Google Announces Android 12L Beta 1

Posted on December 8, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev with 6 Comments

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.

You can learn more from the Android 12L Beta site.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Announces Android 12L Beta 1”

  1. rmlounsbury

    I am curious to see if this moves the needle at all for getting developers interested in building apps for larger screens. While I don't think this will bring some sort of tablet renaissance to Android. I do hope it brings a better experience for Android apps on ChromeOS. Even to Windows 11 since it'll be toting Android app support in the not-so-distant future as well.

    • rob_segal

      It will be challenging to get Android developers on board with building tablet apps if Google doesn't build and commit to releasing Android tablets. Android apps on Chrome OS hasn't really moved the needle for devs, so a firm commitment to Android tablets from Google might be necessary.

      • jg1170

        I suspect that one of the big hurdles for large-screen android development (both hardware and software) is that the main demographics of tablet users would be kids and older people, the two demographics that practically require the simplicity and foolproofness of iOS. That being said, I've said ad nauseum that ChromeOS is not a good idea for a large swath of people and that an android-based tablet environment WITH a companion desktop mode is long, long overdue.

  2. kshsystems

    i am wondering if a new class of Android 12L tablets will be released?

  3. mike2thel73

    Too little too late.

    Some people might think better late than never but in Google's case it's too late.

    With that being said....I agree with the poster above...Google has an opportunity with windows 11 because of apk install availability BUT as of this moment only the Amazon app store will be officially supported. Microsoft and Google need to come to some kind of ad sharing agreement for Google to have an incentive.

    Idk how well that would go over with the windows user base considering how selling of data/ads was an argument against windows 10 and possibly now 11.

    • jg1170

      And that is why may main rig will run Windows 8.1.1 (with Start 8) until Microsoft makes life too unbearable for me to continue using it.

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