Google unveils developer preview of Android 12L

Due in early-2022, Android 12L optimizes the Android system UI for large screens in preparation for the next wave of tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks.

Google unveils developer preview of Android 12L
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Google has introduced a developer preview of optimizations that tweak its Android 12 mobile platform for large screens, called Android 12L.

Due in early-2022, Android 12L refines the Android system UI to optimize notifications, quick settings, the lock screen, the home screen, system apps, and other areas of the OS for large screens. Android 12L is focused on tablets, foldables, and ChromeOS devices.

Along with Android 12L, Google is releasing new APIs, tools, and guidance intended to make it easier to build Android apps for large screens. Changes also are being made to the Google Play app store to assist with discovery of large-screen apps.

Other new capabilities introduced in Android 12L:

  • To make multitasking more powerful and intuitive, a new taskbar on large screens lets users switch to favored apps on the fly. Split-screen mode has been made more discoverable. All apps are enabled to enter split-screen mode regardless of whether the apps are resizable.
  • Compatibility mode has been improved with visual and stability improvements to offer a better letterboxing experience. Letterboxing has been made customizable by device manufacturers.

While Android 12L will work on smartphones, most of its features will not be visible on small screens. Plans call for releasing Android 12L in time for a next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldables. To get started with Android 12L, developers are advised to download the 12L Android Emulator system images and tools from the most recent preview release of Android Studio.

The Android development team also have been working on Material Design guidance to help scale UIs across all screens. Developers are advised to provide a navigation UI tailored to the Window Size Class of the user’s device. For layout validation, work is being done on a visual linting tool in Android Studio Chipmunk to proactively surface UI warnings and suggestions.

In Google Play, checks are being added to assess app quality against large screen app quality guidelines. But apps will not be required to target Android 12L to meet Google Play requirements.

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