroids, something planned for Android nudging native desktop mode, an optimization for improved performance with multiple windows along with the upcoming App pairsor something else entirely. We just have to wait and see.

Android 12 can also fix another small but long standing problem introduced by System-level Android support for dark topics: Splash screens. Instead of just hoping that an app will correctly generate its own splash screen according to the system theme (and potentially blind you at night if it doesn’t), Android 12 may be able to create its own splash screen based on the current theme.

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