Google unveiled an upgraded version of its mobile OS (Android 12) called Android 12L, at its annual Android Developer Summit. Android 12 became stable recently when the company announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and this is the next developer preview of the new OS. This update comes with small tweaks and as Google mentioned it is a ‘feature drop’ for foldables, tablets and devices that work on ChromeOS. It will be primarily available on the Android Emulator as a part of Android Studio, the preview may come to Pixel phones as a beta version later, most probably in December. Google says, “Android 12L will be released to everyone early next year, which would be in time for the next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldables”. You can also get it now on www.developer.android.com and download the 12L emulator.
Android 12L: What’s new in this update?
Google is focusing this update towards big screen devices like foldable phones and tablets and it’s making Android 12L work smoothly with them. Android 12L will be introducing a taskbar where you will be able to switch between apps quickly like on a desktop computer. You will be able to drag an app from the taskbar to use it during the split-screen mode. Google mentioned that this mode will work irrespective of the apps being resizable.
Android 12L will be optimising the layout of your device’s interface with a refined UI to make it more adaptable with a bigger screen. For instance, it alters the location of the lock screen, home screen, Quick Settings, notifications and other key aspects of the phone. Google declared that devices that come with 600 density-independent pixels (dp) and above will receive a new two-column layout that occupies the whole screen.
New APIs in 12L will allow apps to show multiple activities at once through Activity embedding. For example, It will allow you to open a Google Drive folder on the left side and maybe a PDF preview on the right, or two Google Docs documents side-by-side. This is expected to work smoothly on foldables, stacking and unstacking the views as you open or close a device. Apps can also access the API that makes them “fold-aware,” allowing them to evade displaying content on hinges or folds, or even take advantage of the elements as natural separators.
Google will be adding advanced letterboxing that will present the apps better on a large screen. It won’t recreate the way you interact with phones but it will enhance its experience.
Google also looks forward to encouraging app development on larger screens. There are new tools, APIs, and guides that will help developers to create adaptive apps that are compatible with any display. Details about placing the navigation bar across all screens and adjusting the display to look good on any screen are explained in the Material Design guidelines. Google is promoting a TwoPane view aimed at foldables, like the one that is displayed above in Google Messages.
Google will alert users about the apps that aren’t optimised for large screens (if they have a list from a big-screen device) in the play store. There will be new criteria to assess the app quality of each app against Google’s large screen app quality guidelines. Moreover, there will be large screen-specific app ratings and these changes will be released in 2022.