Tue. Dec 7th, 2021


If there isn’t enough news this week, Google is releasing a new version of Android that is designed for bigger screens like tablets and foldable. It’s called Android 12L and it’s actually a set of new features for existing OS that have been optimized for the big screen. Developer Preview is available today as an SDK Google site So app developers may start adopting some new features that should be created for a more integrated experience on devices with larger displays. The universal version of the 12L will arrive early next year, “in time for the next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldable,” the company said. The preview will also be “Coming soon to Lenovo P12 Pro.”

Although Android already supports a kind of multi-window experience, there are some areas of the interface that seem like a blown version of a phone OS rather than better use of extended space. One of the things that comes with Android 12L is the notification shade and a two-column layout for the lockscreen when the system detects that the screen is at the top. 600dps Broad Google has said that other system surfaces and apps will also adopt this look, although it has not yet specified.

Android 12L will also feature a taskbar at the bottom of the big screen that lets you open apps more easily. It will also simplify the process of turning things on in split-screen mode: just drag an icon from the taskbar. Google is enabling all apps to run on split screens, regardless of whether they are changeable.

Google

Cosmetically, Google is also adding tools that allow developers to make their apps look better in different windows or views. They will be able to use custom letterbox colors or treatments, apply custom rounded corners and adjust the position of the inset windows.

The above features are already available for preview in developer software, but there are also changes that need to be applied to application developers for the user experience. Google recommends that developers create versions of their UI for each device’s window size class, and add a reference device for programmers to view their layout across phones, tablets, foldable large internal displays, and desktops.

For devices that can fold, Android 12L will offer an API that allows developers to make their apps aware of hinges or other limitations and use them “as a natural divider.” This means that if supported, you’ll be able to use an app like the Kindle, and when your device is folded, it’ll show a two-column layout and expand to fullscreen when you open your phone completely flat.

Google is adding a new Activity embedding tool and other updates to the Jetpack Window Manager library to make it easier for developers. The interface will be backward-compatible, so those using older versions of Android will still be able to use apps optimized for 12L.

An animation shows that when the message app's screen expands, it expands into a two-column layout.

Google

The company is also releasing its Material U design system in Jetpack Composer, so that developers can add adaptive theming capabilities to their app. This means that, if supported, third-party apps can also take the color scheme Google gets from your wallpaper, and the button or menu highlight colors reflect the palette for a more integrated look across Android 12.

Finally, the Google Play Store is updating to give developers a reason (or discouragement) to optimize their apps for Android 12L. This will test against each app Quality guide for big screen apps And take the results into ranking and search list considerations. If it’s not optimized for 12L, it will go further by alerting people on larger devices with notices on the app’s Play Store page.

Android has long been criticized for being a weak OS for tablets and large displays, and the 12L seems promising. Google has also announced some updates to make it easier for developers to code for WearOS, including offering Jetpack Compose support for the platform. It looks like the company is working hard to improve the areas behind Apple, and we need to see how developers take these changes to see if Google’s dream of tablets, foldables and smartwatches can come true.

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