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Google announces feature drop for foldable devices, tablets, and Chromebooks

Google announces feature drop for foldable devices, tablets, and Chromebooks

A few weeks ago, rumors circulated about the Android 12.1 version update. The naming was clearly a minor mistake, as Google has now announced Android 12L as a so-called “feature drop” in the context of the “Android Dev Summit”. Among other things, the new version should ensure that Android runs more smoothly on large and foldable screens.

Android 12L: “L” stands for foldable devices

As Google explains, the new Android version should improve the UI layout for foldable devices and also adjust the position of the Start screen, lock screen, notifications, quick settings, and more. According to Google, each screen should display at a resolution of 600 ppi (pixels per inch) and more than a two-column layout using the entire screen.

Android Feature Drop: The 12L is supposed to provide an improved user interface for larger screens. (Image: Google)

In an example shown by Google, the quick settings have been moved to the left side of the screen, while the notification panel is on the right. This way, you can access both at the same time, without having to open and close another app.

Android Feature Drop: 12L with improved multitasking. (Image: Google)

A new taskbar is also introduced with Android 12L, which makes it easy to quickly switch between different apps on large screens. Dragging and dropping the app from the system tray will open it in split screen mode. According to Google, this feature will be enabled for all apps, regardless of whether they can be resized or not.

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Android 12L brings letterbox optimization and new APIs

Another innovation of 12 liters is a improved letterboxingIt’s supposed to make apps look more attractive. Google wants to allow device manufacturers to change the size, shape and color of the letterbox, add rounded corners and improve the placement of the inserted window.

Android Feature Drop: 12L capacity provides letterbox optimization for apps. (Image: Google)

With Android 12L, Google is also introducing new APIs with which apps can display multiple activities at the same time – Google calls this “Activity Inclusion”. For example, it is possible to display a Google Drive folder on the left side of the screen and a PDF preview on the right, or open two Google Docs side-by-side. This function is supposed to work seamlessly with foldable devices, as the views are stacked and removed again when the device is closed or opened. According to Google, apps can also bind to an API that makes them “foldable”. This is to avoid the contents being covered with folds or hinges.

Android 12L: Anfang 2022 version

The final version of Android 12L is scheduled to be released early next year. Developers can now download new functionality from the developer preview page corresponding to trying out the functionality in the Android Studio emulator, for example. Google is also working with OEM partners to develop a file Android 12L developer preview for some devices. Among other things, there is a version for it Lenovo P12 Pro In progress.

With the 12L update, Google shows that the company sees foldable materials as a related product category. So far, Samsung has only reported initial successes with the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 (concepts) models, but there are indications that Google is also working on one or even two of its own devices, which may be revealed in a very distant future. But other Android partners like Xiaomi, Oppo, and others are sure to have one or the other foldable device in development.

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