Today, Google announced the first beta version of Android 12L, a new version of the mobile platform aimed at large-screen devices like tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks.
“With 12L, we’ve optimized and polished the system UI for large screens, made multitasking more powerful and intuitive, and improved compatibility support so apps look better right out of the box,” Google director Maru Ahues Bouza writes in the announcement post. “12L also includes a handful of new APIs for developers, such as for spatial audio and improved drag-and-drop for accessibility.”
Google announced Android 12L in late October at its Android Dev Summit, and at that time, it released a developer preview of the coming iPad-like platform that could run in Android emulators in Android Studio and other developer environments. With today’s Beta 1 release, however, you can install Android 12L on physical hardware too: this release is supported on all supported Pixel devices. And thanks to a partnership with Lenovo, you can also try 12L on the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro tablet. (You can learn more here.)
So what’s new in the Android 12L Beta 1 release?
“With 12L, we’ve focused on refining the UI on large screen devices, across notifications, quick settings, lock screen, overview, home screen, and more,” Bouza notes. “For example, on screens above 600dp, the notification shade, lock screen, and other system surfaces use a new two-column layout to take advantage of the screen area.”
Android 12L also includes a new taskbar on large screens so you can more easily switch apps on the fly or drag-and-drop apps into split-screen mode. This release also features an improved compatibility mode with visual and stability improvements, Google adds.
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