LG Velvet Android 12 Update Is Missing One Important Feature

Although it was one of the first few companies to put a stake in Google's nascent Android mobile operating system when it first came out, LG didn't find long-lasting success in the smartphone market. After enjoying a brief period of popularity, especially as one of Google's close friends, the company's figures in the smartphone market started plummeting, putting it in the red across consecutive years. In 2021, LG finally gave up and bowed out of the smartphone market, but not before saying it would continue supporting its existing phones with software updates. 

The company has been struggling to keep up with that promise, though its effort is impressive considering it hardly has any resources left for updating Android. Slowly but surely, it has been pushing out Android 12 to some phones, and that version has finally arrived on the LG Velvet 5G in the U.S., albeit with the curious absence of one headlining feature. Launched in 2020, the LG Velvet marked the company's attempt to right its course, offering consumers a new design language that represented the company's break from the past and positive outlook for the future. A year later, LG folded its mobile business.

The LG Velvet, particularly the regular 5G model that was launched first, did get its first major Android upgrade around the time the company announced its exit from the smartphone market. As the first of a new generation, the LG Velvet is pretty much a litmus test for how far back LG can go in supporting its handsets. Making true at least the first half of its promise, the model received an update to Android 12 in South Korea first, which has now landed in the U.S. via Verizon.

Material You is still missing

Verizon's System Update 10 for the LG Velvet doesn't say much about Android 12 as expected, but it does highlight the improvements that the release brings. A lot of updates revolve around the stronger privacy features Google has implemented on the platform, as well as its solution to the somewhat controversial smart home controls in the power button menu. LG hid its "IoT Device Controls" behind a button in the notification panel, leaving the power button to function as it did before.

That, however, may have been the sign that LG's custom Android skin, which it simply calls LG UX, wouldn't be adhering to the new design language that Android 12 brought. In fact, Material You is noticeably absent from this update. This more customizable feature is one of the big selling points that Google made when it launched Android 12, so it's disappointing to see the update arrive with a less-than-vanilla skin. With that said, many manufacturers, especially Samsung, set this trend, so it's not that surprising to see LG following suit. After all, the company may not have enough resources to implement Material You on its LG UX without introducing bugs that would, in turn, mean more work for the few developers the company has left.