Having recently rolled out Android 12, Google has announced an interesting feature drop for bigger screens and foldable devices, called Android 12L. According to the Google Developers website, Android 12L is an operating system optimized for screens larger than 600sp -- across notifications, quick settings, lockscreen, overview, home screen, and more.
Writing on the Android Developers Blog, Dave Burke, VP of engineering (Android) at Google said there are over a quarter billion large screen devices running Android across tablets, foldables, and ChromeOS devices. In the last 12 months alone, there have been nearly 100 million new Android tablet activations, while ChromeOS, now the fastest growing desktop platform, grew by 92%, Burke explains. “We’ve also seen foldable devices on the rise, with year on year growth of over 265%,” he adds in the blog.
Also read: Why we continue to love foldable phones
Android 12L is purpose-built for such devices, keeping in mind the rise in their demand. The developer preview for Android 12L is now available, while the final version for users will be out next year. This OS is aimed at making multitasking more powerful and intuitive. 12L includes a new taskbar on large screens that lets users drag and drop an app into split-screen mode and instantly switch apps on the fly.
The taskbar also makes split-screen mode more discoverable than ever, writes Burke. “To make split-screen mode a better experience in Android 12 and later, we’re helping users by automatically enabling all apps to enter split screen mode, regardless whether the apps are resizable,” he adds in the blog. Changes in the user interface on Android 12L can be seen, on screens above 600dp for example, in the notification shade, lockscreen, and other system surfaces, which use a new two-column layout to take advantage of the screen area. System apps are also optimized, the blog explains.
According to a GSMArena report on the announcement, Google is urging developers to update their apps in order to better adapt to the multiple screen sizes Android works across, providing three window size classes: “compact” for phones, “medium” for foldables and small tablets, and “expanded” for landscape-mode tablets and computers.
Burke explains that Google is already working with OEM partners to bring these features to their large screen devices. A developer preview of 12L will soon be coming to the Lenovo P12 Pro tablet.