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Android 12.1 adds weight to foldable Google Pixel rumours

Features present in the early Android 12.1 build lend weight to rumours of a forthcoming Google Pixel foldable device.

We’ve been hearing murmurs of a potential Google Pixel foldable smartphone for months now, and a new snippet of information from the company’s own official software suggests that those reports are right on the money.

XDA-Developers has been going hands-on with Android 12.1, Google’s major update of its as-yet-unreleased new mobile OS. One of the most interesting aspects of this update is a focus on improving the foldable phone experience.

This includes new foldable APIs, new dual-pane layouts for the likes of the notifications and Settings screens, and a size-adjustable lock screen. Talking of the lockscreen, its pin-entry keypad can shift to the side of the screen to make it easier to use on a larger fold-out display.

Even more notably, Google is adding an iPadOS/Chrome OS-like taskbar function that opens up easy multitasking, app switching, and split-screen access.

It appears to be early days for Android 12.1’s foldable phone integration, with much of the implementation said to be buggy or just plain unfinished. But the fact Google is implementing these features would appear to point clearly to another exciting hardware release from Google somewhere in between the Google Pixel 6 and the Google Pixel 7.

Of course, Android is an open OS used my multiple manufacturers, not the makers of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. Still, the effort Google appears to be making to improve the UI for larger split-screen devices seems telling.

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