Today, Google announced a new version of Android, Android 12L, aimed at building out the Android 12 experience for larger-screened devices (via Google Developers). It is primarily aimed at tablets and foldables, but users of Chromebooks will also benefit from it.
Google has historically struggled with nailing a large-screen Android experience ever since it released and later rolled back the changes it made with Android Honeycomb. While the company has since shipped tablets running Android like the Nexus 10 and Pixel C, the experience of these have been criticized for mostly being a blown-up phone interface, a charge that still holds for tablets running unmodified Android such as the recently released Nokia T20.
Android 12L fixes all that by bringing in many features to take advantage of the larger display. Instead of a large and largely space-wasting notification center, Google will add a new dual-panel notification center on foldables and tablets. This allows users to see and interact with their notifications as well as quick settings all at a single glance. There’s a new taskbar, reminiscent of the dock or shelf you’ll find on conventional laptops, as well as iPad OS that’ll allow for fast app switching. Split-screen will see an improvement, with Google planning to also add advanced drag-and-drop functionality. It’s not as monumental an overhaul as Android 12 was, but it’ll make using Android on larger screens a better experience and provide a solid foundation for tablet makers to work with.
Android 12L goes into testing today for developers on select devices like the Lenovo P12 Pro tablet. A more widespread beta will be made available for Google Pixel phones. While Google doesn’t have any hardware of its own that could benefit from Android 12L, reports of a Pixel Fold or two have been swarming around the web, with noted leaker Evan Blass pinning the Fold at a launch prior to the end of the year. If Google was going to show off Android 12L on any device, it would be the perfect candidate.
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