Google just started talking about Android 12 at the Google I/O developer event, and Matias Duarte just introduced a new way to personalize its products called Material You (a riff on Material Design, which Duarte introduced for Android back in 2014). Instead of Google dictating the color palette of all its software, users will be able to pick from customized palettes for the system and apps. And it's not just for Android — Duarte says that your favored designs will follow you from your phone to other platforms, including the web, Chrome OS, wearables, smart displays and "all of Google's products."
Overall, Android 12 looks like a massive redesign, probably the biggest change to the OS since Material Design in 2014. Material You will include new UI elements as well, and will be easy to adapt across multiple different screen sizes and different devices. Duarte says Material You isn't just about colors, it takes into account accessibility as well. You can adjust things like contrast, size, line width and other characteristics to make the visual appearance fit your needs. And, third-party apps will be able to use your Material You settings, as well.
Google's Sameer Samat gave a few more details about how this visual redesign will work as part of his Android 12 overview. The system will use "color extraction" technology to analyze your wallpaper and determine colors that are dominant, complementary, and ones that "just look great." Those colors are then applied across the OS, including the notification shade, lockscreen, widgets and more.
Material You is first coming to the Pixel phones this fall, and Duarte says that it'll roll out to more of Google's products over the next year. Given how quickly Material Design spread from Android to encompass all of Google's products, we'd expect this transition to happen in short order as well. If you just can't wait until fall to give this a look, the Android 12 public beta is going out today.
🌟Material You is a multi-year journey, and this announcement is the first step towards putting You at the center of all digital experiences.— Material Design at #GoogleIO (@materialdesign) May 18, 2021
Today, developers can get a preview of Material You with the #Android12 Beta
🧑🎨We can’t wait to see how you express yourself. pic.twitter.com/MO8kggvmAf