Android 12L Beta Launched for Eligible Pixel Smartphones, Brings Better Support for Larger Screens

Android 12L is now available in beta on compatible Pixel devices, allowing users to try out the upcoming update which is designed to benefit users with large displays. The Android 12L update is designed for tablets, foldable phones, and other devices which support Android apps with big screens like Chromebooks. Google had previously announced in October that beta releases were expected to begin in December. Owners of Pixel 3a and newer models can now try out the Android 12L beta on their smartphones.

The new Android 12L beta is now available for Google Pixel smartphones, going back to the Pixel 3a, the company announced on the Android Developers blog. While only Pixel devices are currently supported, Lenovo Tab P12 Pro owners will also be able to test the upcoming update, thanks to a partnership with Lenovo. Unfortunately, smartphone users will not be able to take advantage of all the features in the update, especially the ones designed for bigger displays.

Users who have previously enrolled in the Android 12 Beta programme will automatically get the Android 12L update, according to the company. Developers who have installed Android Studio on their computers can also try out the upcoming Android 12L update today. As many of the features of Android 12L are geared towards devices with large screens, Google says the easiest way to test these is to install the update on the Android Emulator.

Android 12L is probably the first time that Google has focused on optimising Android apps for larger screens since the arrival of the tablet-focussed Android Honeycomb more than nine years ago. The interface on Android 12 has been revamped and optimised to work on larger screens, such as the Recent Apps screen, which shows the previous app as a large card, and other apps to the left in smaller cards.

Similarly, notifications are now located to the right side, while quick toggles and brightness controls are on the left side. The upcoming Android 12L update could also pack in a few features, including a new taskbar that resembles the one on Windows 11 or macOS, with support for shortcuts. Users can also drag and drop apps into split-screen mode from the taskbar.

Google has also added new Jetpack application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers to adapt their apps to better work on bigger displays and apps like the Google Play Store are likely to get redesigned upgrades to work with larger displays. The stable version of Android 12L is expected to arrive on compatible devices in Spring 2022.

It’s Google I/O time this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss Android 12, Wear OS, and more. Later (starting at 27:29), we jump over to Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist movie. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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