Google debuted Android 12 last week, but it didn’t have enough. They announced yesterday Android 12L, which is tailored for tablets, foldables and ChromeOS devices. The “L” stands for Large screens and the platform is meant to adapt to devices with unusual formats.
Android 12L will be available early next year, as the next wave of Android 12 foldables and tablets drops. A developer preview of the OS is available right now, for emulator use and it should reach the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro tablet soon. A public beta for Pixel devices will available too. Google clams that there are over a quarter billion tablets, foldables and ChromeOS devices with Android in total.
Just over the past year there were 100 million Android tablet activations. That’s a 20% year on year growth. The Android 12L UI has been tailored for larger screens, which applies for notifications, Quick Settings, the lockscreen, homescreen and overview/recent apps panel. There’s a new two column layout, available for the lockscreen, notification shade and more.
A new taskbar has also been added, letting you switch fast between your favourite apps. The split screen is also easier to engage: just drag and drop and app from the taskbar. All apps can enter split screen on Android 12L. Google recommends that developers update their apps in order to properly adapt to the new formats. They provide 3 window classes: Compact for phones, Medium for foldables and small tablets and Expanded for landscape tablets and computers. New APIs are also fold and hinge aware.
There’s also a Google search bar at the top, a six button power menu that includes bug report and screenshots, plus a dual pane interface for Settings. The overview interface shows the current app in an “almost fullscreen mode”, while other apps are smaller. Manufacturers will be able to more easily customize letterboxing.