Google is Bringing Split-Screen Mode to Android 11

Posted on February 13, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google, Mobile, Android with 11 Comments

The Galaxy Z Flip’s split-screen usage mode isn’t just for Samsung: Google confirmed it will bring it to other devices in Android 11.

Samsung calls this usage mode, where the handset can be folded vertically to display two squarish apps stacked on top of each other, “Flex mode.” But it’s likely that the official Android feature will have a different name. App makers will need to tailor their apps to support this mode, just as they currently do to support current-generation dual-screen and folding screen devices. But a few already have: Samsung showed off Google Duo and YouTube at its Unpacked event this week. Tellingly, both are Google apps.

You can also use this mode with two separate apps.

For now, Google is only saying that this new split-screen mode will be made available to other device makers “soon.” But if you’re familiar with the schedule that Google uses to publicly develop and test new Android versions, you know that we’re on the cusp of learning more about Android 11: Google always begins those tests in early March, and then reveals even more information about the releases in May at Google I/O.

Just as dual-screen support in Windows 10X is based on the Snap functionality that debuted previously in the normal desktop versions of Windows, I expect that this new portrait split-screen view in Android (whatever it’s finally called) will be based on Google’s earlier work adding support for the landscape split-screens in first-generation folding handsets like the Galaxy Fold. But we’ll find out soon enough.