Google only released Android 12 last week, but has already announced the next “feature release” which will go by the name of Android 12L. That L stands for large screens, as the focus of this release will be adapting the operating system to tablets, foldable devices, and ChromeOS devices.
Android 12L will be available early next year, “in time for the next wave of Android 12 foldable tablets and devices.” A developer preview of Android 12L is already available for use with the emulator and will be available “soon” for Lenovo’s Tab P12 Pro. Later one will also be opened public beta for Pixel devices, as Android 12L will also arrive on smartphones, although most of its features won’t be visible on smaller screens.
Will Android 12L breathe new life into Android tablets?
Google says there are over a quarter of a billion tablets, foldable devices and ChromeOS devices in total, and in the last year there have been well 100 million activations of Android tablets. This is 20% year-over-year growth. Speaking of growth, foldables are obviously on the rise too, as are ChromeOS laptops. With all of this in mind, the idea of Android 12L seems clear enough.
The user interface has been refined for use on large screens. This includes notifications, quick settings, lock screen, home screen, overview panel / recent apps and so on. On large screens, the notification panel, lock screen, and other system surfaces all use a new two-column layout. In addition, the system apps have also been optimized.
Android 12L: advanced multitasking
For advanced multitasking, Android 12L has a new taskbar which will allow you to quickly switch between your favorite apps. This also makes it easier to discover split screen mode – all you need to do to activate it is drag and drop an app from the taskbar. All apps are enabled to enter split screen mode in Android 12L, which is another big step forward.
In addition, Google is urging developers to ad update their apps to better fit the different screen sizes on which Android works. It provided three window size classes as shown in the image: Compact for phones, Medium for small tablets and foldable devices ed Expanded for landscape mode of tablets and for computers. There is also one new API to make apps aware of folds or hinges, allowing these to be used as natural UI separators.
Finally, in the Play Store, Google will notify users if of the apps they are not optimized for large screens. There will be new checks to assess the quality of each app against Google’s big screen app quality guidelines. Finally, there will also be app ratings specific to big screens, and all of these changes will go into effect next year.