Android 12L is official as “Android 12.1,” rolling out now to Pixel telephones

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Promotional image for electronic device updates.
Enlarge / Android 12.1, with the brand new taskbar UI on the backside.

Google’s tablet-focused launch of Android, Android 12L, is hitting manufacturing units as we speak as “Android 12.1.” Google’s pill replace is debuting in a moderately awkward vogue with no precise pill {hardware} to run on. Google says that pill {hardware} can be coming “later this yr” with Samsung, Lenovo, and Microsoft planning foldables and tablets with the brand new OS.

What we’re getting as we speak are Pixel cellphone releases for the Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, and Pixel 5a. The Pixel 6 is as soon as once more not getting an replace concurrently different units, although Google tells 9to5Google {that a} Pixel 6 replace can be out later this month. Since nearly all the Android 12L options are pill options, the discharge does little for telephones.

The tablet notification panel, which weirdly is no better than the phone panel.
Enlarge / The pill notification panel, which weirdly is not any higher than the cellphone panel.

Ron Amadeo

The large options of Android 12.1 are a brand new taskbar UI for tablets, dual-pane UIs for the notification panel and system settings, and a brand new recent-apps view for greater screens. For normal-sized screens, you get the smallest quantity of tweaks, like the power to show off Android 12’s huge lock display screen clock and a brand new UI for shortly choosing wallpaper.

If Google needs to claw its manner again into the pill market, a couple of OS-level tweaks are a great begin. But when the search big actually needs to achieve success, it must replace its apps to help dual-pane pill interfaces. Google has beforehand performed coordinated, companywide pushes for sure Android releases. When the brand new Materials You design tips launched with Android 12, Google was prepared with day-one updates for Gmail, Chrome, the Play Retailer, YouTube Music, Google Calendar, and extra. When Google determined darkish mode was a good suggestion, we regularly noticed each Google app be up to date to help the brand new fashion.

The dual-pane settings UI returns in Android 12.1.
Enlarge / The twin-pane settings UI returns in Android 12.1.

Google

Now Google wants the identical factor for tablets: an enormous, coordinated, companywide push for pill apps. The machine numbers is not going to be there to help this initially, however within the chicken-and-egg state of affairs that’s constructing an ecosystem, you should to construct the software program first earlier than clients will purchase in. I hoped we might see a batch of app updates launch alongside Android 12L, however that doesn’t seem like the case as we speak.

Permitting Samsung and Lenovo to be prepared by the top of the yr with new pill performance actually does appear to be the purpose of the Android 12.1 launch. Because the identify suggests, this is among the smaller Android releases in current reminiscence, with solely a handful of core OS pill options and never a lot else. Android 12L was fully outdoors of the conventional Android launch schedule, with a bizarre October-to-March developer preview. As of February, Google was truly working simultaneous developer previews for Android 12L and Android 13 on the identical time. Speeding the 12L options out the door provides Samsung and Lenovo the same old six-month interval to have a brand new Android launch prepared in time for the vacations. Hopefully, we’ll see some pill apps come out by then.



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