Android 12 will get a supply code model – however not a pixel model


Enlarge / With Android 12 Beta 2, Google’s color-changing UI is live, so we took a trip through the rainbow.

Ron Amadeo

Here is a strange development. Many thought that today was the official release of Android 12, which would make the nearly eight-month beta process one of the longest ever for Google’s newest operating system. Today, Google releases Android 12, so to speak – but only in the source code. There are no day-one updates for every device, not even for the Pixel smartphones.

Android is developed in secret (although nothing is really secret when you have an eight month beta process) and then released as open source code once it’s done. Usually this includes a release for Pixel smartphones as well – one of the great advantages of owning one. Today, with the publication of the source code, a blog post by Google says that Pixel devices will receive the update “in the next few weeks”.

Place your bets in the comments as to why we’re getting this unprecedented release schedule with no releases on day one. Isn’t Android 12 finished? It seems pretty much done based on the latest beta from last month. Enough has also been done to release the source code so that it doesn’t look like it. Is Google holding back the version of Android 12 so the operating system can debut on the Pixel 6? Marketing involvement is currently the best guess we have for this strange release.

Speaking of marketing: Google also happens to have an Android Dev Summit for April 27-28. Announced October, hosted by former mythbuster Kari Byron. This is our next date for the release of Android 12 Pixel.


Android 12 is one of the biggest versions of Android in recent times. There’s a brand new “Material You” user interface for Android; The update brings an incredibly color-changing user interface to the operating system, many Google apps, and any third-party apps that might want to support this. Along with the new background-based color scheme, most of the apps and interfaces have been redesigned with new layouts, animations and rounded corners. There are now privacy notifications for ongoing camera and microphone use and a new privacy dashboard. New devices with Android 12 (read: the Pixel 6) will be the first to ship Google’s Generic Kernel Image, which is supposed to bring Android closer to Linux than ever before, with fewer forks (and less time) between Linux and Android Kernel. There’s an incremental file system for play-as-you download apps and, of course, new emojis.

If Android 12 ever gets a device release, we should see a new mid-cycle release, Android 12.1, on our heels. Android 12.1 has already been leaked and could be released before the end of the year. Google is also shipping a ton of app redesigns through the Play Store, and it will likely stay that way for at least the next few months.