Yes, Google I/O 2021 kicks off tomorrow and, yes, we’re all very excited to see what comes of the yearly event. However, if there’s ever a chance to see some stuff that will be debuted there a bit early, that’s still fun, right? Well, that’s the case with Android 12 just as it was with Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro earlier last week. While there’s little reason to believe we’ll see anything more than a tease of the new Pixels from Google at I/O, there’s a high likelihood that we’ll see a whole lot of what Android 12 is prepped to bring to the table.
As he’s done for many devices up to this point, Front Page Tech’s Jon Prosser has leaked out some very official presentation slides and a promo video for Android 12 that he laid eyes upon at the same time as the Pixel 6 photos and videos he has access to. As a fun aside, we get a quick shout out in the video he made about it (right at the 0:58 mark), so that’s cool. Either way, take a peek at the video, absorb the content for a minute, and we’ll discuss below.
Android 12’s big visual overhaul
What can’t go unnoticed with the slide and video is the massive – MASSIVE – overhaul in design language from Google. Don’t get me wrong: this design feels and looks like Google 100%. It’s just very, very different than what we see on current Android phones, including Pixels. And just like I felt with the Pixel 6 renders, I’m absolutely loving the look of all this newness and I’m loving it perhaps precisely because it is fresh and different.
While the first slide Jon shows off is just examples of widgets and UI elements, its the promo video that really does me in. Seeing all these new rounded pieces all working together in a fluid, succint fashion just makes me excited for what Android 12 is slated to become. I feel confident that Google’s been cooking up their own silicon (the ‘Whitechapel’ GS101) for quite a while at this point, so the move to launch a striking phone with a massive revamp of Android to coincide with the occasion only makes sense. I get the feeling that Google is really ready to deliver something quite special this fall.
What about Chrome OS?
The other part of this that has me excited is to consider what – if any – parts of this new design language might head over to Chrome OS. We’ve not seen anything indicating a move in this direction just yet, but I could see a future move to bring some of this styling to Chrome OS down the road a bit. Sure, we’re just now getting Android 11 on a handful of devices, but that move involved launching a new container for Android and was far more complex than a simple OS update. The move to Android 12 should be quite a bit smoother whenever it is set to happen.
We’ve already seen the groundwork being laid for Android 12 on Chrome OS, so we know it is on the way for sure. The visual flare that comes with Android 12 doesn’t necessarily have to come along for the ride, but it would be nice for Google to move in that direction to simply keep some uniformity across products. There will always be differences in Google Home products, Android, and Chrome OS, but some of the main UI elements should line up so that things like volume sliders, power buttons, and menus end up having the same basic look and feel that tell users “this is a Google thing you are using.”
For now, we’ll wait to draw any further conclusions about all this until Google I/O that is slated to begin with the main keynote tomorrow at 1PM EST. We expect a lot of news about Android, Google Assistant, Chrome OS, and perhaps some teases/releases of some sweet new hardware. With Sundar Pichai’s admission that we should expect significant product updates, I know we’re all eagerly awaiting the opening announcements from Google tomorrow. We’ll have a nice compilation list of what to watch and where to watch it coming later today, so stay tuned.