Google is finally getting serious about Android tablets

for a reason why the word pill is a synonym iPad. Every year, Apple makes small tweaks to the user interface of its tablet operating system, iPadOS, to optimize the experience on the big screen: two-column view, persistent taskbar, and . Cursor support, not to mention the plethora of first- and third-party apps that use the extra space. You won’t find the same improvements on a tablet running Google’s Android.

Most Android tablets feel like an enlarged version Android smartphone, while Google’s interest in optimizing experiences has increased and decreased over the years. 2011 had Android Honeycomb, which had resizable widgets; 2016’s Android Nougat added the ability to split-screen apps to make multitasking easier. Now, there’s Android 12L and Android 13. The latter is currently in beta, but both bring the biggest changes to the interface we’ve seen.

Why now? There are nearly 270 million active large-screen mobile devices running Android. But this shift to creating a better Android tablet experience feels like a reaction to the huge growth in the computing industry during the pandemic, due to the need for screens for remote work and virtual schools. Manufacturers shipped around 144 million tablets in 2019, but that number soars to 163 million in 2020 and 168 million in 2021, According to IDC.

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Google Map

Photo: Google

Android 12L, introduction As a beta version in late 2021, which creates a refreshed interface for larger-screen devices. With wider screens, you’ll now see separate columns in the notification drawer; there’s now a permanent taskbar at the bottom of the screen that lets you quickly open apps in split-screen mode; and apps will automatically adapt to take advantage of extra screen space. It’s expected to make its way to more devices this summer.

These improvements will carry over to Android 13, which is expected to roll out later. The upcoming release adds more features to the tablet, such as better stylus support and palm rejection, an optimized screen saver and new widgets, and faster, more efficient profile switching, allowing It’s easier to switch your tablet to your child’s account when you hand it over to your child. Android 13 also makes it easier to have multiple instances of the same app open at the same time.

Scott Blanksteen, senior director of product management at Google, said the demand and use of tablets is increasing for both productivity and entertainment, which is why Google is rushing to roll out Android 12L instead of waiting to bring these tablet enhancements to Android 13. That slightly faster tracking could mean more devices will deploy Android 12L by the end of the year, while Android 13 will likely hit most tablets in 2023, given how long it takes companies like Samsung and Lenovo to roll out Android updates.

Apps are also a major part of this renewed focus on tablets. “The app experience has to be great, and that has to start with Google,” Blanksteen said. That’s why the company will be updating more than 20 Google apps with tablet optimizations in the coming weeks, from the redesigned YouTube Music app to the more spatially conscious Google Maps app.

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