It seems like a possibility given Google is hiring a “Senior Engineering Manager, Android Tablet App Experience” to work on optimising the Android operating system for potential iPad rivals.
While that work will will largely be focused on ensuring third-party manufacturers can provide a great Android experience, it might point to renewed hardware ambitions in the tablet sector too.
Google hasn’t offered branded tablets since the Nexus series (which were actually made by ASUS and HTC), the last of which came in 2014, with the Nexus 9 running on Android 5.
However, given the company is now expanding its hardware range year-on-year across phones, Chromebooks, smart home gear, routers, earphones and loads more, returning to the tablet landscape doesn’t seem out of the question. Especially when you check out this job description (via Ars Technica)
It reads: “We believe that the future of computing is shifting towards more powerful and capable tablets. We are working to deliver the next chapter of computing and input by launching seamless support across our platforms and hero experiences that unlock new and better ways of being productive and creative.”
If Google believes the future of computing is pointing at better tablets, wouldn’t it want to get in on that action too, as well as provide the platform for Android to rise again in the tablet world? The company is currently working on Android 12L, which is designed to offer a better experience for larger screen devices like tablets and foldable.
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The revised OS will take advantage of the additional real estate with a two-column notifications screen that separates out the quick settings. The Lock Screen adopts a similar UI shift. Google says the differing designs will automatically kick in when running on a device with a display that’s greater than 600dp wide.
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.