Android 12 automatically themes your UX from your wallpaper
Android 12 has graduated out of the Developer Preview phase and the Android 12 Beta activates many of the features that were hidden in the previous builds. These previously disabled features include privacy indicators, revamped widgets, an overhauled design for quick settings, etc. The latest version also brings the first major design overhaul since Android 9 Pie, powered by the new Material You design language. One of the most exciting features of this new design philosophy is that it is adaptive and optimizes the colors in the UI to match your wallpaper.
Google insists that Android 12 is engineered to make your experience private and “deeply personal.” In line with this agenda, Android 12 now automatically chooses a set of correlative color palettes across the system UI based on the colors used in the phone’s current wallpaper. The feature, known internally as “monet,” can be seen as an evolution of the RRO and OMS APIs that have been available in Android for several years and utilized in a rudimentary fashion with Google’s “Pixel Themes” app.
As per the keynote at Google I/O 2021, the colors will apply uniformly across elements such as the lockscreen, quick settings, notifications panel, and even the newly-added adaptive widgets.
Google’s illustration of the feature is promising but sadly, it is not easily accessible in the Android 12 beta. Developer kdrag0n, who is recognized for their work on ProtonAOSP ROM and ProtonKernel for Pixel devices, had already managed to get it working in the Android 12 DP1. At the time, they told us that the functionality works by “applying RRO overlays dynamically based on color similarity.” They have a working demo of the feature for the latest beta build as well.
Monet affects color of the lock screen clock text now, as shown in the keynote. Notifications have also become translucent on the lock screen. pic.twitter.com/J22nymX3Uf
— kdrag0n (@kdrag0n) May 18, 2021
The system has seen refinements since our first look a few months ago. Today, Google says that the color extraction system uses a clustering algorithm with Material color targets to determine the dominant and less dominant colors and then applies hues that match your wallpaper. A rich palette of 5 colors — 2 neutral and 3 accent colors — and 12 shades of Material color can be used to determine the closest hues to the user’s wallpaper. Apps can then grab Android’s system color from an index into the color palette and use it in many different, subtle ways. Widgets can even use the color extraction feature to harmonize with the user’s theme on the home screen.
We expect the feature to make it to the public Android 12 builds in the future following its debut on Pixel phones and are very excited to try it out ourselves.
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