Just days after releasing the stable version of Android 12, Google has revealed a new version of its mobile operating system. Android 12L aims to improve the UI design and productivity features on large-screen devices like foldable smartphones, tablets, and even Chrome OS-based laptops.
Android 12L will automatically scale the UI to fit larger screens better. For example, the notifications shade will be split into two parts. Quick setting toggles will appear on the left, and notifications will appear on the right. Hence, more toggles will appear in a single view, and notifications will show more information. Google had done something similar with Android 3.0 Honeycomb back in 2011. Hopefully, it will work this time.
The home screen, lock screen, and overview screen will take better advantage of larger screens on foldable phones and tablets to show more information. A lot of apps and system surfaces will adopt a two-column layout to take full advantage of bigger screens. In portrait mode, some parts of the UI will revert to a smartphone-like UI design. Android 12L is also “fold aware”, which means that an app can change the UI to avoid the hinge area of the screen when the device is folded.
The multitasking experience has been improved, too. With an optional taskbar, similar to One UI 3.1.1, users can pin frequently used apps and drag and drop them to open two apps side by side. Developers don’t need to update their apps to work in this split-screen multitasking mode as Android 12L will do everything on its own.
Google says that it has improved the compatibility mode with Android 12L. It means that apps that haven’t been designed to work in the fullscreen mode on tablets and foldable phones will offer an improved letterboxed view. Google has also revealed ways that developers can use to enhance their apps on bigger screens. The company will also feature Android 12L optimized apps on the Play Store. Such apps will also work well on Chrome OS-based devices such as the Galaxy Chromebook 2.
The internet search giant has already released a Developer Preview on its website. Google said that Android 12L would be released early next year, in time for the next wave of foldable phones and tablets. Interestingly, the company said that Android 12L can work on smartphones, too, but since they have smaller (read narrower) displays, all the multi-column enhancements won’t be visible. So, Google is focusing on foldable phones and tablets for now.
Google is already working with OEMs, including Samsung, to bring Android 12L to their large-screen devices. Samsung’s foldable phones and tablets, including the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Tab S7 series, will benefit a lot from Android 12L. You can see the complete list of Galaxy smartphones and tablets eligible to receive the Android 12L update.
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