Android 12L Announced For Foldables and Large Screen Devices: Improved Multi Tasking, Split Screen Mode and More

Let's take a look at the new features of Android 12L.

At the Android Dev Summit 2021, which kickstarted last night, Google announced a new version of Android 12. Called the Android 12L, this is an OS built for large screen devices such as Android tablets, foldables, and ChromeOS devices. This is part of Google’s feature drop for Android 12, built for large screen devices. In the last 12 months, nearly 100 million new Android tablets were activated – a 20% YoY growth, while ChromeOS grew by 92%. Currently, there are over 250 million active large screen devices running Android. The new Android 12L is designed to take advantage of these millions of large-screen devices. 

Android 12L Preview, Features

The Android 12L will bring some changes on larger screens like notifications, quick settings, lock screen, overview, home screen, and more. For instance, on screens above 600dp, the notification shade, lock screen, and other system surfaces use a new two-column layout to take advantage of the screen area. The in-built apps will also be adapted to take advantage of UI.

On the large screen, the Android 12L will offer more powerful and intuitive multitasking. The 12L will feature a new taskbar (similar to Windows and macOS) on the bottom of the screen that will let users instantly open/switch to favourite apps on the fly. The taskbar also makes split-screen mode more intuitive – drag-and-drop from the taskbar to run an app in split-screen mode. To make the split-screen mode a better experience on Android 12 and later, Google is automatically enabling all apps to enter split-screen mode, regardless of whether the apps are resizable.

To further enhance the experience, Google will now allow phone device manufacturers to offer a better letterboxing experience by offering custom letterbox colours or treatments, adjusting the position of the inset window, applying custom rounded corners, and more. Google has also introduced a new Material Design guideline that will help scale the app’s UI across all screens.

Google is making sure the developers adapt their apps to offer a better experience across all screen sizes and the company has announced several new tools for developers. These include adaptive UI patterns, responsive UI, new navigation components, a new set of APIs, Window size classes to help detect the size of the window, and lastly a new API that can be aware of folds and hinges on a foldable device.

Lastly, in the Google Play Store, Google will start highlighting apps that are optimized for their devices. There will be new checks to assess each app’s quality against our large screen app quality guidelines. 

Android 12L Release date

Android 12L will be made available for devices early next year. Currently, Google is working with our OEM partners to bring these features to their large screen devices. The developer preview of 12L is coming soon to the Lenovo P12 Pro. For developers, the Android 12L Android Emulator system images and tools are available via the latest preview release of Android Studio. The public beta for Pixel devices will be available later in 2022.