The Google Pixel 6’s best feature could soon be on every Android 12 phone

Android 12
Multiple phones showing different Android 12 screens (Image credit: Google)

There’s a lot to love about the Google Pixel 6 range, but one of the absolute best things about these phones is how their software looks, with Google’s Material You design language allowing users to customize the interface colors to complement their phone’s wallpaper. Soon, that same feature could be coming to a whole lot of other phones.

You see, this dynamic theming isn’t an essential part of Android, and as a result most manufacturers aren’t using it for their devices, even when running Android 12, but according to a “trusted source” speaking to Android Police, Google will soon require it.

They claim that from March 14, Google will start requiring any phones or tablets that ship with or upgrade to Android 12 to offer this feature.

They will be able to either use Google’s Monet tool, which powers this on the Pixel 6 range and which will be supported natively in Android 12L (Google’s upcoming version of Android designed for large screens), or they can implement their own solution.

It sounds like if doing the latter though it will have to work very similarly to Monet, with the feature reportedly needing to be able to generate five tonal palettes (three accent palettes and two neutral ones) based on a single source color.

It would generate these based on your phone’s wallpaper and apply them to interface elements such as app icons and accent colors.

And if manufacturers don’t comply? Reportedly they’ll have to either make do with Android 11, or potentially lose out on Google Mobile Services (GMS), which includes access to the likes of Google Maps and YouTube.

This isn’t confirmed just yet, and it feels slightly odd that Google would take such a hard stance on it when not so long ago the feature was a Pixel-exclusive (with Monet not being available to other device makers). But at the same time this is one of the best Android 12 features, and Google will want Android to look good.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra already has dynamic theming (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: no change for Samsung

While this could be a big change for some custom interfaces, it probably won’t change Samsung’s One UI 4 much, as the company already offers a similar tool.

Samsung’s version doesn’t use Monet, and it’s unclear whether it totally fits Google’s requirements or not, but at most it will probably require some small tweaks, so don’t expect a big shift if you own a Samsung phone.

For every other Android phone maker though, this could be a major change, and one that brings a more uniform (and yet more personalized) look to Android across devices.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.