News Weekly: OnePlus 12 global launch, Pixel Feature Drop, and more

The OnePlus 12's green marble-like back
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

This is Android Central's News Weekly, your go-to source for a concise roundup of the week's most significant tech stories. This is where we delve into the top headlines that provide the latest developments and innovations contributing to the digital landscape. 

This week, we tackle the OnePlus 12 global debut, Google's early feature drop for Pixel phones, a new Pixel colorway, Meta taking steps to protect teens on their platforms, and Google bringing AI to Chrome.

OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R debut globally

OnePlus 12 camera island next to OnePlus 11

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 12 and 12R debuted this week on January 23. First, there's the OnePlus 12, retaining a design similar to last year with subtle changes. The phone has a 120Hz AMOLED display, a  5400mAh battery that lasts two days on a single charge, and 100W wired and 50W wireless charging. One Plus has always lauded itself on its cameras, and this one doesn't disappoint. The One Plus 12 has three rear cameras: a 50MP wide camera, a 64MP lens with a 3x optical zoom, a 48MP ultra-wide lens, and a 32 MP front camera.

Android Central's Senior Editor Harish Jonnalagadda was impressed in his OnePlus 12 review, giving this device a 4.5/5 rating. "Earlier OnePlus phones were a good option for what they cost, but the OnePlus 12 doesn't need that particular qualifier — this is a terrific flagship that holds its own against the best that Samsung, Xiaomi, and Google have to offer," Jonnalagadda said. The OnePlus 12 comes in Flowy Emerald and Silky Black colors.

On the other hand, the cheaper device, OnePlus 12R,  is now available globally for the first time. This model has a 6.7-inch 120Hz screen, with a bigger 5,500mAh battery backed by 100W fast charging (80W in North America). The circular camera comprises a 50MP Sony IMX890 primary lens, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 16MP selfie camera. The OnePlus 12R comes in Iron Gray and Cool Blue colorways.

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SpecsOnePlus 12OnePlus 12R
OSOxygenOS 14 based on Android 14OxygenOS 14 based on Android 14
Display6.82-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED (3168 x 1440), 1,600 nits (HBM), 4,500 nits (HDR), Gorilla Glass Victus 26.78-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED (2780 x 1264), Gorilla Glass Victus 2
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Storage256GB/512GB, UFS 4.0128GB/256GB, UFS 4.0
Rear camera 150MP ƒ/1.6 wide, 1/1.4-inch, OIS, 8K at 30fps50MP ƒ/1.8 wide, 1/1.56-inch, OIS, 4K at 60fps
Rear camera 264MP ƒ/2.6 3x telephoto, 120x digital zoom, OIS2MP ƒ2.4 macro, 4cm effective shooting distance
Rear camera 348MP ƒ/2.2 ultrawide, 114-degree FoV8MP ƒ/2.2 ultrawide, 112-degree FoV
Front camera32MP ƒ/2.4, EIS16MP ƒ2.4 wide, EIS, 1080p at 30fps
ProtectionIP65 dust and water resistanceIP64 dust and water resistance
ConnectivityWi-Fi 7, Sub-6 5G, NFC, Bluetooth 5.4Wi-Fi 7, Sub-6 5G, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3
SecurityIn-screen optical sensorIn-screen optical sensor
Battery5400mAh battery, 100W wired (international), 80W wired (U.S.), 50W wireless charging5500mAh battery, 100W wired charging (international), 80W wired charging (U.S.)
Dimensions164.3 x 75.8 x 9.1mm, 220g163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm, 207g
ColorsFlowy Emerald, Silky BlackCool Blue, Iron Gray

Google brings new AI features to Chrome

Google Chrome Create Theme with AI

(Image credit: Google)

On Tuesday (Jan. 23), Google announced the introduction of new and "experimental generative AI features" to the Chrome browser. Users will soon be able to organize similar tab groups, and Chrome will show you a preview of what those groups contain. Everyone likes to set a theme on Chrome based on their aesthetic or mood, and Google is taking it a step further with the Chrome M121, letting you customize your Chrome theme with "Create with AI." With this, users can "quickly generate custom themes based on a subject, mood, visual style and color that you choose."

There is now a new Chrome Web Store landing page with themes created by those who work on Chrome for inspiration. Lastly, Google announced another feature called "Help Me Write," found in Gmail and Google Docs, that will be coming to Chrome. It will also be available in "a text box or field on any site you visit in Chrome." 

Protecting teens from unwanted contact on Instagram and Facebook

A sample request teens can send to a parent to change an item in their privacy settings.

(Image credit: Meta)

Meta announced on Thursday (Jan 24) that it's taking additional steps to safeguard teens from unwanted contact and restricted content on its platforms. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram,  announced that a new set of "stricter messaging" settings is arriving on Meta. These settings for children under 16 in some regions and under 18 in others will help parents ensure teens don't receive messages from people they don't know. Teens under this age group will only receive messages from Facebook friends or those saved in their phone's contact list by default. They will now have to send a request to their parents when looking to alter a default security or privacy setting.

Meta states that it has plans to launch an additional feature to help steer teens away from "unwanted and potentially inappropriate images" in the near future.

Google freshens up the Pixel 8 series with a new Mint Green colorway

The mint colorway of the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google put out a cryptic teaser about a new color for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro earlier this week, and it's finally here: in Mint Green. These phones hit the shelves on January 25 and can only be purchased from the Google Store or from Google Fi. Google sent a Mint Green Pixel 8 sample to Android Central, and the first impression was that the actual color is much closer to white than dark green, with a more pastel hue. Nevertheless, it's the first unique color option for the Pixel 8 since its release. The new device comes with only one storage option: 128GB, which is a dampener when Google is set to offer seven years of software updates. This unique colorway is available via the Google Store and Google Fi Wireless.

The January 2024 Pixel feature drop puts a body thermometer in your pocket

A Google Pixel 8 Pro measuring temperature next to a thermometer

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Looks like Google is playing all the right cards to start this year. The first feature drop of 2024 comes a bit early, and the update is bringing in a series of health features and AI tools to a wide range of Pixel users starting January 25. Imagine being able to take your temperature with your phone. If you have a Pixel 8 Pro, you can now accurately check your body’s temperature with a simple forehead scan, and the phone will vibrate once the results are read.

Moreover, Google launched new and updated features like Circle to Search, Photomojis, Magic Compose, and Quick Share, which allows you to text seamlessly, get creative, share files, and search for anything within apps. Lastly, seamless audio switching on the Pixel Buds Pro extends to the Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2, meaning you can easily switch your audio from one device to another without disruptions.

Nandika Ravi
News Editor

Nandika Ravi is an Editor for Android Central. Based in Toronto, after rocking the news scene as a Multimedia Reporter and Editor at Rogers Sports and Media, she now brings her expertise into the Tech ecosystem. When not breaking tech news, you can catch her sipping coffee at cosy cafes, exploring new trails with her boxer dog or leveling up in the gaming universe.