Google’s Android 12L is designed for devices with larger or foldable screens
We’ve seen the Android tablet segment show unusual signs of life in recent months with the launch of the Realme Pad, Xiaomi’s Pad 5, and Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 11, and it seems to have reminded Google that Chrome OS isn’t is still not the go-to operating system for consumer tablets. So much so that Google announced Android 12L which is designed to make the most of real estate on devices with larger screens such as tablets, foldables and even laptops.
Google says the final version of Android 12L will arrive in early 2022, which should be “in time for the next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldables.” Those with Lenovo’s P12 Pro handy can expect to try out a preview build of Android 12L which should be “coming soon”.
So what is Android 12L? Well, where current Android tablets are held back by most apps offering a smartphone layout that has been blown up, this new Android 12 version will feature a two-column layout for the notification shade and lock screen when it detects that a display with 600dps or more is present. There will be a taskbar at the bottom of the screen which will make it easier to open apps and also make it easier to launch apps in split-screen mode by dragging and dropping an icon from the taskbar.
That’s good, but will the devs play ball? To help developers, Google is adding tools to make apps look better in windows and views with options for custom mailbox colors, custom rounded corners, and the ability to adjust window position by insert. It is also recommended that developers adapt their UI to the window size class of each device and to facilitate this Google has added reference devices to show how the UI looks on phones, tablets, foldables, etc.
Foldable devices will be able to take advantage of an API that allows apps to detect the presence of a hinge (like the Surface Duo) or other boundaries. The Material You design system pack has been released on Jetpack Compose, which will allow developers to add the responsive theme functionality to their apps, taking the color scheme the system detects from the wallpaper.
The Play Store is also attracting attention, with Google using it to check every app against its widescreen app quality guidelines, with the results factoring into ranking and search listing considerations.
It’s really great that Google is paying some attention to devices with larger screens such as smartphones and foldable tablets and we really hope the search giant continues to nurture the segment. After all these years of stagnation, the Android tablet market may no longer stand a chance of being revived in the wake of Apple’s all-conquering iPad, which is the benchmark for applications optimized for tablets.