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Android 12's new 'Safety & emergency' menu puts all your health and contact information in one place

Android 12's new 'Safety & emergency' menu puts all your health and contact information in one place

Smartphones give us the benefit of always being connected, making them a key instrument in any emergency situation. Google is looking to capitalize on that for Android 12 by boosting some of its most essential features. An all-new "Safety & emergency" section has been added to the settings menu, giving you quick access to your most vital details and linking directly to the Pixel's Personal Safety app.

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Android 12 may make setting up smart home gadgets less obnoxious

Android 12 may make setting up smart home gadgets less obnoxious

Setting up smart home hardware can be intensely frustrating. Sure, there are benefits and conveniences to having a bunch of connected devices in your home, but a surprising number of things can go wrong even just getting a light bulb or hub to reliably connect to Wi-Fi. On top of that, the setup process can mess with your phone's data connection, which makes troubleshooting even more of A Thing. But a change in Android 12 will help fix some of that, allowing you to maintain a simultaneous Wi-Fi connection to a peer device as well as your home access point.

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79

Android 12's relocated smart home controls have people (rightfully) upset

Android 12's relocated smart home controls have people (rightfully) upset

Android 12 Beta 2 had lots of big changes, including the rollout of the new dynamic theming system, but a smaller tweak has plenty of fans up in arms. In Android 11, Google rolled out smart home controls in the redesigned power menu, but Android 12 Beta 2 is reverting all that, relocating those controls to a Samsung-style quick settings toggle. For those that got used to or even preferred the older, faster, and simpler power menu shortcut, this is an unpopular move, to say the least.

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39

Android 12's dynamic theming could extend to app icons

Android 12's dynamic theming could extend to app icons

Google's updated design language, dubbed Material You, makes interface design a much more personalized experience on Android phones, with UI elements pulling their colors from your wallpaper. But the theming couldn't only be restricted to the notification shade, accent colors, and app backgrounds. Evidence is mounting that it could extend to app icons, too — if developers add support for it.

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16

Walmart's new 4K Android TV box is out, and it's $20 less than a Chromecast with Google TV

Walmart's new 4K Android TV box is out, and it's $20 less than a Chromecast with Google TV

Android TV continues to grow as a platform, spurred on by the success of last year's Chromecast with Google TV. That device managed to undercut the old 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra by $20, making it an easy way to grab a streaming stick for your television without paying an arm and a leg. If that price is still too steep to justify throwing a media player in your spare bedroom, Walmart has the gadget for you. Its new Onn-branded 4K Android TV device is officially on sale for just $29.

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33

Sparkly ripples are looking (barely) toned down in Android 12 Beta 2

Sparkly ripples are looking (barely) toned down in Android 12 Beta 2

For the aesthetic obsessives out there, it's been an especially interesting beta cycle so far with Android 12. Material You brought a major tweak to the ripple animation and, if you asked certain critics about it, you would've thought Google had gone mad at the craft store for bottles of sparkles. Has relief come its way?

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16

Google Messages is working to support Android 12's fun new themes

Google Messages is working to support Android 12's fun new themes

One of the coolest changes in Android 12 so far is the new Material You dynamic theming system, which changes system colors to match your background in a way that's downright beautiful — or, at least, way less boring than before. Eventually, apps will take advantage of it too, but they'll need to be updated to accommodate it, and the first signs of such support are starting to appear in Google Messages.

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44

The Android 12 Beta is Google's most popular ever — so what are you waiting for to try it out?

The Android 12 Beta is Google's most popular ever — so what are you waiting for to try it out?

Android 12 is decidedly the most significant update that the operating system has received in the last few years. While there are a lot of changes to parse through, the most notable one has been the new Material You design that has given a complete facelift to the interface. It could also be a major reason why a record number of Pixel users have rushed to be a part of the Android 12 beta program.

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38

Look at how flexible (and colorful) Android 12's new UI theming is in this gallery

Look at how flexible (and colorful) Android 12's new UI theming is in this gallery

Android 12 beta 2 debuted the new operating system's much-anticipated automated theming system, which adjusts the colors of your phone's entire interface to match and complement the background wallpaper of your choice. We've been playing with it for the last day, but for a perfect example of why you'll want to check it out, we turn to Ars Technica Reviews Editor and Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo.

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42

YouTube installs on Android TV have doubled in 12 months, hinting at some substantial platform growth

YouTube installs on Android TV have doubled in 12 months, hinting at some substantial platform growth

Android TV may have started as a small side project for Google, dwarfed in size by its own Chromecast devices, but it's quickly becoming a star in its own right. YouTube — a preinstalled app on every Android TV device — recently hit 100 million installs for its Android TV variant, giving us a good idea of the platform's growth.

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