XDA Developers has analyzed leaked Android 12.1 code that suggests big foldable improvements are coming. According to previous rumors, Android 12 will be followed by Android 12.1 based on the naming conventions used in the past.
XDA’s analysis suggests that this update may improve the way the operating system handles foldable screens, including offering split-screen user interfaces, lock screens that better use horizontal space, and multitasking taskbars.
The enhancements should prevent device makers like Samsung from having to build their own foldable-centric UI tweaks on top of Android.
There might be a big update to Android 12.1 for foldable devices
The majority of the improvements relate to the way the operating system utilizes more horizontal screen space, as noted by XDA.
It enables, for instance, the Quick Settings and notifications panels to be shown simultaneously (rather than one at a time), and the lockscreen can be split to show the clock on one side and notifications on the other.
A foldable device can be customized to allow the user to enter a PIN or password with one hand directly on the display (contrary to centered displays).
As part of Android 12.1‘s split-screen-friendly design, apps can now be used in split-screen mode. Instead of having to long press an app icon, you can now open an app in split-screen mode by selecting a shortcut in the recent apps menu.
As well, dragging and dropping recent apps to either side of the screen will launch them in split-screen mode using the new taskbar at the bottom of the screen. There is a possibility of opening apps in split-screen mode by dragging notifications.
The announcement is according to XDA. As a final note, the Settings app is also getting a new interface that shows top-level menu items on the left, while submenus open on the right.
A few other non-foldable-specific improvements include tailoring the amount of time it takes to activate the Google Assistant and improving the ability for other manufacturers to match their lock screens to Android 12.
It has not even released Android 12 to the general public. Neither Google nor its partners have officially announced Android 12.1.
If XDA Developers’ post is accurate, the features detailed may change a lot before they are released.
The persistent rumors concerning Google’s foldable phone this year, combined with the fact that some of these features are coming sooner rather than later, make an early release of some of these features look likely.