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What is Android 12L? The tablet and foldable software explained

Android 12L is Google’s operating system for devices with larger displays, such as tablets and foldable phones. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’ve been a little frustrated by the sub-par optimisation sometimes offered by large-screen Android devices, then Android 12L is intended to be the answer to your prayers. Released in March 2022, and featured on the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, here’s what you need to know about it.

Android 12L notifications shade

The revised OS will take advantage of the additional real estate with a two-column notifications screen (see above) that separates out the quick settings. The Lock Screen adopts a similar UI shift.

Google says the differing designs, revealed at the ongoing Android Developers Summit 2021, will automatically kick in when running on a device with a display that’s greater than 600dp wide.

“In 12L we’ve refined the UI to make Android more beautiful and easier to use on screens larger than 600dp — across notifications, quick settings, lockscreen, overview, home screen, and more,” Google says on the Android 12L developer page.

Android 12L multitasking

Elsewhere, Google is also revealing a feature that’ll make it easier to open apps in dual-screen mode. The new multitasking feature comes courtesy of a Windows-like taskbar at the foot of the display, enabling users to just drag a second app into the fray. Within Android 12L all apps will be available in dual-screen mode.

Google adds: “Running apps in split-screen mode is a popular way of multitasking, and in 12L we’ve made split screen easier than ever to discover and use. Users can now drag and drop their favourite apps into split screen directly from the taskbar, or they can also use a new “Split” action in the overview to start split-screen mode with a tap.”

Android 12L multitasking

Android 12L compatibility experience

The company is also promising an improved compatibility experience that’ll ensure portrait apps look a little nicer on those wider foldable displays. You can see the slightly curved edges in letterbox mode below, for example.

Android 12L compatibility mode

OneUI for Android 12L

Android 12L is the operating system for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, while One UI is its user interface. This UI adds a number of features to the OS, and the most notable of these is Taskbar. This nifty feature can offer as many as eight shortcuts to apps, so that you can quick-launch your favourite apps without needing to quit your current task. This makes multi-tasking a good deal easier, and could perhaps help to make more of that larger internal screen afforded by a foldable device such as this one.

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